Arsenal show how far below the European elite they have fallen.
The press would have you think the last embers of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal have been blown out following last night. But as an Arsenal fan I’m not too upset, Munich are up with Barcelona as the best teams in the competition and as does happen in football the better team won.
Bayern were in fact supreme last night, they played with a swagger I haven’t seen since Arsenal’s Invincibles team, not imagining for a second they would lose the game. From front to back they played better, ran faster and won pretty much every 50/50 or second ball going.
In Philipp Lahm they have a captain and full back who is as impressive as any player, MessiRonaldo included, that I have ever seen play against Arsenal. He was perfect in the tackle every time, and with two touches would turn his tackle into a scoring opportunity.
On one occasion he collected the ball at the corner of his box, ran down the whole pitch and delivered the perfect cross for Mandzukic who really should have made it 3-0. This move took 5/6 seconds from tackle to header. Arsenal’s Invincibles used to do that.
One great goal and two bundled finishes will surely be enough to finish Arsenal’s season without even thinking about the second leg. From an Arsenal point of view as per usual the team started slowly and nervously, and once again conceded after 5 minutes, not helpful for a quick start. And once again Arsene spoke about ‘nerves’ post match, which is something I will never understand in a team of professional footballers.
The source of these ‘nerves’ is a complex mix of the players, management and previous results creating a self-perpetuating pressure. As I’ve written about before the Emirates crowd has a part to play in this but the WengerDome was built for success, in these lean times it is a pretty unforgiving place to play.
The atmosphere for the first 7 minutes of last nights Munich game was outstanding, as it has been for other big champions league games in the past. But the first goal killed it dead. Apart from some “we love you arsenal” to drown out the boos at half time the crowd deserted the Arsenal until well into the second half.
I understand how disheartening it was to watch Bayern Munich play as they did, but this is precisely the situation where a loud, intimidating atmosphere is actually useful. Instead an apathetic nervousness has occupied the club seemingly from top to bottom. Something needs to be done to fix the club, but nobody knows what.
New players? New manager? New David Dein? New coaches? New owners? New board? Who knows?
I certainly don’t, and there are huge dangers within each option. A new manager could easily mean a further slide in results, followed by a Chelsea/Liverpool style revolving door of management.
New owners or a new board could mean great short-term investment followed by a Malaga/Rangers/Portsmouth situation. This is my nightmare so no thank you Mr Usmanov.
A set of lovely new players seems a logical answer, but to buy world class £30 million players required Arsene to change policy drastically.
So there is the answer. A new Arsene Wenger. Anyone got one of those?
Pre match pint: 3/10 Cola
Pre match food: 5/10 Chicken burger
Match: 7/10. Bayerncelona
Atmosphere: 4/10. Sing up
Away Fans: 9/10. Flares. Learnt English chants to mock us. Flares are great.
MOTM: Lahm. THE perfect full back performance.
Until next time.