Arsenal Pay The Penalty In Champions League Defeat

hl21Arsenal 0 – 2 Bayern Munich

0 – 1 Kroos (54)
0 – 2 Muller (88)

Wojciech Szczesny sent off, Özil wasted a penalty. Alaba missed as well.

On a night which promised much and answered a few questions, Arsenal ended the ninety minutes in the same position as last season. They have to win by a three goal margin in Munich although a ray of hope comes with the knowledge that repeat the victory of twelve months ago and this time they have thirty more minutes to find the winner. I hope we don’t believe that winning on penalties is a feasible option.

And how different it might all have been.

Recent games had seen Arsenal cede territory and opportunities straight from kick-off; Wojciech Szczesny’s save from Tony Kroos early strike signalled the problem still exists. What is different was the reaction; Arsenal fought back immediately, not for them the prospect of finding their feet. Taking the game to the visitors proved relatively successful and opportunity knocked when Özil was felled after an exquisite backheel; it was a clear-cut penalty. An opportunity to take an early advantage, and as Arsène put it post-match, to create doubt in Bayern minds. It took courage to take the kick when others did not want to but as Özil stuttered forward, the outcome seemed inevitable. Unsurprisingly, his effort was saved with the style of penalty relying on the goalkeeper moving; when he doesn’t, sending the ball down the middle of the goal is only going to end one way. Credit to Neuer for having the strength to wait for the kick to come before committing to the dive.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but the wisdom of Özil taking the kick in the first place is questionable, given he was facing a goalkeeper who he has presumably taken many penalties against during international training camps. Neuer knew what to expect and it showed. The second aspect is the mental impact on Özil himself; to take a penalty, you have to be prepared to miss and feel nothing, to not let it affect your game. Arsène summed it up afterwards,

Yes, he was affected by it. I think he wanted to do so well tonight that it affected him. You could see even five or 10 minutes later on the pitch he still was shaking his head. It had a huge impact on his performance

And it was a match which needed everyone firing on all cylinders and it seemed a little of the belief from the whole side died in that moment.

There was an air of inevitability in the outcome when Arjen Robben shook loose the defence and reached Kroos lofted ball first; Szczesny arrived a second later and in that moment, the game changed. As with Arsenal’s penalty, there is no question of the decision to award the spot kick. Likewise, the decision to dismiss the Pole was no surprise and in my view, the right decision. There is no point in bleating about double punishments, the Laws of the Game are quite clear on denying a goalscoring opportunity; it is a red card if the last man makes the foul. Certainly no player was going to get back to cover the goal had Robben got to the ball. Whether he would have got to the ball is debatable as the collision makes it a subjective decision. The referee believed he would therefore was right in sending off the goalkeeper. Arsène was not happy afterwards but acknowledged the foul and that Italian referees will dismiss goalkeepers in those circumstances.

It brought back painful memories of Paris and the impact of playing against the best team in Europe with ten men. Szczesny misjudged the situation; was he trying to get the ball or to make sure that Robben couldn’t score? The latter opens the debate; is it better to use foul means to prevent a goal but risk a red card? Or is it better to be a goal down with eleven men to chase the deficit? In this case, eleven men at parity with Bayern for Alaba sent Fabianski the wrong way but the post was not fooled and like Neuer, remained upright and deflected the ball to safety.

The sacrificial lamb was a surprising choice; Santi Cazorla making way to accommodate Fabianski’s arrival. Özil’s mind whilst not in pieces, was not on the game and to me, there was more sense in removing him. Perhaps Wenger sensed that would do more damage than good to the player? Maybe he genuinely thought the German would respond and be more penetrative on the rare counter Arsenal were to enjoy with numerical disadvantage?

With ten men, a goal seemed inevitable. The pity is that it came so early in the second half, frustration had not yet had time to take hold in Bavarian minds. It was a cracking goal, Kroos had time on the edge of the area and conjured a superb curling shot into the top corner which left Fabianski helplessly caught in the side netting. There was nothing the Pole could do to stop the ball entering the net such was the precision in effort. I feel I have missed an opportunity here; a pun about missiles is swirling in my mind. Never mind, the moment has passed.

