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Arsenal – Fun Fun Fun on the Autobahn

at-least-we-won-passing

Guten Morgen Positivistas,

A foul morning in NW Norfolk but a lightness of touch in the fingers as I sit down for another day of digital derring-do.

What a night eh !

My impression of Us ?

A massive EFFORT from every player in red, and one in orange. They applied themselves throughout the 94 minutes, for every minute and every second. A plan had been worked out, it had to be. That performance was not spontaneous, it was not thought up ‘on the hoof’. It was designed and efficiently executed.

I admit, in my weakness and at times, I began to doubt the wisdom of allowing the opposition so much of the ball. Surely to allow players of calibre and speed we were facing that amount of time/space/possession 30-40 metres out is to invite calamity ??

But no! As the Germans tried to take the game into the scoring zone the door slammed shut in their faces, their runs were frustrated, their shots sometimes high, sometimes wide and when on target our keeper dealt with them effectively and with no theatrical flourish. Not once all evening were we opened up. Not once did Mr Cakir have a hard question put to him about any ‘incident’ in the Arsenal box.

After careful overnight reflection I have come to the inescapable conclusion that was probably the best Arsenal defence performance I have ever had the pleasure of watching, taking into account the quality of the opposition.

I am sure you each have a favourite performer on the night, some for the spectacular and decisive moment, other you will have chosen for a relentless contribution to victory over 94 minutes. However I shall name no names among our lads as man or men of the match. All 14 were equally responsible. Had one failed to concentrate, to keep their foot firmly on the writhing Bavarian serpent then we should surely have failed.

And our opponents ?

A magnificent football team. Hugely impressive in the confidence of their passing, one touch, bang and the ball is gone, 10-15 metre passes all night. I imagine that style of play is incredibly hard to play against. The moment you go to the player with the ball it is gone. As you concentrate players on one side of the defence the ball is the other side of the pitch.

Unlike Guardiola’s earlier Barca sides there is no ‘tippy-tappy’, every ball seemed to have a purpose. The one thing they do have exactly in the style of FCB c. 2011 is their style of play without the ball, and particularly in the first half it showed. If the visitors lost possession a posse of black shirts would surround the Arsenal player and the slip retrieved. It took us the first half to really get to grips with that intensity.

The stand out individual in black ? Douglas Costa is good, a bit of quality. A classic winger, quick feet, can go inside and out, difficult to knock off the ball. Having read the aggregated efforts of Her Majesty’s Press Corps ( Sports battalion) this morning I saw that, apparently, Hector Bellerin put in a poor performance. Utter nonsense in my view. Costa put in an outstanding performance and left poor Hector on his arse a couple of times first half. That however is a mark of Costa’s quality, not Bellerin’s ineptitude. Our young Spaniard however stuck to his job, stayed with Costa, frustrated the Munich wingman, and eventually mastered the Brazilian. It was Costa who faded, not Hector. Pep is not an idiot. He knew the race had been run for Douglas and why.

The final observation I can offer is one that comes from being in the ground last night. So detached was I from what was actually going on that I thought the second goal was the final whistle. I was baffled to see Bayern kicking off again !

However because as a spectator I am not locked in to the action for 94 minutes it gave me the opportunity to look at other things, and one thing tat struck me is how ‘SLY’ Bayern are. This is not a criticism as such but every opportunity they had to gain even a tiny advantage, for example slow the taking of an Arsenal free kick down, they took it. Nothing is wasted, no incident too trivial to try and screw some benefit from. I contrasted that approach with, at one point, Theo sportingly giving the ball back only to see the Germans take advantage as we were unprepared for their quick effort. There is a lesson there, somewhere.

Enjoy your day.

About anicoll5

Arsenal supporter, 60, Dad, harmless and humourless, political militant moderate, school governor and worker bee

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73 comments on “Arsenal – Fun Fun Fun on the Autobahn

  1. Brilliant Anicoll, these words in particular…

    “Our young Spaniard however stuck to his job, stayed with Costa, frustrated the Munich wingman, and eventually mastered the Brazilian. It was Costa who was withdrawn, not Hector. Pep is not an idiot. He knew the race had been run for Douglas and why”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadly GP Anicoll5 junior has pointed out that Costa was not in fact ‘withdrawn’ but saw out the 90 minutes.

    Pesky kids !

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bloody blogettas….

