Champions League Preview: Bayern For Blood

Did they go for it? I believe they did, you know

When Arsenal entered the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in February 2006, they had long exited the FA Cup with a single goal defeat at the hands of Bolton Wanderers. Three weeks earlier, Wigan had shocked everyone by knocking the club out of the League Cup semi-finals on away goals. Sitting fifth in the table, they trailed fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur by five points, a further five behind Liverpool in third whilst leaders Chelsea had the comfort of another fifteen on top of that. It was February and the title had long been out of reach. It was deemed a hopeless position, coming into the tie on thee back of two wins in the previous eight games.

Real Madrid had won the previous six games and were built up as unbeatable, invincible. Los Galacticos.

Tonight Bayern Munich arrive at The Emirates, runaway leaders of the Bundesliga, one defeat domestically all season, unbeaten away from home, with a goal difference of fifty to compliment their fifteen point advantage. Unbeatable. And yet they lost in the group phase at BATE Borisov in the second game and drew with Valencia in the Mestalla.

Anything is possible.

Whether or not glory beckons depends on which Arsenal turns up; the flaccid, timid side of some recent first halves or the rampant tearaways of most second periods? The former and the game could be gone before you know it; the latter could have those who’ve written the side off before a ball is kicked in anger, munching on their words. I wonder if Arsène might be inclined to this being his team talk, “Gentlemen, we are four goals down from the first leg; if you believe you cannot retrieve the deficit entirely, remember Milan, how we nearly did it. Fly my beauties, reach for the stars and the universe shall be yours“. OK, so the last sentence ran through my head in the voice of Montgomery Burns but you get the drift.

As the media obsess over public displays of anger and others pontificate on his future, did Arsène himself chuckle last night? Was this all a calculated response, a planned outrage to fire up the players? It struck me as very convenient in its timing and the reaction garnered certainly for an astute man, would be exactly that which he would have wished for. The PR equivalent of rope-a-dope, convincing in its delivery, designed to snap anything other than determination to win out of the players? Simply put, We’re not having that, no-one talks to the boss like that. We owe him a big performance. With Mikel Arteta sat alongside him when it happened, you can be sure the venom in Arsène’s delivery would have been relayed to the squad; the hurt and anger, with the right touch of bewilderment at it all.

They tell me that Arsène isn’t that calculating but this is football management, where a lot of the game is won inside players’ heads. He would not be the first to use such tactics, he will not be the last. He certainly is ruthless enough. And this train of thought will be careering through the minds of the coaches of Bayern.

Maybe the ire was genuine and I’m too cynical. Fair play to him in either circumstance.

And a reaction is what he needs. Of the starting line-up on Saturday, it is hard to look beyond Szczesny, Vermaelen, Koscielny and Arteta being involved at kick-off tonight. The initial plan was probably to play the Belgian at left back but suggestions from Wenger yesterday that his French centre back is struggling to be fit would put Sagna on the left, Jenkinson in his normal position. That could be swapped but the more experienced player would probably be better suited to handling the pressures of playing on the wrong side of the pitch, especially against experienced wingers such as Ribery and Robben.

The cup defeat against Blackburn will have stung pride, you could see that in the reaction of Walcott and Wilshere at the final whistle. Some of the other players may not have understood the impact of the FA Cup on the psyche of the English football fan; they will have understood the boos at the final whistle. Whilst footballers freely admit to operating under the premis of There but for the Grace of God go I, that shallowness has limits. Few of the regular starting XI will be concerned about their immediate place in the side, they will be keen and eager to consolidate their own position. Selfishness can reap benefits for the greater good.

And for others, the motivation will be proving doubters wrong. Making a point that having been discarded, they are good enough and more patience shown. Lukas Podolski’s spell in Bavaria was not successful by any stretch of the imagination and the German international has displayed enough on social media to suggest that this evening is an opportunity to prove detractors wrong, is not something he will want to waste.

The line-up for this evening I expect to take to the field is:

Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen (or Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Sagna); Wilshere, Cazorla, Arteta; Walcott, Giroud, Podolski

The quandry for Arsène is whether he believes Bayern can be undone by pace. Walcott playing centrally offers that option, dropping Giroud to the bench for a late run out if needed. To accommodate, Oxlade-Chamberlain would come in on the right. However, the French striker has been effective in the central position recently and it seems unlikely that the manager will tinker with the line-up.