As with the first, a shame Muller didn’t wait another ten minutes – until after the final whistle had blown – before finding space in the penalty area; unmarked, a player of his calibre was never going to miss from Lahm’s inviting cross. It might have been worse but the woodwork saved a more decisive scoreline when Kroos struck the post in final minute.

Arsène was defensive about resting Olivier Giroud and it was certainly a brave team selection. You sense he had little choice for he was less than convincing when putting the case that the striker was unaffected by personal problems. Despite a good performance on Sunday, it makes little sense to willingly leave out your first-choice centre forward for an untried youngster. Sanogo did well, don’t get me wrong; he might have scored early in the match and worked hard through the ninety minutes. Equally, Wenger would have felt pleased with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s work until injury forced his withdrawal.

The impact of two penalties resonated through the match. Özil’s miss rocked the boat, Szczesny’s dismissal capsized it. Mind out of the way please, the Fat Lady has finished her warm up.

’til Tomorrow.

183 thoughts on “Arsenal Pay The Penalty In Champions League Defeat

  1. Andy:

    Even if Robben had scored the consequences for us would have been less damaging then what actually happened. IMO

    When he rushed out there was almost no way to avoid conceding a PK. Even though they missed the PK, statistically the chance of them scoring that penalty kick was probably higher then the chance that Robben could have successfully brought down the ball and scored. From a statistical standpoint Wojo rushing out increased their chance of scoring and that’s even without considering the risk of getting sent off. The risk/reward ratio for what he did was clearly not in his favor.

    Something like that happens in a split second its easy to second guess while we sit here on our keyboards, I understand that, but Wojo spends his entire day every day thinking about different situations and how he should handle them so that when something like that occurs he probably has thought about all the options hundreds and thousands of times in training. He is a very talented GK and his decisions have been mostly spot on and as he matures he should get even better, but I think he made the wrong decision yesterday and even though they somehow missed that PK, it was still one of the 2 critical moments that cost us the game.

  2. Bill – “When he rushed out there was almost no way to avoid conceding a PK

    You mean apart from if he had got to the ball first?

    From a statistical standpoint Wojo rushing out increased their chance of scoring

    Bill, with all due respect…..that is bollocks.

  3. The response against Sunderland is massive and I would like to see us start:


  4. It’s an old debate and clearly one officialdom are happy to not have, but we are in effect asking Keepers to play with almost zero room for error whereas the remaining 20 players have significantly more room for error. It is all beside the point as to the letter the referee made the correct call. But, I’m still of a mind that this kind of event should be reviewed with a view to changing the automatic red. There was no intent to injure or harm, merely two players coming together in a split second or so as the events unfolded.

  5. And to add to that, we have seen him “rush out” countless times this seasons. Normally clearing the ball, and many of these “rushes” being a lot further out. Were they bad decisions as well?

  6. Rushing out is done to reduce the angles for the attacker to score, we do it for a reason (I was a keeper). I’m with GA on this Bill, bollocks 🙂

  7. Henry B:

    Sonogo is another subject that would be interesting to discuss. Certainly a talent but it is far to early to mentally pencil him in as our starting CF next season. We obviously have high hopes but we have no clue if he can finish in the PL.

    I am looking forward to Ozil being able to pass to Walcott and Ox as our “wingers”. To me that is very exciting.

  8. @Yogi: “a player is thinking?”

    I would suggest a goal keeper punching the lights out of the attacking player, or using a baseball bat, or unleashing a flying kick into the attackers chest would qualify as violent, no?

  9. Pre-meditation is difficult to prove in a court of law, on the football pitch it is impossible to prove. I see last nights ‘penalty’ incident as a 50/50 ball and a collision between two players, a penalty perhaps but a red card was too harsh. The ref had no common sense and stuck rigidly to the law as laid down by Fifa. That is often the problem with laws, they don’t give an opportunity to interprete either way for the good of justice!

  10. Darius – Not if said player is John Terry. In that case, the keeper in question is to be congratulated and assisted.

  11. Actually, Yogi, I do not think that I have specifically mentioned the notion of ‘conduct of a violent nature’, but as applied to football, the common usage of the word ‘violence’ as you will know, refers to behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt or damage an opponent.

