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Bukayo Saka called out after 'flat' Arsenal crash out of Champions League to Bayern

Arsenal star Bukayo Saka was slammed after the Gunners lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich.

  • Apr 17 2024
  • 0
Bukayo Saka called out after 'flat' Arsenal crash out of Champions League to Bayern
Bukayo Saka called out after 'flat' Arsenal crash out of Champions League to Bayern


Bukayo Saka was the target of criticism in Arsenal's defeat to Bayern Munich. (Image: Getty)

star was met with heavy criticism in the dying embers of the Gunners' exit to after failing to make the most of two set-pieces. Joshua Kimmich scored the all-important goal as the side lost 3-2 on aggregate, going down 1-0 in the second leg in Germany.

But Saka had two opportunities late in the game to peg Bayern back and get Arsenal back on level terms. Captain had won a free-kick on the edge of the box in the perfect area for a left-footer such as the skipper or Saka himself.

Saka, however, opted to rush the set-piece and play his free-kick quick and short to inside the box but he was quickly crowded out by a host of home defenders.

The ball did go out of play for a corner as goalkeeper David Raya stormed up the pitch and awaited Saka's delivery. But the man failed to beat the first man as his cross was easily cleared to the tune of the full-time whistle and .

Watch all the Premier League and Champions League drama unfold on TNT Sports

FC Bayern München v Arsenal FC: Quarter-final Second Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24

Bukayo Saka was unable to make the desired impact late in Arsenal's trip to Bayern Munich. (Image: Getty)

Arsenal icon Martin Keown was among Saka's critics, telling TNT Sports: "I feel as flat as the performance. It was very disappointing and it was kind of summed up in the end there.

"Saka for some reason takes a really free-kick when there’s an opportunity to really test the goalkeeper right at the end. They were quite flat within the game and there was no real urgency in the closing stages. Hugely disappointing."

Bayern deployed both Noussair Mazraoui and Raphael Guerreiro on the left flank in order to combat Saka and generally nullified him throughout the contest, as the 22-year-old was unable to influence the tie in the same way that he has determined several Premier League games this season.

And Keown felt that Arsenal's stars didn't do themselves justice on the biggest stage, with Bayern far from their best despite qualifying for the semi-finals.

"They will be disappointed," he added. "Everything comes down to fine margins, decision making on the pitch. There was only one goal between the two teams but I just feel as though Arsenal didn’t give a proper account of themselves and it’s just when it matters most, we just don’t seem to deliver.

"I think it’s mentality in those moments. We saw that lack of experience in those moments and not being in that moment that many times. There needs to be that little bit more urgency in the closing exchanges.

"Perhaps Saka taking that quick free-kick too early. Kim (Min-jae) was distraught giving the free-kick away, knowing it was a difficult position. Saka made that decision in the moment. I admire that as well, but I think it might have been better taking that delivery and maybe scoring a wonder goal from the free-kick."


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