German sides do not have the happiest of records at Arsenal. Borussia Monchengladbach and Schalke are the only ones who have left with victories whilst Bayern forced the only draw a decade or so ago. The reverse holds true in Germany but that is not the issue tonight. As Arsène pointed out, a goalless draw is not a bad result tonight. The only bad result is one that leaves Arsenal chasing victory in Bavaria in a fortnight’s time.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

593 thoughts on “Champions League Preview: Bayern For Blood

  1. what if Giroud had started MA, he may have had a few more chances and scored. Wenger either thinks he is our main striker or not, maybe the game against Blackburn changed his mind.

  2. C @ 9:38

    I agree with your friend. We tend to over rate our players based on a few games where they go crazy and score 5-6 but I really don’t think this side has the horsepower to compete consistently on this level internationally or in the PL. On top of that I don’t think the manager gets the best out of the players we have. Everyone thought we played well at the beginning of the season before Norwich but we were still 7 points off the lead. We have been on a ” good run” and played some good football the last 10 games. However, if you count the points total of the top teams in the league over just those 10 games we would still be tied for 4th place. Not very flattering I’m afraid.

  3. Warning.

    This may upset some although those with the deficiency to upset easily are residing over st George’s gaff.

    I think rosicky and diaby have to go.! I think that they have both been out for so long due to injuries they are just happy to be playing and when they play are happy to finish games in one piece. We need players who want to just win or die like wilshere.

  4. A better performance, they tried hard but Bayern are a v good side. We still have a slight chance but we need our best performance in Europe to progress. Bring on Villa, we need to consolidate 4th.

  5. I don’t blame TV5, he did the best he could. It is a reflection of the lack of depth at the position, considering santos has been loaned out on the assumption he is not up to the task. Gibbs is injured and would otherwise he first choice for this game. Monreal is cup tied, he knew that when we acquired him and I think Gibbs are going to have a lot of trouble getting his place back.

    I am not devastated, we were always going to need something quite magical to win the Champions League. We played a good side, an experienced one that was efficient but not overly great. We need to learn from these games, as much as we need to learn from the likes of Blackburn and Bradford.

  6. Is it not typical that all 3 goals we conceded were from crosses.

    Over the years it seems to me that is the main source of goals against and yet the coaching staff seem to be incapable of stoppig it.

    IT was a pretty woesome first half and a much better 2nd half, but it you give away 2 goals at home in the first 20 minutes, what chance have you got against a very very good team.

  7. I think this result reflects where we are as a club in Europe, just about good enough to make it through the group stage (but every year this is harder) and not good enough to advance beyond this stage. Bayern should have won last year and are the Man U of Germany.

  8. well it is time to focus on the next match and leave this alone for me. I am not going to harp on about the loss, yeah it stinks and it is as painful as hell but it won’t be the last time i’ll have been stabbed with that dagger.

  9. They are a quality team that is well coached. No shame in losing to perhaps the best or 2nd best team in Europe. Hard to accept conceding 3 at home no matter how good they are.

  10. Rather than players wanting to die Dukey why not players who pass really accurately ? Even better someone who can hit a dead ball every time on the target ?

    Whaddya say ?

  11. As much as I feel for the manager, I just cannot help but feel he has to accept a large portion of the blame. To be honest, the job must absolutely suck; but then getting 7.5 million a year helps.

  12. Truth is mistakes of the past have not been corrected, poor marking, goalkeeping errors, slack positioning, mentality and attitude towards games. At 2-1 they felt comfortable tossing the ball backwards with no forward movement, with all this losses at home comes lack of confidence, your home ground should always be your fortress.I don’t think buying players is an option, lots of supposed quality players on loan or players coming in and becoming average. Arsenal really has issues that needs to be sorted quickly.

  13. Well makes the decision to rest players for the fa cup look folly now. Which we all knew would.

    The fa cup was always going to be slightly more the better chance of silverware but which cup would have been financially better progressing in??

  14. Hmmm. Bayern are good, no doubt, but we beat Dortmund last time round, and they were not slackers either.

    Dukey raises an interesting point. Is that what’s holding us back? Long-term injuries to key personnel, and the lack of telepathic thinking that builds naturally among those who play together week-in, week-out? (Petit described how he knew where Vieira would be, without even having to look.)