    I do have a bee in my bonnet about the use of the words ‘intent’ or ‘deliberate’ when rules or laws are written, because there is the implication that person ‘A’ (the referee) can read the mind of person ‘B’ (the player) and deduce what he is thinking. Perhaps that is just semantics, but it does lead to pundits saying things like “he did not mean that – the boy does not think that way’ etc so to a black and white critter like me that is all bollix.

    But to get back to the definition of violent play, we tend to recognise it when someone goes in to a tackle with studs showing, or swings an elbow into another player’s face etc and again there is an underlying acceptance that what we see makes us believe there was intent, which of course leads back to the previous paragraph.

    Not helpful, I suppose. 🙂

  12. @GA

    I do think that Giroud will start but I would like to see him given a rest against Sunderland and be brought on as a sub to give him rest. If Ox is carrying a knock then I say we either start Gnabry or Rosicky on that wing and give Ozil a proper rest.

  13. @MA

    Did you see the report that Barca have just been charged over tax fraud in the purchase of Neymar from Santos?

  14. On the topic of Yaya Sanogo:

    At what point does one become “ready”? Considering that he is playing with an experienced team, he has done the most basic thing to endear himself to Arsenal fans – he has shown that he has fight, has grit and is ready to work. His talent will crown that surely enough and its only a matter of time.

    We have what we have and if Giroud is not in the right head space as he fights to keep his family, then Sanogo has to do. In the last 2 games he’s played, I haven’t seen anything that would suggest he would fizzle out. In fact, I suggest that when he scores a couple of goals, it will give him so much confidence to b the beast he can be.

    One thing is for sure, he’s given more to Arsenal in the last 2 games than Bendtner when the Dane has been on the pitch. My sense is that Sanogo should be allowed to continue with the games against Sunderland and Stoke and even Everton in the FA cup quarter final and he will find his feet so to speak. Contrary to what people predict that it might cost us, the opposite might be true. Teams don’t know him and may take longer than 12 games to figure him out.

    Not only is he willing to shoot and run with the ball directly at defence, he gives defensive partners headaches and opens up spaces that our midfilders can exploit.

    So I ask again, when is someone ever “ready”? How will we ever know he’s ready without giving him the chance when the pressure is on?

  15. Time will tell Darius, but I do see your point and – on the basis of a few moments of saliva-inducing class – I think the boy could even be a bit special. To early to say but my hopes are presently being kept firmly in check with difficulty.

    I’m thrilled that should be the last we ever see of Bendybollocks.

  16. @Darius

    I agree about Yaya. I think he should get the start against Sunderland and I think once he gets that 1st goal we will start to see the best of the lad. Trust I have seen him and we are seeing a rusty player that is coming off a long injury.

  17. C – Gnabry is a good shout. We need some pace in the side.

    Darius – Sanogo seems decent eh? Must be careful though, he has been injured for quite a while and has already suffered a few serious injuries in his career. Last night he did lots and lots of runnig and wsa dead on his feet come the final whistle.

  18. @Jonny & Darius

    I will tell you one thing is for sure, last night was clearly not to “BIG” for him as we have seen time and time again it be too “Big” for some people and players his age. He went up against the best defense in Europe and gave them plenty of trouble both in the air and running with and without the ball.

  19. Andy:

    We must agree to disagree. In the times he rushed out and cleared the ball away he obviously made the right decision because he was the favorite to get there first. Yesterday he did not have a realistic chance of getting there first which completely changes the equation. Getting the timing correct is the critical part of that decision. Saying he was late by definition made what he did the wrong decision. No?

    Miami. Correct me if I am wrong since I am not a GK but decreasing the angle usually involves staying between the player and goal and making yourself big which decreases the size of the target the effective size of the target for the attacking player. . Usually cutting down the angle does not involve running directly at the player, arriving late and taking his legs out.

  20. It will be intersting to see what Sango will be like in a “normal” games when we are on top. I like what i see so far, but I have no idea what he is like in front of goal. If he is pretty sharp and a good finisher it will be very encouraging indeed. If he is like Gervinho it will be disapointing.

