Not long after first arriving to take up the reins in Bavaria, new Bayern Munich head coach Pep Guardiola claimed that his skipper Philipp Lahm was “the most intelligent player he had ever worked with.”
Now, considering just who the Catalan has managed in his career at Camp Nou, then that is high praise indeed from Guardiola. However, once again in north London on Wednesday evening, the 30-year-old proved just what a clever and skilful player he is.
Lahm surprisingly began the first-leg tie back in his old position of right-back after having spent the majority of this season in his new role holding in front of the back four, one of the subtle changes that Guardiola implemented after replacing previous boss Jupp Heynckes in the summer.
And that may explain why initially the experienced Germany international appeared to struggle with Arsenal's attacking forays down his right flank, although it did not take Lahm long to again find his bearings.
However, after the Gunners were reduced to 10 men following the first-half dismissal of keeper Wojciech Szczesny, Guardiola cleverly opted to swap the always versatile Lahm with Javi Martinez in midfield, with Rafinha replacing Boateng.
As a result, the captain was now freed to exploit the increasing gaps in the home side's back line, with Lahm inevitably then setting up first Toni Kroos for the opener, before picking out unmarked substitute Thomas Mueller late on with a perfect cross to seal the Bavarians' win.