    Aaron and Jack both lost a year, Diaby has lost what feels like close to half a decade, Rosicky is on a play-if-you-can allowance.

    AW exhibits the sort of patience with his players uncommon in our “we want it, like, yesterday” society. Is this his fundamental error?

    Or have the players lost faith in themselves, and him at this point?

  15. Different story if Giroud had put that chance away – not that I blame him. 2-2 would have been weird after the first half. Bayern were scary in the opening. The intelligence really stood out – they still play like a van Gaal team in the way they attack; getting the other side completely stretched but waiting for the opening rather than forcing it.

    It was just bravado from me before this one. I was hoping that Saturday hadn’t affected us, but it did a bit I think. Detected a bit of awe from Podolski too, when he was a player who needed to lead us tonight. He didn’t loosen up until Giroud was about to come.

    It’s very slim, but if somehow we score first there and at least make them commit a couple of players it could be on. We’ll need a better performance that we’ve produced this season.

    Oh, and I think we can finally conclude that Walcott is a winger (or inside forward) not a striker. And hopefully we can take our frustration out on Villa.

  16. Are you a bit off your rocker Dukey ?

    Do you see conspiracy in every result, every choice of team, every substitution ?

  17. @Clerkenwell Gooner

    I tend to think his faith in players is both a strength and a weakness. It obviously seems like a weakness at this moment in time but without demonstrating faith in his players he’ll never get them playing as they can play.

  18. No bob my point was a bitter paranoid dig at wenger and the board for trying to get through the cl instead of the fa cup as you get more money for it.

    Anicol, your questions are like riddles wraped in an enigma jack in the box. Not too sure when your Pissing about so I’ll say no comment.!

  19. I thought Poldi was our first player to really switch on after 25-30 minutes – good night and a pity he went off

    When he picked up the card though

  20. We were beaten when we couldnt win the group.So we end up playing one of the best teams in Europe.And we know what happens as soon as we play a decent team in the CL we get outclassed

    Wenger is not going to change.The target this season like every season is 4th.Forget ever winning a trophy ever again under Wenger it is never going to happen

  21. I genuinely think it’s tactical.

    I think there is something wrong with players belief at times.

    But what galls me the most is our complete and utter reliance on the 4-3-3, and the slight variations 4-5-1 and 4-2-3-1

    We have one way of playing against ALL opponents, and we don’t study our opponents and learn to mark them and do some work to tweak tactics to suit the opponent.

    FAbregas said when he went to Barca that there was a lot less freedom in their system. They were structered, machine like. YOu go there, and he goes here and then he makes this run while you fake a shot before passing to another player to score.

    They drill that in and it is perfection.

    BUt we as Arsenal do not, we seem to just be sent out there with no specific instructions or anything.

    Another example is Clichy who said he was shocked at the training at Manchester City, he said it was more intense and more specific.

    Finally a recent comment by Robin Van persie said that he loves the preparation that Manchester UTD do before games. This would seem to mean that they do specific preparation for each and every game.

    The overall reuslt from all of that seems to be that we are abit more ‘let your creativity and head do the football’ This can offer great football but fragile defence or costly errors happen because of a lack of instructions or lack of organisation.

    Now of course this works up to an extent, in terms of creativity and excellent football. We once had the players with the ingenuinity and creativity to make this work.

    We no longer do. And finally just because teams are more structured and more organised doesn’t mean they are not creative.

    Just ask Barcelona.

  22. Dukey.

    I doubt his choices had anything to do with money in this case. I think he really wants to win the CL just like all of us and watching Chelsea last year and Liverpool in 05 you know that anything is possible in a knock out competition. Just like everyone I thought we could have beaten Blackburn even with rotating. We did not have any real scorers on the pitch and should have started Walcott on the wing but even with the lineup we had we should have figured out how to nick a goal and we should have kept a clean sheet. At worst we should have had a replay at 0-0.

  23. If I can bear returning to this match I’ll have another look at Podolski’s performance, Anicoll. Just had the impression that he was a bit inhibited (I might have been influenced by Andy Townsend!).