  21. @GA

    Gnabry for sure if Ox is out or has a knock for the Sunderland match. Podolski has to start and Ozil HAS to get a rest.

  22. I have very much liked what I have seen of Sanogo.

    He can look after himself and is not going to be bullied. He is good in the air and when he hits the ball true it goes like a howitzer. (I have seen him in action for the French U21’s)

    As Darius says, we should persevere with him until Giro gets his act together. I have been a bit worried recently that Giro, a favourite of mine, who shows tremendous spirit and is a real team player was not at the races, and I now wonder if his shagging problems have been going on for longer than we know?

    OK, Jonny, if you think I have dissed yet another player – I am ready! 🙂

  23. Bill – If he had stayed on his line and Robben had brought the ball down, he would have simply slipped it into one of the corners and I guarantee that people would have been saying “why did he just stay on his line?” And they would be right.

    We may as well leave it there though eh? Agree to disagree 🙂

  24. Andy he hit the target, forcing a sharp save with his first attempt – he is already better than Gervinho. 🙂

  25. Jonny, Andy and C.

    I suppose my thinking is that a bird in hand is worth two in the bush. We have Sanogo now and on the basis that he has no stage fright, we might as well use him. Sometimes we focus to much on cautious optimism instead of recognizing what something good looks like and giving that something an opportunity to move to the next level. Even at under 21 stage, being voted the best player of the pack is nothing to be sniffed on.

    The goals will come and the boy will continue giving defenses grief. Enough for defenders to know that if and when he pulls them around, our midfield are capable of taking advantage of that space, and if they ignore him, he can also find the net.

    Between now and the end of the season, we can’t worry about which world class striker Arsenal will bring in. We all recognize that for this last mile, we need something different, something that can give us the edge, something that will keep defences wondering what we’re up to, something that no-one has figured out yet. What if Sanogo is that something and our cautious approach of the “he’s-one-for-the-future” mentality holds him back? Unleash the beast in him I say, we have nothing to lose.

  26. Darius – Agree with all of that. My only hesitation would be that of a fitness one. He has been injured for quite a while and has come straight into the first team playing at a level and intesity he has never experinced before.

    Would hate to see him get injured again leaving us with Bendtner as the only alterative to Giroud.

  27. I think Wilshere should have been taken off instead of Santi. Ozil might have been affected but he is capable of producing that moment of brilliance

  28. @GA & Henry & Jonny

    Having watched Yaya both in the U21 World Cup and at his former club Auxerre(last year he scored 10 goals in 13 appearances), he is very composed infront of goal and has no problem taking shots which generally end up on target.

    As Henry said, when he hits the ball it goes straight and hard no doubt about it. Sometimes he goes for power(as we saw on the shot against Liverpool that led to Ox’s goal) but he also has the ability to place a ball(like he did against Bayern that force Neuer into a brilliant reaction save). Once he gets a goal he seems to really go on a tear.

  29. Darius:

    Yaya has looked very good. How many young players have had a couple of good games and then their inexperience catches up with them. The examples of that happening in the last 8 years are to numerous to count. Using history as a guide can occasionally be wrong but historical controls would suggest that Yaya will probably start to struggle if we continue to play him regularly. Its way to early to put this sort of pressure on him just like It was to early for Gnabry this season and to early for Ox to play regularly last season.

    Yaya and Serge both have great potential but we really need our experienced players to step up now. The fact that Arsene was willing to drop Giroud and the fans were happy to see an inexperienced 20 year old who has never scored for us playing in a game like that says something about how effective we believe OG has been for most of this season. That said, I think OG at CF gives us a better chance to win the league then Yaya, and we absolutely need OG to step up and score some goals and play very well the rest of this season, especially if Ox is now carrying a knock.

  30. I am all for using Sanogo this season but unless he shows signs of being top, top, top class – as those managers like to say – it should not stop us from looking to buy the kind of quality that is required to complete this team and allow it to compete at the very highest level.

  31. Andy:

    Agree to disagree.

