Michael Regan/Getty Images
This defensive pairing put up a great show at the Allianz Arena.
This season, there have been some words to describe Arsenal's defense—horrible, shambolic, useless, atrocious, putrid...you name it. On Wednesday night, it was the exact opposite.
Arsene Wenger made one hell of a Bould move (pun intended) to keep his captain, Thomas Vermaelen, out of the side. With Bacary Sagna still out injured and Monreal cup-tied, the boss opted for Sagna's able deputy, Carl Jenkinson, on the right while Kieran Gibbs' return from injury proved timely indeed as he slotted into the left-back position with consummate ease.
Laurent Koscielny was Arsenal's best center-back by a far mile last season, but with Per Mertesacker clearly being a favorite with the boss Kos had to make do with a place on the dugout to accommodate the "captain."
When Thomas Vermaelen joined Arsenal in the 2008-09 campaign, he was a colossus at the back and endeared himself into the hearts of Arsenal fans with an aggressive style of defending no different from Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic.
After a truly remarkable campaign that saw him work his skins off both offensively and defensively, Vermaelen earned a place in the 2009 Team of the Year and was tipped for great things at the club.
His second campaign was plagued by injuries and he was sorely missed. Since his return from his long-term Achilles tendon injury, his form has dwindled badly. When he was appointed as club captain following the departure of RVP, his form went downhill and it seems as if he's "burdened" by the extra responsibility.
Koscielny came into the picture in 2011, but after some initial rash displays the Frenchman grew with confidence and an extended run of games saw Kos mature really as a player.
Alongside the calm, composed and coordinated Big Friendly Giant, Koscielny put up a Man of the Match performance and capped it up with a goal that made his team a goal shy of making history.
On the back of Koscielny's performance in the Allianz Arena, I and many Arsenal fans out there will be livid if the Verm retains his place against Swansea by the mere fact that he's the captain. His performance in the North London Derby was very poor, and like Szczesny, he could do with some time on the bench to reflect on his form.
The fullbacks, Gibbs and Jenkinson, were awesome as well and it was really amazing to see how they dealt with the threats of world-class players like Arjen Robben and Thomas Mueller. Both players also contributed in attack while maintaining their defensive shapes.
After a collective defensive performance, Gibbs spoke about how the team proved that they have character (via Chris Harris of arsenal.com), while Jenkinson proved his worth yet again to the club with this brilliant post-match interview with Sky Sports.
While the defense did their bit to keep a massive clean sheet against Bayern, kudos must also go to Arsenal's midfield and forward line for playing their parts in the success story.
Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott were drafted as the wingers but there were times when they became emergency fullbacks to quell the threat the Bayern attack posed from the flanks.
Olivier Giroud was a thorn in the flesh of the Bayern defensive line as he closed them down superbly, forcing Daniel van Buyten and Dante to make unplanned clearances rather than a pass to a teammate close by.
Tomas Rosicky should also be commended for that tactical foul he committed against Robben that ensured that he took one for the team. For a player of his immense talent, it's really sad to know that he hardly commands a first-team berth.
Arsenal's impressive defending forced the likes of Kroos, Robben and Mueller to fire shots from distance, and when the shots came from close range, there was a certain Lukasz Fabianski stepping up to the challenge with a plethora of saves.
Overall, it was a 5-star performance from Arsenal in terms of defending. If they defended like this all season long, we wouldn't be struggling to get a Champions League spot at this point in time.