    Anyway, still contend that if AW gets to the new season (as he deserves) and we keep our key players for once, we’ll see a team that will compete on a few fronts. Couple of additions too. Continuity will also breed confidence. Which is probably the biggest thing missing at the moment.

  24. @Moe that apporpach is great if you got the personell to do it. very few clubs have players of high enough standard to do that, we have had that in the past imo. I dont think we do anymore. THey are good but need more guidance, more structure to achieve what past teams did with talent alone….

  25. I do think this is the first time in a long time wenger does not know his strongest team. Maybe this is our problem.

  26. Moe,

    Maybe to be able to do that( no special tactics) the players need to be more experienced , more familiar with each other.

  27. Bill

    Then if that is indeed what needs to change, then will Arsene Wenger recognise that or will he continue to play his one-tactic-for-all system?

    If he doesn’t change it then what can we do, the board are protecting him, they love him and god help me i love the man too but what do you do when what you love hinders and does not help?

  28. Dukey @ 10:38.

    Not enough good players. I love Theo on the right wing but let’s be honest, if he is the best striker we have for a game like today we are in trouble. Besides if we move him to CF we significantly weaken our wing play. We needed to get another quality goal scorer in January. Hopefully we will spend what it takes this summer.

    Limestone @ 10:39.

    I guess that’s why they call me boring and redundant. 😉

  29. I agree if you play Theo upfront put the ox out right at least, we either get another winger and play Theo upfront or play Theo on the wing and get another striker.

  30. Few, I know you’re an affable chap, Bill, but I’m glad you took that as a joke. Got an aversion to smilies, but they really pick up the slack in cases like this.

  31. dukey

    We cant keep saying we have good players when the evidence proves we dont.We have 4th to 6th place players.We are 21 points behind Man Utd a season after we finished 19 points behind the top 2.We are going backwards not progressing.Tonight it was men against boys

  32. Moe

    Jack the only player who would get in the Bayern team.Great player head and shoulders above any other Arsenal player.How long will he stay though?

  33. Nah I have seen us get outplayed and I’ve seen teams come over and take our pants down .. didn’t see that tonight, I saw us have no fukin belief again like we are scared shitless to make a mistake in the first half .

  34. With Danny Alves starting the Barcelona tapping up machine of noise through the media, perhaps we have another year or two to hang onto Jack. No doubt he’ll be made captain next season to prepare the way!

    He was great. But that’s going to be small consolation if the rest of the team doesn’t manage to help pull off a miracle at the Allianz Arena.

  35. Scared to shoot. I detest seeing the ball in the final third come all the way back to the keeper who boots it long and we lose possession with little Theo, Jack, and Cazorla fighting for headers!

  36. Birdkamp.

    Keep the faith. I honestly hope you are right about next season. I really think if we keep what we have and bring in a top quality goalscorer we will be significantly improved. However, it gets back to what Moe said in that post. IMO, I just don’t think we will ever really be anything other the a team that is less then the sum of our parts with Wenger ball. We are unorganized and continue to make mistakes, and we are inconsistent. When you are disorganized you tend to fall apart in pressure situations and its been the same thing now for as long as you and I have been together on the blog. Oh well. At least we have been able to drag up the mental strength to hold on to 4th place and hopefully that will happen again this season

  37. And Arsene priorotized the CL over the FA Cup for THAT?

    The left back position was our undoing. But we knew it didn’t we?

    The team is raw. No cohesion in the midfield, no covering on the flanks, no confidence at the set plays.

    I’m wondering how much of that is down to the frequent changes in the personnel, and how much due to the manager’s “let the players develop first” approach.

    And we do miss one or two quality additions to compete at this level.

    The problems would be understandable and the struggling acceptable as long as the improvement happens. But the overall trend is still downhill. And the worst thing is that Arsene seems to be in denial about that.

  38. The good thing about the cups is that unless it’s a final I don’t think the results affect the team much.

    Of course they dream of winning, but I don’t think any club truly expects anything until they get to the semis. Only one team can win the CL (well, dur!), so there’s disappointment at poor results – yes – but not lingering regret or inhibition…well, hopefully, but I’m confident that’s it’s true.

    Bradford didn’t stop us improving. And I think our game had reached a good level at Sunderland. There has been progress and I don’t see why we can’t get back on the horse this weekend. A decent result and we’ll have already moved on.