    There was no doubt it was a true lose/lose scenario for a GK and in that case you have to take the option that is least damaging which is the opposite of what he did.

  32. Jonny – Again, I agree 100%. Sanogo/Giroud/Superb new striker would see us set in that department I think.

  33. Jonny @ 3:49

    “it should not stop us from looking to buy the kind of quality that is required to complete this team and allow it to compete at the very highest level.”

    Absolutely spot on. Based on past history that is the biggest concern when we see some good things from a young player like Yaya. He is only 20 so spending what it takes to buy a top top quality CF next season will not kill him. We also have to worry about his injury history. Besides, we need at least 3 good strikers to compete for 4 trophies and its Arsene should be able to figure out how to put 2 strikers on the pitch at the same time.

  34. Bill – Can’t keep going round in circles mate, making my head spin.

    You think he should have stayed put, I think he took the right action but was unlucky.

  35. @Darius

    I was a massive admirer and supporter of bringing in Yaya when we signed him and nothing he has done has quelled my excitement or thoughts on the lad. I am in complete agreement with you.

  36. Andy:

    “Bill – Can’t keep going round in circles mate, making my head spin”

    I did not say he should stay put, I thought he should have gotten as close to him as possible cutting down the angle but at all costs avoid running into him and taking out his legs.

    Anyway, I always thought that going around in circles is what we do best here. I promise to stop or we may both get vertigo. 😉

  37. @GA & Jonny

    Completely agree with the both of you!!!! World Class goal scoring striker with pace, Giroud and Yaya and we are set.

  38. I have been a huge fan of what Cazorla brings to the team all season and have been a Santi apologist but I think its time for him to sit out a couple of games because other then that short run around the Fulham game he has not been effective this season. I hope that we start Podolski, Giroud and Ox (if healthy) in the next game.

  39. C:

    World class striker/Giroud/Sonogo and a DM with more height, strength and athleticism for next season. The idea of the Drax is interesting since I think it would be ideal to have Theo, Ox and the Drax sharing the 2 wide forward positions, but the Drax would be a much lower priority then the striker and DM and if the price for Drax is prohibitive and prevents us from getting either of the higher priority targets then we should forget about him.

  40. @Bill

    I tend to agree with that but we should also see what happens with the Sagna contract situation and if he leaves then RB is just a big of priority as World Class goal scoring striker. A CM/DM to replace Flamini and Arteta for me is something that should have been addressed in the winter but no doubt in the summer with Gonalons and Schneiderlin probably available for 12-16M. To be fair though if Madrid get Pogba like they are trying then Khederia would be perfect. He is actually #2 on my list behind only Gonalons.

  41. C:

    I agree that the DM should have been addressed last summer. You are the expert in world football scouting so whomever you like is fine with me.

    We certainly need to replace anyone who leaves such as Sagna or TV5. I hope we keep Rosicky and Sagna. I don’t feel strongly but honestly would not mind if we replaced TV5. Realistically we should also add an experienced player as the 4th CB. We have been remarkably lucky to avoid any injuries to our starting CB this season and I doubt that will happen again.

  42. @Bill

    Trust mate I wish I was an expert or atleast Arsene asked for my opinion as I figure I follow and watch enough futbol to help him out sometimes. Gonalons is a player that is a younger more athletic, physical and taller version of Arteta. He is also a lad that has been groomed since his youth days at Lyon to be club captain and has now taken the reigns starting last season at just 24 years old. His contract is set to expire in 2016 so getting him in the summer given Lyon’s current financial problems could see us get him for no more than 18-20M but would anchor our midfield for the next 5-6 years minimum. Khederia just makes sense because he is considered Ozil’s “Bodyguard” at Madrid and is a very very talented futboler that would make you smile no doubt with the fact that he has been known to be critical of both the German national team(both team and manager) and Los Blancos(both team and manager) for disregarding defending and going all out attack.

    I agree with the whole of your 2nd paragraph though. I would imagine that Rosicky will get an extension and that they are tirelessly working on something for Sagna but you just never know until it is announced. I do think that Verm is off and that we should probably go after a 3rd CB that mixes youth and experience.

