Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery rubbed salt into the wounds of Arsenal fans everywhere after confessing their win was surprisingly easy. The Bavarians travelled to north London on Tuesday for the first leg of a Champions League knock-out tie between the clubs. And although the visitors were heavy favourites going into the match, the French international has now said he was disappointed at the ease with which his side won.
Goals from Toni Kroos, Thomas Müller and Mario Mandzukic gave Jupp Heynckes' side a commanding 3-1 lead to take into the second leg at the Allianz ArenA. For Arsenal, it was an ex-Bayern player - German international Lukas Podolski - who scored.
"We didn't think it would be so easy," Ribery explained, adding, "We know Arsenal are having some problems in the league, maybe they are lacking in confidence. But we feel good and we're delighted to have got that result."
The second leg is on 13 March and Arsene Wenger will have to find some way to not only beat this Bayern side but do that in a stadium where they've lost only once all season long and scored 48 times in 16 games.
Nevertheless, the 29-year-old Ribery was quick to point out the tie was only half-way through and that the former Bundesliga champions needed to stay focussed for the second leg. Interestingly though, Ribery was more concerned about carelessness on Munich's part rather than any comeback from the Gunners.
"We're all working hard together, with the will to play well, to win, to defend together. It's important to carry on like this. We will have to match that performance in the return leg. We're in good shape to reach the quarter-finals but nothing is ever over in football," he concluded.
Meanwhile, Wenger remains defiant in the face of speculation surrounding his future at the Emirates and the embattled Frenchman has received support from Welsh international Aaron Ramsey, who earlier said the Arsenal players had a debt to pay to their coach.
However, before they can do so, Ramsey and his team mates have to negotiate three Premier League games (against Aston Villa, at Tottenham and against Everton) and all three fixtures assume tremendous importance after Tuesday's mauling.
Arsenal are fifth in the league, four points behind north London rivals Tottenham, who occupy the final Champions League spot for next season. And with progress in this year's edition of the tournament almost certainly impossible, Wenger knows he needs to ensure the Gunners remain in Europe's elite tournament.
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