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  4. Sehr gut, Ya?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. After having watched the game again last night, I think Petr Cech deserves man of the match for that late save against Lewandowsky, the one where it looks like Koscielny gets a piece of it and the ball flies over the bar. Despite all our players performing extremely well, I think he made the biggest difference in this game for us.

    How weird for a right wing newspaper like the Daily Mail to cover the Bayern fans’ ridiculous protest and not talk about the way everyone in Munich, including people who despise football,
    having their taxes subsidize the Allianz Arena, thus keeping ticket prices low while producing a neat profit for whomever owns BM.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. What a night,what a team. Thanks Andrew.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “After careful overnight reflection I have come to the inescapable conclusion that was probably the best Arsenal defence performance I have ever had the pleasure of watching, taking into account the quality of the opposition.”

    I was thinking of Parma. But this Munchen team are a little bit better then that Parma team were! (Don’t worry, Smith’s goal will always be a classic).
    When Costa managed to get past ‘ector most often he found his passes or crosses into the box pre-emptively cleared by the telepathic BFG.

    Have any of you ever seen Muller have such an ineffective performance in recent times? Step forward the Nacho man. An incredible performance from this team.

    True Gr*t.
    It’s a good thing the gaffer knows a little about this tactics and defending malarky eh?

    Liked by 4 people

  8. If you had an unlimited budget and manged a petro-club would you have gone for the Mendezian Mule Willian or the Good Costa when looking at the players from that Donetsk team? Not really a debate is it?

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  9. It is said in today’s press on the subject of Douglas Costa and Chelsea that Mourinhio had him checked several times but thought him too expensive and decided on Cuadrado instead Fins

    Well that worked out well didn’t it ?

    Having said that when the Coloimbian came to Chelsea from Fiorentina he did look a good buy – it is what happened to his career in the next few months at the Bridge that made the difference.

    Lucky escape Douglas

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I watched the 1st half life and later in the night, when the Missus was done with the remote, finally saw the recorded 2nd half. One observation.

    What a difference a positive result does to one’s mood especially a partisan supporter like meself. It took me two days to get over the disappointment of Olympiacos and to finally turn on the DVR. There is a lesson here. Whether we like it or not, our views about a game are colored by the result and one has to be really strong to maintain some objectivity. I am not going to over-react, like several of our fence-sitting fans who think we are shit after a poor result and are sickeningly over-the-top after a win.
    Yes I will enjoy the win but I thoroughly respect our opponents and on another night they could have scored and I would not be posting for days.

    Entirely agree with A5 by the way about this being an entirely team performance. Long may it continue.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. An old fart’s thoughts on Bayern.

    30 minutes of watching Bayern playing like we do was more than a little worrisome. Only one attempt from our side that looked serious with Neuer saving well from Oz. But, with Petr in top form, the two solid chances they created went away and we started getting into the game to the extent that it took a miracle save to prevent Theo’s header, repeat header, from opening the scoring for us. Brilliant save though it was, I for one thought he should have been given no chance at all.
    For 10 minutes we did dominate and showed that Bayern could be worried and forced into errors but the end of the half saw them again dominating the ball with possession stats akin to Arsenal’s on a good day. But the defence held firm and gave us no heart attacks.

    As Baldrick said, “I have a cunning plan.” Let them dominate, cramp them up in our final third and then break. Well we managed the first two parts of this plan but the break bit kinda disappeared for most of the half. In fairness it was rather one way traffic but with a difference. Nacho played brilliantly throughout but young Hector obviously learns fast. His first half was nothing to write home about, Costa leaving him for dead on more than one occasion, but in the second…Oh my, this kid is so good, fast and intelligent.
    With the “oh so slow Per” and Kos looking after the vast majority of threats (a small number thanks to Le Coq’s interventions) the Bayern forward line…that which had scored in every game this season during their 100% win rate, were nullified in and around the box. On reflection, I wonder if that was the best defensive display Arsenal have ever delivered…and my memory goes back many years.

    In truth, the major scares came from our misplaced passes in our own half…one from Kos and one from Alexis…but both were handled by the sharpness of Petr Cech. He’s looking like a great investment and is fully deserving his growing clean sheet tally.

    As is said in the classics, every cloud has its silver lining…and if Theo who’d played well with no reward was the cloud, Olly was the lining. Not only did he win the free kick about 40 yards out, but following his exploits off the bench recently, took advantage of Neuer’s one mistake on the night and nosed, finger tipped and maybe genitalised the ball home. Happiness is.