  39. But the players really care about the CL. They also know that the whole world is watching the CL. I think this led us to play with real pride v. Milan. Hopefully we’ll do the same, at least to make our elimination more respectable, though it would be wonderful to pull off a miraculous upset with a 3-0 performance.

  40. Bayern were a different class in the first half and more or less sat back in the second. I don’t think you can criticise our players for the shift they put in, at least we kept it fairly respectable and we worked hard.
    We can’t forget that we are currently 5th in the premier league, while Bayern are probably in the top 3 in Europe. That’s quite a gulf really and I’m surprised that people on this blog think we actually had much of a chance.

  41. SV- I know what you mean, as we have little chance of winning the CL, but there was always the potentional to get embarassed in this tie against high-quality opposition and the CL is much higher profile.

  42. Bad result.

    We played pretty well in parts, but sloppy is the only word which really describes the overall performance.

  43. OOU – “Different story if Giroud had put that chance away – not that I blame him.
    An off the cuff comment, but an interesting one all the same.

    To plays devils advocate; is that not a chance which you would expect a top level striker to score? He had just come on the field granted…..but still?

    Life at the top is all about small margins.

  44. Very disappointing.
    Hate to admit it, we just arent good enough at the moment. Bayern didn’t need to do much. They took their chances, weren’t vulnerable to a counter attack, and were very solid.
    I think the only Arsenal player who would make their starting 11 would be LJW.
    We played with tempo at times, but then we would slow it down, making it vey easy for them to defend their lead.
    As an aside to Harry,
    You are right, my comments were a generalization, and don’t apply to you.

  45. A reality check!! The Germans were super efficient in taking their chances. I was quite impressed by the way they shut shop in the second half, showed good footballing intelligence. Our guys really tried in the second half but lacked the quality to get past a team like Bayern. Also think fans were quite supportive today, nobody can blame them for this defeat!

  46. Chin up fellows. One leg to go. Granted an uphill fight but still in it and it isn’t over. Keep on your support levels high. That team need you now
    More than when they’re doing well. Don’t let it get you down too much.

  47. In fairness, it was on his weaker foot and he had only just come on, GA. Giroud’s done more than enough in his first season…which is why I’d have preferred him to start.

    As LG also said above – I can’t bear the sight of Walcott competing for clearances. I get the thinking behind wanting to test two slow CBs, but I don’t like him as a striker for us. I mean he’s not particularly hard-working either – some smaller CFs make up for their physical disadvantage by harrying defenders, chasing lost causes. Walcott doesn’t have it in him, which isn’t to deny that he’s a very effective player and a first choice – in the right position.

    Walcott would be more of an option if we had the confidence and understanding to pass our way through trouble every time. But we’re not there yet. The movement isn’t happening, which will take a lot of time to perfect too.

  48. I would expect a top class striker not to miss a tap in from two yards

    Like the little Dutch boy did in last year’s Milan game at 3-0

    Still that’s strikers for you

    Heroes when it hits the back of the net

    Lazy rancid shite when they miss

  49. No point slamming strikers for missing chances. It’s bit of a numbers game.
    Unless ofcourse they always miss the opportunities.
    Not Giroud’s fault he isn’t RVP. he’s done his job this season.
    Agree with Birdkamp, Giroud to start with Theo on the right gives us more options.

  50. I have difficulty blaming Giroud for one early, difficult chance (a full volley hitting across the ball iirc).

    What I would have liked to see is him get a few more chances like that. A good striker has about a 20-23% conversion ratio if I remember correctly, so imo we should have provided more of the same, not blame him for not burying one difficult chance.

    I think our problem has been the same for a while. We retreat into our shells, endlessly passing backwards and sideways, allowing the opposition to solidify and organise their defence.

    How many shots did we eventually end up having at goal? How many of them were in the first half if any?

    Basically, if you don’t shoot, you are unlikely to score.

    In the days before that pig allardyce claimed he had worked out how to stifle us (when in reality ferguson had told him how to do it), we used to break at speed. The team used to practice breaking with 5 players, any 5 five players, and getting a shot on target within 6 seconds of crossing the halfway line.

    Once allardyce started getting his players to foul us early and high up the pitch, ala Germany circa ’80’s, and the refs allowed it, Wenger had to find an alternative.

