Arsenal boss unimpressed by ‘diver’ Robben as Bayern Munich knock Gunners out
PUBLISHED: 06:36 12 March 2014 | UPDATED: 16:30 12 March 2014
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger branded Bayern Munich forward Arjen Robben a “very good diver” after his side bowed out of the Champions League despite a spirited 1-1 draw against the holders at the Allianz Arena.
After losing the first leg of their last-16 clash 2-0 with the Germans in London last month, it was always going to be a tall order for Arsenal to progress to the quarter-finals.
However, the Gunners showed plenty of desire, driven on by an impressive display from England World Cup hopeful Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the centre of midfield, although club-record signing Mesut Ozil was somewhat subdued and replaced at half-time due to a tight hamstring.
Arsenal recovered from falling behind to Bastian Schweinsteiger’s close-range effort early in the second half, with Lukas Podolski blasting in a goal against his former club.
There was late drama when Lukasz Fabianski – deputising for Wojciech Szczesny, who had been sent off in the last game – saved a stoppage-time penalty from Thomas Muller for what looked a soft decision after a challenge by Laurent Koscielny on Robben.
Earlier in the second half, the Holland international had fallen in the penalty area under a challenge from Santi Cazorla. Norway referee Svein Oddvar Moen was not interested and told the Dutchman to get up, but did not produce a yellow card.
Wenger was clearly less than impressed by the antics of the former Chelsea frontman.
“Robben is very good at getting the maximum of nothing and he is a great player and as well a very good diver, but it is part of it,” the Arenal manager said.
“He is a fantastic player, I would not deny that, he’s one of the best players in the world.
“But he gets in front of a player and then he slows down and goes down. He gets the free-kicks.
“The referee, if he gives him a yellow card on the first one when he goes down, he will not do it again.”
Wenger felt his side could have pulled off another shock result as they did last season, when winning 2-0 in Munich, but bowing out on away goals.
“We had to defend a lot in the first half, but we knew that being in the game at half-time we had a good chance to win the game,” he said.
“I believe that in the second half the opportunities were there, but overall over the two games I feel that what made the difference is the decision to send our goalkeeper off in the first game.
“Spirit wise we have everything until the end. Good luck to Bayern, they are a good side but I think they are this season more vulnerable than last year.”
Wenger continued: “Our defending, our spirit was good. The frustration we had was the last 20 minutes I felt that Bayern was very vulnerable defensively and that we didn’t take advantage of that.
“We always missed the first pass, but I felt the situations were there where we could have made more of it.
“At the end of the day we never got them really under pressure.
“Even at 1-1 you could see they became suddenly nervous, but because we never managed to make it 2-1, of course you could not really see how they would have responded.
“They are a good team, they are a great side with great players. They played well but we still have regrets over the two games.”