    Better was to come. Hector with a great interception and clever footwork laid on a perfect cross to Oz. For years we’ve been claiming that the spare officials behind the goal were as much us a the tits on a bull but this one, correctly spotted that it had crossed the line before Neuer’s hand clawed it away. 2-0 and a wonderful performance.

    Hope we still have legs left for Everton on Saturday. Keep the faith

    Liked by 7 people

  12. Aah. What a memorable night last night was, one of those you just want to go and on and on racing around the Autobahn. We won that race by quite a stretch. Great post A5, great to relive the game through your eyes as you sat their watching from the stands.

    Mesut Özil will get a mention from me, some of the images last night after he scored his goal gave me goosebumps. It was like I felt his emotion and what the victory meant to him. Very emotional celebration as he lay down and wept their at the end. This guy is putting up with so much crap from ppl that are suppose to support him but are not. Özil stepped up in a big game against a big team last night.

    Ya Positivistas Ya!

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  13. Brilliant report on a brilliant night the only minus was the Greeks win and poor Aaron injury.
    Costa’s first incursion down the left was met with a swift kick and the second an excellent tackle. I only remember him turning Hector once in any dangerous area and definitely thought our young protigy was on top long before the Germans started running out of ideas.
    On a night when most gooners were buzzing the black cloud brigade were still muttering about the possibility of Thursday night football and being tired against the toffees.
    They obviously haven’t heard the chant enjoy the ride they certainly need enlightenment.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. That is so well written Andrew, the champagne fizz of your mood effervesces through every word. Didn’t Costa switch wings when he realised Hector had him sussed?

    As far as the game goes, yes they might have scored but didn’t because one or more of Arsène’s players did their job well. That’s what the game is all about. It was quite simply one of the best games I’ve seen. Different from the rumbustious up at at ’em fun of Leicester but rather a tactical battle that had me on edge throughout. Perfect match, perfect night, perfect write up.

    Liked by 6 people

  15. Yes a write up befitting of a great game, an outstanding defensive display, thrilling Arsenal attack and a tactical masterclass from the one manager in the league who supposedly doesn’t trouble himself with such details.

    The parallels with our victory over Man City last year seemed obvious though the BT commentary appeared oblivious to the possibility. Our ability to control a game we did not dominate is an intriguing development in our tactical arsenal; one that could of itself lead directly to silverware.

    So many highlights and a terrific team-wide performance. I especially enjoyed the contrast in attacking styles which ensued, following Giroud’s introduction. Bayern simply could not adapt in time and payed the ultimate price. Twice.

    I predicted a 2-1 to the Arsenal; shame on me and my negativity in assuming at least one breach of the Gabriel-less defence, though, to be fair, I was convinced the ref would be looking to get more ‘involved’.

    Thrilling stuff – roll on Saturday.

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  16. I have an ANNOUNCEMENT Positivistas

    I shall not be available on Saturday afternoon to watch the Everton game – I have an event that I assumed would be done early but it will not, as it will not now get underway ’til late. (Trafalgar Day. Duke of York. Penguins. “the immortal memory of Horatio, Lord Nelson” You know the form)

    Should one of you ladies or gentlemen be minded to pen a match review of Everton’s visit to the home of football then it would assist me mightily. ??

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  17. A5. Are the old fart’s thoughts suitable?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Gotta say although Bayern got the early 50-50 decisions the ref did all in his power to let the game go and really didn’t want to book anyone and I’ve always said those officials by the goals do a great job!

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  19. They would be entirely suitable gf60 and thank you for your assistance !!

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  20. I see journos are now writing articles about the pressure on a manager who only a few weeks ago was the latest Owen Coyle for the WOB, when his team was sitting in 4th, but now with them in 14th they will deny ever touting Gary Monk as the guy to replace old fool wenger.

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  21. I was irritated with the referee in the opening 20 minutes AoB when he seemed to be giving too many soft free kicks when a Bayern player went down. After that though he settled down and did well. That both sets of players behaved well helped with no obvious theatrics from either set. cant recall a bad tackle or elbow. No one really deserved a card though I see Olivier managed to force one out of him (!)

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  22. Just. Everything. Lovely.

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  23. The referee was hardly felt. The only complaint I have is he should have given Alonso a booking for rotational fouling.

