Arsenal fans may have feared the worst upon learning that Laurent Koscielny would miss tonight’s Champions League tie with Bayern Munich, whose opening goal proves that they were right to worry.
Gunners centre-backs Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista were acres apart when Robert Lewandowski ghosted in behind the Brazilian to head Bayern into a 1-0 lead after 10 minutes at the Allianz Arena.
Gabriel was attempting to play the prolific Pole offside, but was yards behind his defensive partner and his lunge upfield came too late as Lewandowski smartly converted his 17th goal in 11 outings.
This is a blatant sign that Mertesacker and Gabriel are not used to playing with each other. They have only started three Gunners games together since the latter arrived from Sevilla in January 2015.
Gabriel has impressed at the heart of the Arsenal defence this season, but largely alongside Koscielny, who had to withdraw from the trip to Germany at the final hour due to a hip problem, as ESPN reports.
If the Frenchman is still absent for Sunday’s visit of Tottenham Hotspur, Harry Kane, who headed a winner in February’s North London derby, could punish Arsenal in the same way as Lewandowski.
Bayern have since scored a second goal through Thomas Muller to take a 2-0 lead, after Mesut Ozil had a quick reply ruled out because of apparent handball, in a match crucial to Arsenal’s Group F fate.
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