    Unfortunately, the alternative appears to be an “absolute” once again, i.e. that’s the way we now play, and there is very little deviation.

    What struck me last night was how, when we (eventually) arrived at their box, there just wasnt a way through, whereas when they arrived at our box it was Custer’s last stand.

    We do have very good players, we are just not playing to our potential.

    Yes, we could do with one or two key additions, but to my mind the issue is what is happening at the training ground. Something there is not working, and hasn’t been for some time. what’s frustrating is that it’s not being fixed. Is that because our coaching can’t or won’t fix it? Personally, I don’t know, but the manager is responsible, there is simply no ducking or diving away from it, and if he can’t or won’t fix it, someone else has to be brought in to do so.

  51. My take on things is this arsenal team is talented but seriously inept without the ball we really could learn a thing or two about how bayern defend as a team not individuals.

    If we continue to give away soft goals we will never win anything this has to be sorted or I can’t see a way we will return to title winning ways. Now I’m not saying we return to the graham days but a lot must be said of our defensive cohesion then.

  52. MikeSA, 3 shots on goal, 10 overall. But I can hardly remember our shooting as we had so little genuine threat.

    Hard to say what the problem here is–lacking quality or not getting the team to play well together

    What must AW be thinking right now?

  53. *sigh*

    For what it’s worth I thought we got our lineup wrong. Too negative. We showed we were weak and got spanked.

    Theo was isolated and even with a packed midfield we could not keep possession.

    We should have started our normal first 11 and not fucked around like pussys.


  54. Maybe, Markus, but I thought we played reasonably well in attack, just without the final quality and confidence needed to score often enough. The problem was that we needed to adjust the shape quite quickly after going down, especially after the second went in. There wasn’t going to be space for Walcott to run into centrally and we kept conceding possession by failing to play through the midfield but rather going back to the keeper to boot long for Walcott, Cazorla and Wilshere to fight for the ball in the air. Too long to bring Giroud and Rosicky on.

  55. On Giroud I agree with the general consensus that he should have started we would have carried more threat going fowards.
    I understand why he took podolski off but surely we carried more of a threat with him on the field for me the player to give way yesterday was arteta when we were chasing the game but hindsight is a mother.

    My team if everyone is fit for the return leg.

    ————-Giroud, Theo
    Podolski ——————– Santi
    ——– Wilshire, Rosicky
    Vermealen, LK, PM, sagna
    ————– WS

    A team full of attacking intent but u just know we won’t see it.

  56. Flexiblity is key in modern day football, the ability to have options and read games is very important which all goes down to tactics, selection and substitution, yesterday all this came late or were not applied, every football team has players who combine effectively with each other and yesterday one such combination was missing, Giroud-walcott, when both play they create chances for each other and on a good day they can both get on the scoresheet. Bayern themselves were not so fantastic either, the goal we scored was an example of that, but because we were not sharp in attack there was no way to expose their flaws. Wenger has said he has quality players, the question is what is the quality of the tactics, we are not improving as it stands.

  57. I don’t think we played well at all last evening, to be blunt I thought we were awful. Totally outclassed and out of our depth.

    Our ‘turnaround’ in the first 15 minutes of the second half was more a reflection on how utterly crap we were in the preceding 45 minutes. We put in a small bit more effort as the Germans relaxed a little, the crowd made a bit more noise but ultimately we were gifted a goal on the basis of refereeing error and calamity defending – it was in no way down to improved play from us. Apart from that there was Giroud’s miss and a shot at the keeper from Wilshere.

    Anyway there is no plaudits to be taken from playing well for a short period in the second half, football is a game of 90 minutes. See also Chelsea and Man City in recent matches.

    Last night taught us a lot about our true level. No shame in losing to a very good Bayern Munich side. We’re simply a second tier CL side. We might not even be that next season.

  58. Limestonegunner
    “I thought we played reasonably well in attack, just without the final quality and confidence needed to score often enough”

    I dunno, we were tentative in attack I thought. Too much probing without any penetration. Sagna had no support, and any time a player was in position to cross there was nobody to receive it.

    Too many players shifting position made us a little disjointed I thought. Vermaelen to left back. Jack pushed further forward alongside Santi. Theo into the middle. Another player sharing Arteta’s role.

