Arsene Wenger has refused to take responsibility for Arsenal's largest two-legged defeat in Champions League history as they were thrashed 10-2 by Bayern Munich in the last 16. The 10-man Gunners crashed out at the first knock-out stage for a seventh season in a row after another 5-1 reversal which piles the pressure on the Frenchman, who is yet to commit to staying with the club beyond the end of the campaign.
Theo Walcott had given the hosts brief hope of staging an unlikely upset and helped restore some pride during another optimistic 45 minutes, with a storming opening goal. But after the break Bayern's class showed as they scored five time to embarrass the Premier League side.
The Bundesliga leaders drew level thanks to Robert Lewandowski's penalty, after Laurent Koscielny was adjudged to have hauled down the Poland international. Referee Anastasios Sidiropoulos consulted with his assistant behind the by-line before dismissing the Arsenal captain on the night, a decision which swung the momentum of the tie.
Arjen Robben put the five-time European champions ahead, before substitute Douglas Costa hammered in as Arsenal were caught on the break searching for a consolation. Arturo Vidal then added a late double, the second being walked in as the hosts' defence produced a wafer-thin resistance.
The result matched the scoreline from three weeks previous when Arsenal suffered their worst top flight European defeat. But Wenger failure to turn on his players or himself, instead preferring to direct his scorn towards the officials who he claimed cost his side the tie.
"We put Bayern under pressure and we were unlucky tonight, because it was a 100% penalty in the first half on Walcott," the Arsenal boss told reporters. "In the second half the referee killed the game. In the second half it was very difficult but the referee was very, very powerful for Bayern tonight. Lewandowski, not only was it not a penalty he was offside. On top of that he gives us a red card which kills us completely. Overall Bayern, can say thank you the decisions of the referee in the second half."
Wenger added after the fifth defeat in the last seven games: "It leaves me angry and frustrated and also because we're in a difficult moment, more so. It is absolutely unexplainable and scandalous. You look at what happened, with the official behind the line giving a penalty and on top of that a red card when the referee had given a yellow.
"I feel the referee has let us down. We played very well and it was more the decision of the referee that killed the game. When you're down to 10 men against Bayern and you have to score four goals against a quality team, it is irresponsible from the referee. We have to stand up and give all kind of explanations but at the end of the day that is the reason for tonight's result."