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Arsenal Versus Bayern: Solid Gold Easy Action

Chris and Julia-1-3

I have a confession to make. It’s an embarrassing one and I hesitate before the court of public opinion. Perhaps I should delay the awkward moment when I must unbosom myself of my misdeed. Instead allow me to furnish you with a little background to the story. Yes I think that might be helpful.

For the first two matches of this European campaign I have taken out my diary and struck a thick red line through the to do list, banished my family, told the dogs to expect an early walk and settled in to watch the match with no more than the merest whiff of guilt at my selfishness and lackadaisical approach to my responsibilities. Now I know what you’re thinking. Stew, given the way results have gone in the opening games, whatever it is you have planned for tonight just go ahead and do it, foolish little superstitious muggins’s that you are.

Now, generally, it must be said that my to do list makes for pretty sparse reading and most days of the week my absence from the outside world goes unremarked. This time however as with the last game I actually have something to cancel. You see, every Tuesday evening I like to sit in a small room and talk to myself, occasionally playing a little music by way of a diversion, a sort of entertaining punctuation to my meaningless verbal meanderings.

Sounds fun doesn’t it? It is actually the realisation of a boyhood dream. From an early age I used to lie beneath my bed covers tuning, as Elvis Costello would say, the late night dial, listening to the hit parade through the static and whirring of the medium wave band. Once I’d been given my own record player and started spending my pocket money in Dave Parson’s Record Shop I would alternate between strumming along on the strings of a tennis racket in front of the mirror and introducing the singles to no one in particular. I wanted to be first and foremost a rock musician and secondly a radio DJ.

The wheel turned, the days flew from the calendar, the months grew into years and now, at last, on one evening every week I get to live the dream. Or at least one of the dreams. And you know what? I’ve discovered that actually presenting a radio show and just pretending so to do in the privacy of one’s bedroom is precisely the same thing. You sit in a room, on your own and say ‘this is Sweet and their latest hit single Blockbuster’, you turn up the volume, keep time with a pencil tapped lightly on your teeth until the record stops and then you repeat the process with Gary Glitter’s Do You Wanna Touch Me. Simple.

So I have a straightforward choice: do I cancel my radio show letting down an adoring public, possibly shattering the dreams of a small transistor wielding boy, gripping his equipment furtively beneath a malodorous duvet, thereby potentially robbing the nation of a future star of the wireless, or do I soldier on in the certain knowledge that no bugger will be listening anyway as there is a football match on the telly?

I fear this narrative train has now arrived at my Waterloo. It’s confession time folks. Here goes: I very nearly decided to miss the match and go to the radio station as normal, on the grounds of nothing more than a superstition that maybe if I did the fates would conspire against me and I would miss a famous victory. Me. Mr rational. Mr que sera, take it as it comes, what will be will be, there is no fate, no higher power and nothing I think or do will make a jot of difference to the success or failure of my team. That man attempted to appease the fates and alter the future. I must be losing my grip. After all if there were any potency in the kind of superstitious rituals indulged in by fans and players of both sides then both sides would win. Every time. Which is of course impossible.

Yet I allowed myself, for what I would like to describe as a fleeting moment but what was actually an embarrassingly long one, to toy with the idea that I might influence a football match taking place in London by not watching it in Midsomer Norton. Honestly, what is this madness? I wonder sometimes if I haven’t let this whole Arsenal thing go a little too far.

So, let me allow reason to return to its throne. Acting with logical common sense I should cancel my show and watch the match, right? Because it’s important that I watch it isn’t it? More important than fulfilling my childhood dreams. More important than honouring my responsibilities to the station and its listeners. After all imagine what might happen if I don’t watch! Oh bloody hell. I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t. It’s not as if it’s a cup final or anything is it? Nothing will be decided tonight whatever the result. If the very worst was to happen we’d still have a shot of getting into the Europa League with the chance of beating Spurs in the final, and wouldn’t that be fun?