    All had knock on effects. Sagna no support on right. Arteta and Ramsey sharing duties with neither thus taking full responsibility for it. Ditto Jack and Santi. Theo isolated. Poldi didn’t have a natural left back and so also had a lack of support on the left.

    Nobody played badly, I just felt it was too much change for us to click into gear properly.

  59. The domestic Cups are stepping stones of achievement to where we all want to be: Champions of the Champions League. This is a new team though which, probably through lack of expectation management, is too often measured against the achievements of a now long passed era – nearly 10 years. The engine is new, the brains are new, the guts are new.
    It seems a terrible mistake to prioritize what is an impossible task for this new group, namely winning that trophy, especially at the expense of achievable steps and rewards. The danger is too, that we are only serving to tarnish a group of football players, in our minds and theirs, who are really very good.
    AW, this is not the side that took you to the final, it is not the same side that you won all those cups with, it is a good side, but they weren’t there with you then. Please let them win again what you have already done yourself, they need to feel the success of walking, before holding our expectations for winning the marathon.
    Maybe then, they will be able to take you there.

  60. We aren’t good enough across the park, starting with the GK.
    We are poor at shutting down the opposition when they have the ball.
    Our heads drop so easily. ( the famed mental strength has disappeared)
    We dont defend as a team
    We don’t have enough striking options when needed.
    Our tactics are predictable
    Our 70 minute subs are predictable

  61. I hope inquest this morning, and a grim dissection of the corpse it will be, focuses on what we did wrong – and clearly our collective performance in the opening quarter was unsatisfactory (again)

    I trust also players, managers and coaches will look carefully at what Bayern did well, which was to play fast direct football, to pass accurately, to always have numbers available at both ends, and a man available to take the ball

    Simple effective control

    So if 1% of that percolates in it may not have been the senseless slaughter some imagine

  62. No doubts, Bayern were good and efficient. Just a shock to see how big the gap has become between the best in Europe and ourselves.

  63. I don’t think you can be too hard on the team, they worked hard, but we are just not at the level of the top European teams anymore (and haven’t been for a few years). We are a last 16/last 8 team now
    Our form and our current league placing demonstrate this. I agree with arse in the Gamb though, we are still stuck in the mentality of the mid noughties when we genuinely challenged for the league/CL/FA cup, etc.
    We need to reset our priorities and do our best to win a domestic trophy. From this base, progress can be built. Is AW the man to do this? Not sure anymore…

  64. The other (unfortunate) lesson we will learn from the tie and from Bayern is that unlike Milan last season when the teams step out in three weeks time at the Allianz they will not assume the tie is over

    Sets jaw defiantly and sniffs loudly 🙁

  65. Markus, perhaps my expectations have been so altered that keeping possession and working hard have come to seem to me like they are playing reasonably well, I.e. for our current squad. But you are probably right that the players didn’t click in their slightly altered positions. But they should be able to have some tactical flexibility. The idea seemed to me to exploit their high line and slow CB, van Buyten, with Theo’s pace. Something different, tactical and designed to get an early goal. And it almost worked as Jack fed Walcott twice in the opening minutes for breakaways behind the Bayern line. But as usual our defending was poor and we gave up a bad goal from a good Kroos strike because no one out pressure on that left side crosser or got to the ball or was covering Kroos closely. After the second we needed to think about changing shape.

  66. The difference was four goals not two. So this gap could be made up with a 3-0 second leg away rather than 5-0 at home. Marginally easier for us. Too bad. If we’d conceded another and failed to score, we’d have had them right where we wanted ’em, overconfident, right Anicoll?

  67. I fancied a 1-1 last night so a 2-2 would not have killed me LG lol – some opponents even 1-3 you might fancy a chink of opportunity even with the second leg away – we bashed Inter in 03 by a good margin when it was called for

    Sadly unlike the flakey Milanese those Bavarian buggers probably really believe it is just half time in the tie

  68. My suggestion for the second leg is Munich being 2 up within 20 minutes killing the game completely stone dead at which point I will switch over to something else.

  69. But that is not the Arsenal way Steve is it ?

    WE will be two up in 20 minutes

    And then spend the next 70 fruitlessly beavering away for the 3rd that never comes ………………………

    You will not be able to turn off or turn over

    No sir

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