Expectations were low and Arsenal could not surpass them as they were comfortably beaten by a masterful Bayern Munich determined to right the wrong of their Champions League final defeat last year.

The fans were vociferously united and the players were not short of effort, but Arsenal are now just 90 minutes away from confirmation of an eight successive season without a trophy.

Here's five things learned from the evening...

THE EMIRATES RESEMBLED PARKHEAD
Often derided over other teams' support for their moribund atmosphere, Arsenal fans were uproarious before and during the tie. Home grounds are invariably at their most partisan when the chips are down and it will have heartened Wenger to hear his team's followers holler with more defiance than he had at his Monday press conference.

The grim reality however was the crowd resembled Celtic's Parkhead's enthusiastic pessimism. There were roars when a goal kick or throw-in was won, as if the attendants were watching a rugby match and territory was nearly as rewarding as a getting on the scoresheet. The irony, considering Wenger has compared Stoke (with some justification) to a rugby team, will not have been lost on their fans or by Tottenham followers enjoying another evening of schadenfruede. Arsenal, once sanctimonious advocates of Total Football, were reduced to a battling outfit who were not so much Barça lite as Barnet lite.

RAMSEY SELECTION HAMPERED ARSENAL
When Arsenal's five Brit pack members signed new contracts, the news for some Gooners was tainted by one of them being Aaron Ramsey, so you can imagine how his selection in the line-up will have been greeted.

Not that it is entirely Ramsey's fault. A once promising player, his leg break three years ago has restricted progress and there is also the problem of his position. Wenger has played him across the whole of the midfield but was misguided if he thought that versatility was going to stymie Bayern Munich's attack.

aaron ramsey

Ramsey was gamely but ineffective

Ramsey wasn't particularly awful but his presence restricted Jack Wilshere's impact as he played further forward, handing Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javier Martínez the initiative as they dominated Ramsey and the pedestrian Mikel Arteta. Santi Cazorla's craft was wasted on the wing and Theo Walcott. A ramshackle Arsenal were hamstrung before the first whistle against one of the best teams in Europe.

GIROUD SHOULD HAVE STARTED
On the topic of Wenger getting his front six wrong, Olivier Giroud's omission signalled not just a conservative approach but contributed to the square-pegs-in-round-holes angle. That may have only applied to Wilshere and Cazorla, but Theo Walcott would have been better suited on the right against David Alaba rather than toiling against the towering Daniel van Buyten and Dante.

Giroud may not be half as good as Robin van Persie and symbolise Arsenal's contentedness with fourth being regarded as a trophy, but he offers industry be it from the start or off the bench. Arsenal almost equalised when Wenger placed round pegs in round holes halfway through the second 45.

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  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Bayern Munich fans show their support in the stands

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Bayern Munich fans celebrate Toni Kroos scoring their first goal of the game

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos (right) and Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey battle for the ball

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller (not pictured) celebrates scoring their second goal of the game with team-mates

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Arsenal's Mikel Arteta and Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos (right) battle for the ball

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Arsenal's Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Wojciech Szczesny and Laurent Koscielny (left to right) stand dejected after Bayern Munich's Daniel Van Buyten (not in picture) scores their second goal of the game

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (third left) hangs his head in dejection the touchline

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos (right) and Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey battle for the ball

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery (left) and Arsenal's Santi Cazorla battle for the ball

  • Bayern's Thomas Mueller (25), third left, scores his side's 2nd goal during a Champions League, round of 16, first leg soccer match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at Arsenal's Emirates stadium in London, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller (centre) scores their second goal of the game

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller (left) and Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen battle for the ball

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Arsenal's Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla and Per Mertesacker (left to right) stand dejected after Bayern Munich's Daniel Van Buyten (not in picture) scores their second goal of the game

  • Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, right, looks on as Bayern's Thomas Mueller, third left, celebrates scoring his side's 2nd goal during a Champions League, round of 16, first leg soccer match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at Arsenal's Emirates stadium in London, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller (centre left) celebrates scoring their second goal of the game with team-mates

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Bayern Munich's Mario Mandzukic (centre) is fouled by Arsenal's Mikel Arteta (right) who is cautioned for the challenge

  • Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, center, lets the ball slip through is arms just before Bayern's Thomas Mueller, left, is to score the second goal during a Champions League, round of 16, first leg soccer match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at Arsenal's Emirates stadium in London, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller (right) scores their second goal of the game

  • Bayern's Thomas Mueller, left, scores his side's 2nd goal past Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, right, during a Champions League, round of 16, first leg soccer match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at Arsenal's Emirates stadium in London, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Arsenal's Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla and Per Mertesacker (left to right) stand dejected after Bayern Munich's Daniel Van Buyten (not in picture) scores their second goal of the game

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos celebrates scoring their first goal of the game

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos celebrates scoring their first goal of the game

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos celebrates scoring their first goal of the game

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    General view of match action at the Emirates Stadium

  • Arsenal's Lukas Podolski and Jack Wilshere and Bayern's Bastian Schweinsteiger, from left, challenge for the ball during a Champions League, round of 16, first leg soccer match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at Arsenal's Emirates stadium in London, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • Bayern's Toni Kroos, right, celebrates with his teammates after scoring the opening goal during a Champions League, round of 16, first leg soccer match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at Arsenal's Emirates stadium in London, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • Bayern's Toni Kroos, right, celebrates with his teammates after scoring the opening goal during a Champions League, round of 16, first leg soccer match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at Arsenal's Emirates stadium in London, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos celebrates scoring their first goal of the game

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Arsenal's Per Mertesacker (right) stands dejected as Bayern Munich players celebrate Toni Kroos (not in picture) scoring their first goal of the game

