Bayern Preview: The Match Nobody Wants & Arsène Shows His Authoritah!

Pride and dignity; we’re told that both are all that is to play for in a pointless European tie. I’d say both were stripped away in Munich and only in the event of another ‘heroic failure’ will they come close to being restored.

Straight into the team news. Petr Cech is reportedly unhappy at making way for David Ospina in the Champions League. The Mirror reports other players are unhappy that Ospina retains his place after conceding five in Munich. Of course they are; it means that attention can’t be deflected onto the goalkeeper whose saves kept us from our heaviest European defeat. Mesut Özil isn’t fit and scarily, Arsène the squad will be similar to the one which travelled to Anfield.

The chances of victory tonight are reasonable; Bayern want to win, and will do their utmost to. Arsenal ought to be completely motivated and that is reflected in the odds on sites offering the latest football betting tips; Arsenal winning isn’t long odds but 4 – 0? It’s upping the bookies profits, nothing more.

Before tonight’s match, there is a march from Highbury to the Emirates and Gunners Town has a good piece on the situation surrounding it. Change won’t come instantly but as the organisers rightly point out, no harm comes from letting the board know about the depth of supporter dissent. There’s nothing new about Arsenal supporters protesting about a manager, but it is new for several generations. Even Bob was a young man when the protests against Terry Neill took place, which shows how long ago it was.

You WIll Respect My Authoritah!

Per Mertesacker didn’t get the memo about discipline, giggling when the question about the player’s backing Wenger inevitably came. Arsène interrupted, sternly answering the inquisitor. A mistake; in my view. The BFG is experienced at toeing the party line and ended the discussion in a more PR friendly way. Arsenal don’t have a siege mentality; the manager does. How long before a hack is told, “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries”? Look out for low-flying cows at Colney.

Arsène continued to lay down the law, this time over Alexis’ future. The Chilean, Wenger stated, would stay at Arsenal until the club decided his future. After everyone stopped guffawing, they looked at Le Boss to see he was completely serious. No-one was quite sure who coughed, “Nasri” or “Fabregas”, but there was a strong suspicion that the watching Arsenal fans sneezed, “Van Persie”.

The reality is that Alexis goes this summer or walks the following year on a free, if he wants to. As if Arsenal’s business model allows for the latter option. It’s an expensive lesson for the manager and board to learn. The cost of replacing him is going to far exceed the fee received and wages will most likely be higher. There aren’t any of the dreaded internal solutions and new contract or not, Arsène won’t survive not replacing him with a star name. And if we do sign a ‘star’, the angle will always be what might we be like with Alexis and ‘star’? It’s that kind of no-win situation for the manager.

It’s sad to see Arsène so beleaguered but at times, such as this line of answers, that he is his own worst enemy. The woe of the situation is that there’s no-one to save him from himself.


The Match Nobody Wants


Which is why the evening is taking place, after all. Arsène’s tribulations overshadow the match, overshadow everything at the moment. But the players have to perform tonight. So many questions hang over the squad about composition, mental strength and ability that this isn’t a quick fix; its major surgery to get it repositioned as title challengers. Futile arguments are put forward about entitlement, etc., but that has nothing to do with anything. Arsenal don’t have the right to win the title, no club does. Arsenal don’t have the right to win the Champions League or even be in the quarter-finals; very few clubs do.

But they must do better at the challenging and that’s the point so often overlooked. Saturday once again saw claims that the team wasn’t properly prepared, this time from a player. Arsène says it often enough, now Hector Bellerin agreed. Are they going to be at the races tonight?

I don’t know is the genuine answer but I don’t have high expectations of the evening and in that sense it would be nice to be pleasantly surprised. This is a match with nothing riding on it except pride and that has been in short supply in the performances recently.

With Özil out, Alex Iwobi most likely plays Number 10. It’s close to the point where he needs to be taken out of the firing line. Someone is always the scapegoat and Iwobi is drawing some of that fire although Francis Coquelin is number one target. I’d like to see Lucas Perez this evening, playing rather than sitting on the bench looking glum. With the options that we have, a forward line of Welbeck, Alexis and Lucas, has mobility and goals. We didn’t have that on Saturday in the first half.

Batten Down The Hatches

My one worry tonight is that we concede first. Then, with the fragile state of the squad, I fear the floodgates might open. Humiliation is not something which serves the club well at any time. Right now, it’s the worst thing which could happen. Lincoln on Saturday, in those circumstances, becomes a far more difficult match than it should be.

Finally, a reminder that Dad’s Jukebox is at 1994 in Times of our Lives. 1995 arrives on Thursday and is every bit as stonking.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

241 thoughts on “Bayern Preview: The Match Nobody Wants & Arsène Shows His Authoritah!

  1. As much as I am tired of some excusing the manager for the slimmest of excuses, the fans are starting to irritate with their seeming bottomless acceptance of failure. There is always an excuse, it is never Arsene’s fault.