In any event I decided long ago that I’d had enough of superstitious rituals. It was the day Arsène finally lost a match against our North London rivals, the same day I had dropped and smashed my ‘lucky’ Arsenal mug just before kick off. So now, in order to best influence the outcome of any given match I stick religiously to my principle of not indulging in any superstitions at all. It usually works, but sometimes doesn’t.

Whether I watch it or not tonight’s match is an intriguing encounter. There would have been enormous pressure and scrutiny on Arsenal regardless of the preceding results but having been on the receiving end of two shock score lines already the players know they are treading a treacherous path. Walking blindfold over one of those rope bridges strung high above a rock strewn canyon with several of the wooden slats removed springs readily to mind. One false step will be one too many. Can they get across to the other side? A win tonight would certainly get them a bit farther over. It would provide a much needed fillip for their confidence. Let’s face it we know they have the ability, it is self belief that must have taken a hammering after the earlier upsets. We should perhaps consider the words of the poet Tennyson who tells us

“men may rise on stepping-stones

Of their dead selves to higher things”

and I don’t think I could have phrased it any better myself. Quite a lad with the old quill and parchment, that Tennyson.

Looking at it positively if we triumph over Bayern and assume both Olympiacos  and the junkies of Zagreb fail to do so then we will have regained a little of the lost ground. We know we can beat them, we’ve done it before. We then need to exact our revenge on the other two and see what they can do against each other – let’s face it they can’t both win those games can they? The group could yet be tighter than many people think but it all starts tonight. I don’t want to consider defeat. It just doesn’t feel right to be contemplating disaster so early in the season. Especially not a season in which we have looked so good, the squad so strong. Of course if the worst should happen it will make no difference whatsoever to how I feel about the manager or the players, it will have been just a big dip in the ride and I know there will be plenty of dizzy highs still to come.

As ever all we can do is strap ourselves in and pray the engineers have tightened all the right bolts. This could yet prove to be one of the most exciting parts of the ride any of us have ever experienced. Will I be there to watch it? Or will I be sat on my own in a small room dropping the needle onto a spinning 45 and saying to, almost certainly myself, ‘that was 48 Crash by Suzi Quatro, now hold on tight to your belt buckles, here comes Mud with their big hit single, yes, it’s Tiger Feet’

About steww

Arsenal, books, photography, bass guitar, dog walking, mountain biking, being on the radio, writing, talking too much, failing, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

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116 comments on “Arsenal Versus Bayern: Solid Gold Easy Action

  1. Santi sent Neuer on a fishing expedition.

    What a game by Cazorla, he’s a fucking gem.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. WENGER ON THE WIN, BELLERIN AND CECH

    Arsène Wenger spoke to the media following Arsenal’s 2-0 win against Bayern Munich. This is what he said:

    on where that ranked in favourite results…
    I don’t know. We had an absolute necessity to win the game and we did it in an intense and disciplined way. It was a top level game between two top-level teams. Bayern had more possession than us but we decided to make it tight in our final third and catch them on the break. The last part of the game where we went longer and used long balls we could play more in their half and they struggled. I think they dropped a bit physically as well but overall I think we have beaten a very strong team and kept a good level focus from the first to the last minute and kept a clean sheet as well.

    on if letting Bayern have possession was the plan…
    It is was not deliberate from the start but I thought when we played very high up we stopped them from playing. When we were playing halfway they opened us up too much so I decided to drop Ozil a bit deeper and to make it tight around the box and catch them on the break because we have the pace to do it and to find some space with the game going on.

    on if he sensed something special would happen…
    You never know if you will win the game but you know that team focus and dynamic was there. We had that for a while now and I said yesterday in the press conference that I think we were not at our level of focus in the first two games as we always focus on the Premier League. Tonight we knew we needed that as well that we had to show what we do in the Premier League against Bayern.

    on Petr Cech…
    He was important. I think he kept us in the game and you can say the same for Neuer. We had two top, top, top world-class keepers on the pitch today and that of course was vital on both sides.

    on winning using a different style…
    It can strengthen our belief and strengthen the belief of people of around us, that means out fans, our supporters. We won 3-0 against Manchester United, 3-0 against Watford and 2-0 tonight so it is important we have a good balance between defending well and attacking well. As long as we defend well and score goals then the balance is right.