  • Bayern's Bastian Schweinsteiger, 2nd left, reacts as Bayern's Toni Kroos, unseen, scores the opening goal past Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, back, during a Champions League, round of 16, first leg soccer match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at Arsenal's Emirates stadium in London, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Arsenal's Mikel Arteta (right) and Per Mertesacker (second right) stand dejected as Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos celebrates scoring their first goal of the game in the background

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    England manager Roy Hodgson (right) in the stands before the game

  • Bayern's Bastian Schweinsteiger, left, tackles Arsenal's Jack Wilshere during a Champions League, round of 16, first leg soccer match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at Arsenal's Emirates stadium in London, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-ARSENAL-BAYERN MUNICH

    Arsenal's Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta (L) tackles Bayern Munich's German midfielder Toni Kroos (R) during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 football match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium in north London on February 19, 2013. AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOF STACHE (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Former Arsenal footballer Robert Pires is interviewed before the match

  • Arsenal v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19: Jack Wilshere of Arsenal in action against Bastian Schweinsteiger of Bayern Muenchen during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Arsenal and Bayern Muenchen at Emirates Stadium on February 19, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-ARSENAL-BAYERN MUNICH

    Bayern Munich's German striker Thomas Muller (2R) scores their second goal past Arsenal's Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny (L floor) during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 football match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium in north London on February 19, 2013. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Arsenal v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19: Jack Wilshere of Arsenal shows his dejection during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Arsenal and Bayern Muenchen at Emirates Stadium on February 19, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-ARSENAL-BAYERN MUNICH

    Bayern Munich's German striker Thomas Muller (2R) scores their second goal past Arsenal's Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny (L floor) during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 football match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium in north London on February 19, 2013. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Arsenal v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19: Santi Cazorla of Arsenal in action against Philipp Lahm of Bayern Muenchen during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Arsenal and Bayern Muenchen at Emirates Stadium on February 19, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • Arsenal v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19: Toni Kroos of Bayern Muenchen celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Arsenal and Bayern Muenchen at Emirates Stadium on February 19, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Bongarts/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-ARSENAL-BAYERN MUNICH

    Bayern Munich's German striker Thomas Muller (2L floor) celebrates scoring their second goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 football match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium in north London on February 19, 2013. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-ARSENAL-BAYERN MUNICH

    Bayern Munich's German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger (R) tackles Arsenal's English midfielder Jack Wilshere (C) during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 football match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium in north London on February 19, 2013. AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOF STACHE (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-ARSENAL-BAYERN MUNICH

    Arsenal's English midfielder Jack Wilshere (L) reacts as Bayern Munich's players celebrate their second goal scored by German striker Thomas Muller during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 football match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium in north London on February 19, 2013. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Arsenal v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19: (L-R) Per Mertesacker, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Wojciech Szczesny, Theo Walcott and Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal show their dejection after conceding a goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Arsenal and Bayern Muenchen at Emirates Stadium on February 19, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-ARSENAL-BAYERN MUNICH

    Bayern Munich's German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger (L) tangles with Arsenal's English midfielder Jack Wilshere (R) during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 football match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium in north London on February 19, 2013. AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOF STACHE (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-ARSENAL-BAYERN MUNICH

    Bayern Munich's German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger (L) tangles with Arsenal's English midfielder Jack Wilshere (R) during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 football match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium in north London on February 19, 2013. AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOF STACHE (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Arsenal v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19: Thomas Mueller of Bayern Muenchen scores his team's second goal past Wojciech Szczesny of Arsenal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Arsenal and Bayern Muenchen at Emirates Stadium on February 19, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Bongarts/Getty Images)

  • Arsenal v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19: Toni Kroos of Bayern Muenchen celebrates with team-mate Mario Mandzukic after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Arsenal and Bayern Muenchen at Emirates Stadium on February 19, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Bongarts/Getty Images)

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Bayern Munich's Mario Mandzukic (second right) turns to celebrate after scoring their third goal of the game as Arsenal players are left dejected

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

    Arsenal's Jack Wilshere lies dejected on the pitch

ARSENAL NEED A NEW GOALKEEPER
The Premier League's regression has been symbolised by its goalkeepers this season. At the halfway stage of the campaign, Stoke's Asmir Begovic was selected by pundits in their team of the season largely by virtue of him conceding less goals than his counterparts.

Wojciech Szczęsny's form has been questionable for the best part of the last year and he followed his error for Blackburn's weekend winner with a feeble parry to assist Thomas Müller for Bayern's second.

thomas muller

Szczęsny was at fault for Müller's goal

His dip is not owed purely to his ability, however. Wenger has a poor record with buying goalkeepers in the post-David Seaman era and Szczęsny has no competition. He should finally get it in the summer, irrespective of whether Wenger is still in charge at the Emirates Stadium.

MEAN DEFENCE MASKS BAYERN'S VULNERABILITY
A chink in Bayern's armour was identifiable via the inclusion of Van Buyten, a defender once regarded so incompetent Kevin Keegan opted not to make his Manchester City loan move permanent nine years ago. He was only playing because the appropriately named Holger Badstuber was injured.

The caveat is Bayern have only conceded seven goals in the Bundesliga all season, but so exceptional is their attack they have alleviated pressure on the onetime infamously leaky defence. Manuel Neuer said it was "boring" being the team's goalkeeper.

manuel neuer

Neuer made a crucial save at 2-1 from Olivier Giroud

He wasn't bored on Tuesday night as, despite Bayern's superiority, Arsenal not only tested Neuer but achieved the not inconsiderable feat of scoring past him. That the Germany goalkeeper and his defence looked so shaky from an Arsenal corner was a window into Bayern's vulnerability when confronted with a team that applies some pressure. It would have offered their hosts a smidgen of hope had they not lost by the two-goal margin, but future opponents in the knockout stage may not be as fearful as they were.