    Sick and tired of this.

  2. Wavey:
    Biggest defeat at Emirates, biggest aggregate defeat in CL and first team to go out in first knock phase for seven consecutive seasons.

    Still making history then. ?

    Great way to recruit present and future generations.

  3. We have had a bad 1/2 season in every year of the entire Emirates era. However, the form we have shown in calendar 2017 is arguably the worst 2+ months of football we have played since the 2005.

  4. Bill,

    If they are ever crass enough to build a statue to Wenger outside the stadium, I will journey all the way to the Emirates for the sole purpose of pissing all over it.

  5. Wavey

    You are correct. There is absolutely no question that Arsene should not be manager for the next 2-3 years. The only question is will he or won’t he.

    I was way off base about what would happen today but I am still betting that he will sign the new contract.

  6. I do get that we often have to resort to desperate defending but I do get pissed off that we end up playing with 10 men in so many big games. Bad luck or what? (And it used to happen even when we had a good side).

  7. Bill,

    He will. That is depressing enough but it’s the knowledge that there is a contract on offer, that it gives him even more ludicrous amounts of money than he earns already, is enough to make a man weep.

  8. Again I did not watch it.

    Someone give me a shout when we accept that root and branch surgery is not just needed but has been done.

    Till then – fuck this for a game of soldiers.

  9. Lincoln become a sticky tie, not only because they’re better than they’re league position says, but because there will be nerves. We wait and see which Arsenal turn up.

    My knowledge of non league is sparse, but I do know that the Lincoln manager and his brother have a reputation for knowing their opponents and having a game plan suited to the situation to win. They’re so better than the league they’re in and will give us a nervy game. They’ll compete, with all the pressure on us

    We then go away to a Pulis West Brom, albeit 10 pint and a geame extra played behind us, but not a game youd say is a banker.

    Then City the weekend after in the last game of the weekend, at the Emirates. Will that have added pressure because of other results on it?

    The following 4 games is just about the only run where I can see it being positive enough for the contract signing to possibly wash. There could be some sticky rearranged fixtures inserted into that run, before we meet Spurs in the last game of the weekend in the last game of April.

    I just can’t see where it’s obvious that he’s going to sign the deal. Obviously, the “easy” run, if it goes well and a good showing against Spurs could be enough for it. If it goes badly and then Spurs maul us, I can’t see him here next year. He’s on a very short lease at the moment and I think he knows that.

    I think there was enough tonight to say that he could get a rally and pull something out of a hat again. Equally not. I’m actually interested again! 🙂

  10. Very disappointing to put it mildly. I’d have more time for the man if he stood up for once and took responsibility. People used to laugh at his “I didn’t see it” routine back when we were winning titles but with hindsight you can see that there was already a problem with facing up to errors and you can’t put things right until you accept that there’s a problem.

    I just wish that he’d do the right thing for the club but also for himself, it’s no fun slating him after failure after failure.

  11. Orson

    Arsene has done a lot of good things for the club and deserves credit for what he did before 2010. He should have moved on after the general team wide meltdown that followed the Carling cup loss to Birmingham in 2011. The fact that he has stayed this long certainly tarnishes a great legacy to some extent. He needs to admit to himself that its time to leave now. The only reasons for him to stay at this point are money and power. If he does sign another contract just because he can, then his legacy deserves to be degraded.

  12. Damon,

    I know a bit about Danny Cowley and his brother. Being raised in Braintree I keep an eye on them and the Cowley’s were at the club until the summer and took a part time club with minuscule resources to the play-offs in a tough league. Then they upped sticks and took our three best players with them to Lincoln (didn’t go down well). In short they are organised, more professional than you would expect at that level, and above all are specialists at getting some decent but unremarkable players to perform far above what you might expect.

    We should spank them, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see us struggle to break them down initially and if we score a few it’ll probably be putting the gloss on the scoreline in the last quarter of the game.

  13. I am afraid I will be giving thus blog a miss fir a while.

    The crass negativity that pervases the posts is simply too much to take.

    You are all so blind with your hatred for the manager that you cannot see the wood fir the trees.

    Thank you Mr warrior for your daily doses of intelligent comment but i fear that you have been infected with the same negativity disease that has struck so many if your followers.

    Thank you all for your entertainment over the years and goodbye

  14. fuck off jigsaw then. you take your anger out on your fellow fans. wet fish fukin wenger rite. I’m with bob, fans like you have become a fukin irritant.

  15. Jjgsol,

    Interesting that you make the point that we are all so blind. So you think you are the lone voice who can see everything clearly? Equally, maybe you have been blinded by your desire to give a once great manager every chance to get back to the top when it’s clear he is past his prime.