    on if Giroud is an extra weapon…
    I would give him some credit because it is not easy, he has always played and he had a bit of a dip in form. I have seen that in the last two weeks that he is coming back to his best but the focus he brings and the spirit he shows is he is a winner. He gives us a different option when it does not work on the ground he gives us options in the air and both Walcott and Giroud I like. I just have to use both of them in the right way.

    on if he regrets not playing Cech in the first match…
    I expected this question in the press conference. I have already spoken about that.

    on Aaron Ramsey…
    He is alright but very down because he told me that his hamstring is quite a tough one. He is out.

    on Alexis…
    Alexis, you could see he was a bit jaded physically tonight and he still pushes himself so much but he finished exhausted. The two games with Chile, plus travelling, plus Watford, plus tonight, it is too much.

    on Bellerin’s performance against Costa…
    I think Costa is a top-class player. What I like is two top level players, in the end Hector found always the resources in the last 10-15 minutes to get on top of him and that is fantastic to see from a boy of 20 years-old.

    on if Bellerin will learn from this…
    Of course, he was top level. I like the fact that he has that desire to get on top of his opponent until the last minute. That competitive edge he brings to the game.

    on where Arsenal stand in the group…
    I don’t know. We need a result at Bayern. Now let’s focus on Everton.

    on putting Mertesacker forward…
    I saw that our players wanted to play it short and I thought that with Giroud on the pitch, Mertesacker and Koscielny and they were playing quite a high line on the free-kick we had a very good chance to score there. We had to win the game so we had to take a gamble on that.

    Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20151020/wenger-on-the-win-bellerin-and-cech#jYBpHkwDQwgGugyM.99

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  3. “on if Bellerin will learn from this…
    Of course, he was top level. I like the fact that he has that desire to get on top of his opponent until the last minute. That competitive edge he brings to the game.”

    The Barca directors lost their shit when they sold the next Dani Alves. You can thank Cesc for Bellerin. He was shit at Barca, is now the one taking down Mourinho and we got Hecto out of the deal. Not bad for a has been who is shit in the transfer market.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Thank you so much for your kind words Steww, but unfortunately, neither myself or anyone else can compete with Liverpool supporting journalist Darren Lewis on the understatement front
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/arsenal-2-0-bayern-munich-6669265

    Bellerin 5 out of ten….ok given the run around a couple of times, but what a response! Lallana and his colleagues only have to fall over to get seven out of ten from this guy!

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  5. mandy the hate for Arsenal in those Mirror ratings is clear for all to see

    Like

  6. OptaJoe ‏@OptaJoe 2h2 hours ago
    8 – No team has ever managed more shots on target vs.a Pep Guardiola side in the UCL than the eight Arsenal mustered tonight. Riposte.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Superb win. Superb comments.

    (I wrote a huge thingy at the end of the match. I’m glad I didn’t send it cos most of it is covered here, plus some extra goodies, like the opts stat).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is Pep singing to Arsene:

    Like

  9. eduardo….awesome pic!!

    desperately aiting for news on Ramsey..we need that boy!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Magic night out! It felt like it was going to happen for us all the way, no matter who good Bayern looked.Sure am pleased for Mesut, a lot of people watching in on that game last night, and he certainly stepped up to the task. Lets face it who wasnt great?
    Love that image of Wenger looking on to the big bundle celebration .And its Arsenal, Arsenal FC…..
    Have a great day Positivists!!

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Aw, I checked the Mirror article as I was curious about BM’s player ratings in comparison to ours. Isn’t that how the ratings work? Compare the No. 9’s?

    No Bayern ratings. Just the usual hate.

    Presstitutes. What is point?

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  12. Is Selena Gomes’ video merely an individual, updated “pans people” self-pleasurement vehicle?

    Like

  13. “Solid Gold Easy Action”

    Steww’s subtitle works on soooo many levels.

    Like

  14. New post up !!

    Like

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