  43. @Bill

    I agree, losing Ox would be a blow at present. I would hope that if Ox is out that Arsene switches Santi to the right and put Podolski on the left flank.

  44. @Jonny

    After I posted that I went for some digging.

    Apparently it is a left hamstring injury. Not sure how long he is out yet.

  45. Must say though Yayas two starts have been against to very good teams. Wonder if he will look even better against the more “mid table” teams in the league.
    But the mere fact he came out looking decent in two high profile matches such as FA cup Liverpool and UCL BM just shows how good he already is. And if what we have seen today is his ” Ive been injured for ages and not played a match since august” form then i wonder how his “I’ve played steady for 10 weeks and are about to hit my peak” form is.
    It must be better, sharper and more influencial no?

  46. LOL, now the fans are going to clamour for Arsene to spend as little as possible on strikers (Sanogo) because spending a shit load of money (Ozil) means miss penalties.:D

    I don’t think we can berate Ozil for taking a poor penalty (granted it was rubbish) since it was through his industry in the first place that he earned it. Media is too quick to paint a poor picture of the German. he isn’t playing up to the standards he can but he has still been an effective player for us this season. That said, I am worried for his confidence.

    Shame about the sending off cos we were in the game till then. If the ref sent Szsc off he should have sent Boateng off earlier. As is the second goal was the killer coming in the 86th minute when we could have held on for a one goal deficit.

    So focus is back to the PL as rightfully put by Metersecker, where we have a bit of catching up to do in points and GD.

    Absolutely agree Podolski and Gnabry may come in against Sunderland. Rosicky is also a good option to have in lieu of Ozil. Arteta and Jack holding the middle.

    Not sure why Wenger decided to omit Giroud but he should be back in it on the weekend, granted Sanogo has been very decent chucked into the deep end. Bendtner of course looks like he is off in the summer with Sanogo set to replicate the cover he gives to OG.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I think we have sufficient resource to mount a challenge domestically with both PL and FA. I don’t think we have it to progress in the CL. We are a tad short of a creative striker up front who can operate in relative independence with pace (Pato would have been my choice on loan granted his penalty taking in recent time sucks)

    On the balance, we should consider us out of Europe and focus our main efforts on domestic honours. When the second leg comes, there will be less pressure and we have all to play for.

    Maybe a bit more speed on the flanks may just terrify the Germans. Gnabry and Ox with Sanogo up top could be the wild card ticket to breaking up Bayern at the back.

  47. Guys,

    We have spent quite a lot of time today discussing Chesney’s foul and the ramifications emanating from that.

    What we have not done is discuss the part that Mandzukic played in the lead up to that incident and the different slant it puts on that red card incident. Get to see a recording, if you can and you will see what I am talking about.

    Just before the chip into the penalty area and Robben’s flying run in to attempt to score, Mandzukic had wandered 2 or 3 metres offside, and when the chip was made, he began to walk back out, and accidentally on purpose he ‘walked’ into Kozzer and prevented him doing anything.

    If the ref or the linesman had seen that check on our CF he would have had to blow for a foul, and Chesney would not have goat red card, blah de blah …….

    Bit sickening that sort of gamesmanship (aka cheating) had such an effect and the useless ‘assistant ref’ on the line did not see it. What are they for?

    Still, that was yesterday and we have to suck it up and move on. I wonder if the Wenger haters make allowances for cheating opponents screwing with our team.

  48. C

    Hamstring usually 3 weeks at minimum unless it’s very minor. That ain’t good

    If Ox is out, there is absolutely no possible way the Arsene can leave Podolski on the bench, I hope!!!

    I say that and then watch him start Gnabry or move Rosicky wide right. Sometimes I wonder what in the world Arsene can be thinking.

  49. @HenryB

    What he did is done in every game every week and by none moreso than John Terry. He intentionally blocked a player, it happens all the time.

  50. Lots of requirements this summer :

    1) Sagna – Likely we should be looking at an interim cover whilst Jenkinson (Unconvincing in his limited technical ability) and Bellerin vie for succession. Seamus Coleman or Debucchy are good choices IMO.