  16. An indication as to how far we’ve fallen is that Spurs will almost certainly be extremely disappointed if we finish ahead of them despite the huge disparity in finances. Not so long ago they took it as granted.

  17. I think Benitez or Manchini at this stage.

    In a few years then Ancelloti, Simeone, or Howe might be available.

  18. Here’s the problem with the argument that the Kroenke’s aren’t being cheap. Yes they have spent up to the cap, mostly because of bad signings by Sakic. But the team has not invested in the infrastructure and resources needed to succeed. In a salary cap league the only advantage money can buy on is scouting, player development and front office/ coaching management. The Avs were late to the analytics party, do not have a robust scouting and player development program and front office/ coaching. The Kroenke’s hired big name guys like Sakic and Roy thinking that their reputations as players would distract us from the fact that neither was qualified for the job when they were hired.

    The Avs are being run like the Rockies have been for years. Spend just enough to make it look like you are trying but keep the behind the scenes costs down so the team can turn a profit. If the Kroenke’s care about winning and not just about the illusion of trying to win they will clean house this off-season. The Avs are having a historically bad season, and they have way too much young talent to justify the number of losses. Sakic has screwed up basically every free agent signing and the team has not drafted an impactful player outside a top top pick in years. The players they do draft don’t seem to develope. Those are all organizational issues. It’s time to start over and hire some people that know how to put together a team.

  19. ‘Billionaire Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke tells hundreds of fixed income residents in Texas to get off his newly-bought land

    LA Rams owner Kroenke bought the land in February
    Hundreds of residents received non-renewal notices for their leases this month
    The legendary ranch property had belonged to the Waggoner family for 164 years before Kroenke bought it
    The billionaire wants to return the land to its natural state for the ‘microecosystem’

    Hundreds of Texas residents, many elderly and on fixed incomes, will have to move from the land they’ve been leasing for decades thanks to a billionaire who bought the land and is forcing everyone off of it.’

  20. Dukey

    Did you tell Jigsol they have a spare seat on the fun bus right at the front next to JJ!!

  21. In rugby the ref is NEVER blamed for any defeat. England famously lost a world cup final due to a ref error. but did the players blame the ref? no , they said they had 80mins to win the game and they failed to do so and couldn’t blame it on one incident.

    no doubt the divas will be hiding behind the ref incident but its a pathetic diversion to excepting the truth. I’m hearing we played well at the start. so what , Bayern were always going to start in 2nd gear. we were always going to be allowed to do a bit of micheal flateley tip tapping until they decided to play later on.

  22. Utterly embarrassing – Sanchez openly smirking and laughing after he was substituted and Cech trying not to laugh either.
    The club is in a sorry state

  23. The club will put their fingers in their ears until the end of the season, it’s what they always do.

  24. Losers make excuses, winners take the plaudits.

    No change, nor will there be while Stan has Wengers back.

    20 odd % pay rise, the journalists and pundits can write and say what they want…the fans can fuck off…”I built this club”

    Can’t comment on the game as I refused to watch it…its all a fucking shambles, and in my opinion will get a lot worse, before there is any chance of improvement, and even then there is no guarantee of that….An owner thats not interested in winning, the mind boggles, not as if he can take it all with him when he dies, and sure as hell can’t spend it all while he is alive.
    Sad times indeed.

  25. Pires on the bust up in training and why Sanchez stormed out of training:

    ‘I was there. There was a bad tackle on Alexis Sanchez, a clash, he left the pitch.

    ‘Fans have to understand. There was a disciplinary sanction. Nothing serious happened. I was there yesterday too, [there was] no problem.’

  26. C,

    As much as I love Bobby Pires-he should shut his mouth about certain things-he won’t get thanked for those remarks.

  27. Judging by the way Sanchez played last night and his giggle fit on the bench (if you cant cry, laugh) i’d say there was in fact a bit of a problem Bobby. Just shows what an awful decision it was to drop him vs Liverpool and create conflict immediately before a game like this, top management. 10-2. Holy moly. Wonder if Theo will play like that for every game until the end of the season or was that his big show last night ?
    Now we are out of the CL, have zero chance in the league seems like a perfect time to clear up Wenger’s future, either way. But i imagine it will all be done under lock and key, could even be after the season ends to avoid any kind of adverse fan reaction, that would be right out of the Arsenal honesty book. Great news, Wengers signed a new contract, he had an offer from Barcelona, but he stays for the Europa League where we look forward to losing 6-1 to Krasnador.
    10-2….I wouldn’t accept that if we had been down to nine men in both games, zero excuses, yes the ref was poor but no reason to have such a lack of professional pride and tactical organisation. What a pile of dung. We did our usual thing of putting up a brave fight after the fact, easy when there is no realistic expectation of progression….and any pressure that was there showed, as we missed plenty of chances to actually really have Bayern on the back foot. So ref really isnt to blame, our finishing and lack of control in the big moments once again lets us down.

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