    2) Vermaelen – We will assess Hayden and Miquel (still likely 4th choice cover and maybe needing one more season on loan). We could do with someone that can provide some of the pace of Koscielny and the height of Metersecker. The issue with Vermaelen is he hasn’t been good enough to convince Wenger that he can rotate with Metersceilny and we absolutely need someone to do that.

    3)Striker – If Bendtner leaves (Presumably he will), Sanogo will deputise for Giroud in terms of physical centre forward. Still think we will benefit tremendously with a bit of magic up top, someone with sufficient pace and nous around the box (no surprises we weres niffing around at Suarez and Higuain type players last summer). Possibility that Benzema may come available and he is close to coming into his peak years.

    4) Keeper – Need a good back up to Szsc as per usual

    These four are absolute must.

    Thereafter (and unlikely) :

    5) DM – Arteta is good for one more season as Flamini adds cover for experience in this position. If we do take someone here, could be someone relatively unknown (and priced low). I would like to see a bit of Diaby’s ability replicated as he is likely to be let go and we miss that sort of power and drive (when rarely available) Kayoute at Anderlecht is a possibility. Wenger will also likely assess Zelalem and Toral’s progress.

    6) Creative Mid – Least important. A bit of pace could still be benefitial but the main thing IMO is replacing Rosicky who isn’t getting younger. Personally I’d much rather let Rosicky go at this point and funnel the money toward extending Sagna for the extra season he is fishing for. I don’t think we should go for Draxler (Just add up the requirements above and ask yourself where we will find that sort of money to pay for Draxler as well). Rather someone like Konoplyanka (15-16m) who can play across midfield, has plenty of International experience, plays with pace and has quick ambidexterous feet, could be good enough. He is only 24 and would be wasted at Liverpool.

  51. Henry B.

    It’s probably not realistic to hope that any ref can see everything like that when it happens away from the ball. It is also not realistic to hope that players are not going to try to take every possible advantage that they can get even if it is against the rules especially when they are likely to be able to get away with it. I would expect Arsene or any manager would be happy to have his players doing the same thing that you describe Manzukic doing on that play if it helped them score a goal.

    The linesman has the almost impossible job of watching for the close offsides calls with the players who are directly involved in the play. Even when they are fully focused on that job, they get a lot of close offsides calls wrong. If they are asked to watch for a bunch of other things then the mistakes on close offsides call will increase exponentially I suspect.

  52. Henry B.

    The solution to the problem would be to have every goal undergo video review. There is a natural stop in play after a goal anyway so it would not change the pace of the game. I think a lot of us have been in favor of some sort of video review system for a long time.

  53. Bill, Miami,

    The referee’s assistant I was referring to is the one who stands on the bye line and not the one on he sidelines.

    If you recall, Kozzer was in a line of defenders whom Robben ran past and should have been in the assistants eyeline. As I said, those guys are useless and I do not remember any of them ever making a call in any CL game I have seen.

    Oh well.

  54. Henry and Cbob.

    Forgot about the extra bye line official.

    What can you do other then shrug your shoulders?

    Video review of every goal should be mandatory IMO.

  55. I get that the press like to tear any pricey player down but I really don’t get the fuss over Ozil from Arsenal fans- why would anyone assume he would automatically play to the best of his ability and require no adjustment to the EPL? His penalty was poor but he also won that penalty with a sublime bit of trickery.

    He has in no way been a flop – merely a victim of unrealistic expectations.

    I am not remotely worried about his head – he has already had to cope with the pressure of playing for RM at a very young age.

    In fact – I am not worried about him at all.

  56. Me neither.

    Ozil is class and also a human being – so occasional dips in form, or simply his feelings of well being can go up and down like any of us.

    He will come good – end of.

  57. Spuds lose to some team in Europa, its funny how the press are killing Ozil and Arsenal for losing to the best team in Europe but what about the 100M the Spuds spent and how that’s worked out for them.

  58. we can bounce back from this
    it wasnt like we got dicked on like previous years..

    lots of positives to take especially from the first 20 or so minutes but if i were to change anything about the second half i would have played ozil behing sanago and asked flamini to play in front of monreal

    nothing we can do about it now just make sure we dont let it affect us and we take it out on sunderland etc…

  59. ozil was sublime before he missed the pen..
    then he had to run backwards and defend for an hour in front of a left back who was constantly out of position..
    forms temporary class is permanent hes not been playing well recently but theres allsorts of reasons..
    i trust he will find form..

  60. I’m watching Porto v.s Frankfurt in the Europa League and the more I watch Martinez the more I want him in an Arsenal shirt next season. While we are there and if we can get Fernando on a free in the summer when his contract end to anchor our midfield I think it would be a great get as well should we not be able to get Gonalons, Khederia or one of the Bender twins.

  61. I thought the noise in the ground was fantastic, even after the penalty miss, the red card and their first goal. Glad it was also coming through on the goggle box.

    There was mention of sensible referees and the common sense decisions they should take when giving a second yellow card. For me a cynical foul, ie. a shirt pull, a block to stop play when a team is breaking or a foul regarded as taking one for the team should always be a yellow card. If that would mean a second yellow and therefore a red then so be it. I think Gerrard’s foul on Ox was an example of that, he knew he wasn’t likely to get the ball and that Ox could very well set up another goal chance like the one Poldi scored if allowed to cross the ball. So he made the decision that it was going to be ball or player and didn’t care which. That’s a cynical foul for me and worthy of a yellow card. Webb was a coward not to give one.

  62. As we wring our hands almost interminably about last night’s defeat, there are 2 statistics which I regard as nothing less than remarkable.

    The first is that with all their possession, BM just managed one more shot on target,5, than we did, 4.

    With all their possession all they were doing was passing it from side to side, and, in the main, going no where.

    The other is the fact that they committed 16 fouls, twice ours and yet we had so little possession.

    It seemed to me that, whenever we did get possession in the last hour, our players were harried or shoved off the ball.

    I also think is significant that Pep is quoted as saying that we were the better side in the first 20 minutes.

    IT was simply another part of the roller coaster life that we gooners have to put up with.

  63. Jjgsol

    The fact that they had so little penetration despite all the possession again points out how much better our defense is now then in the past. Most arsenal teams of the past would never have been able to hold against that sort of pressure. We effectively parked the bus when the situation demanded and being able to do that when needed is a very good thing.

  64. JJGSOL – “With all their possession all they were doing was passing it from side to side, and, in the main, going no where.

    The other is the fact that they committed 16 fouls, twice ours and yet we had so little possession.

    Does your first point sound familiar 😉

    The second one is simply good play by them. The only chance we had of scoring once we went down to ten men was to get them on the counter and they simply ensured this didn’t happen by breaking play if/when we won the ball. It is the exact opposite of when we used to pass teams into the ground, yet still manage to lose the game. Munich are not that naive.

  65. Andy

    Good point. Taking Boateng out at half time because he had the yellow card allowed them to rotate fouls without worry of him getting sent off.

  66. Plus, they knew we were not going threaten much up front so they could afford to play a midfielder at the back who could easily step into midfield to better exert their dominance. It also allowed them to pile even more pressure down our left hand side. Was a clever sub in many ways. Lahm is such a good player he could play anywhere on the pitch.

  67. Why would you be talking about transfers in february, arent there more interesting things to discuss?

    Anyway. Yaya Sanogo over Giroud makes sense if you look at mobility, quickness and how much he gets involved. My feeling is that its more frequent than Giroud and also a bit more calm, not using one-touches far too often. It’s similar to Bayern playing Mandzukic over Gomez if they value good pressure without the ball for example

  68. YW
    “The sacrificial lamb was a surprising choice; Santi Cazorla making way to accommodate Fabianski’s arrival. Özil’s mind whilst not in pieces, was not on the game and to me, there was more sense in removing him. Perhaps Wenger sensed that would do more damage than good to the player? Maybe he genuinely thought the German would respond and be more penetrative on the rare counter Arsenal were to enjoy with numerical disadvantage?”

    I hope the effect of this, is not the same as it was with Robert Pires being sacrificed after 18 minutes in that game.

    Although, the weight of the two games is completely different.

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