    Fin: “Have any of you ever seen Muller have such an ineffective performance in recent times? Step forward the Nacho man. An incredible performance from this team.”

    No, I have not. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Muller be kept this quiet.

    How about Kozzy keeping the hottest striker in Europe in his back pocket?

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  24. A5
    To whom do I send it? Or maybe PG can email me?

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  25. Just e mailed you

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  26. I’m away on business and didn’t get to see the game. I really need to see it…right now my mood is dampened by stupid injuries disrupting us again, right when things are really starting to gel. I’ll feel better after I’ve watched it, I’m sure.

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  27. The one blip from the evening was the injury to Ramsey. Just when he’d got some goals too.

    “Jürgen Klopp has launched himself into a club-versus-country row less than two weeks into his reign after likening England’s handling of Jordan Rossiter to that of a horse.
    The 18-year-old returned from Under-19 international duty with a hamstring injury after playing three matches of 90 minutes in six days.”

    When playing three games a week, and in interantionals I can’t help but worry about one or two in the squad when players that could cover and more, players like Wilshere and Welbeck are out with injury.

    My own completely speculative and useless consideration that could almost be described as gibberish (it probably is) is that Ramsey’s hammies are vulnerable following his long spell out not forgetting the original injury. Overcompensation from one leg to other etc. that kind of thing. Not forgetting the ridiculous amount of running he does and the rest. Ignoring the injury history, as the great managers would say “he runs about a bit”. AFC need players like Wilshere etc. available.

    However this injury does provide opportunity for Chambo to get his confidence back to where it was before the rash of deflected own goals etc. And others too.
    Hopefully we’ll get to see The Jeff and a few more in the little cup game.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. We don’t yet have the full prognosis on Ramsey’s hamstring apart from the Boss saying it’s bad.
    With Wilshere still out and god knows it would be madness to rush him back, and also Rosicky is still out too, Arsenal have two options:
    One of either Arteta or Flamini beside Le Coq and push Santi back into a more attack minded CM position, or plan B is to give the Ox a decent run of games at CM and trust that he is mature enough to cope with the added pressure.
    A bit of both options should See us fine for the next few weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I see that we are of one mind, Fins.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I was about to say the very same concerning Ramsey and his hamstrings DC – let us see what the experts say and keep our fingers crossed. It is not as though Aaron’s hamstrings will be unfamiliar territory for the rehab team and he knows how best to promote his recovery as he has been there before ( often!) .

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  31. Theo could move to the right and Giroud back in.

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  32. the great Martial has just given away a penalty to CSKA with a deliberate handball, De Gea saved the penalty but the rebound was slotted home. Silly from the boy wonder.

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  33. Just got around to reading the blog after a busy day with Spanish lessons and work, followed by two episodes of Treme (yeah, I’m a bit slow about these things).
    Hat duly tipped, Andrew – excellent report.
    Agree that there is no one to single out – except maybe the management team that very obviously knew what they were up against and what to do about it (it’s happened before, folks).
    We’re still in a weak position table-wise after the Olympiakos win. Looks very much like we’ll have to settle it down there.

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  34. “Theo could move to the right and Giroud back in”

    Can I say I prefer Arteta and Coq in the middle with Santi Ozil and Walcott Sanchez in attack.

    I know Giroud merits his position more than anyone else but I feel it might tilt the balance a little bit.

    ah well..trust Arsene to take care of it though 🙂

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  35. Yes, it’s a bummer that Aaron is out, but I just want to say something, maybe totally crazy (but what’s new), about solutions.

    It’s Time To Unleash Hector.

    I’ve been thinking for some time now that this lad is a true star and last night just confirmed it big-time. The fact is he’s wasted at full-back. Not that he’s not good at it, but he has so much more potential. We have a perfectly good right-back in Debuchy (given game time), not to mention a Corporal on loan out east, and a talent in young Hector if he’s unleashed on the right side of the midfield/attack that could amaze everyone. He has skill, pace, intelligence, coolness. He’d put the fear of God into every left back in Europe. Now that Aaron is out for a while, we have someone to replace him who would also give his full-back full support (unlike some of the other candidates). Plus he’d be 20/30 yards further up field all the time, pushing those defences back because of fear of his pace, plus he’s not afraid to take players on (unlike some of the other candidates). Just imagine a front three of Alexis, Theo and Hector.
    Yeah, I know it’s not going to happen but I just had to get it off my chest.
    I remember a young left back coming to Spuds from So’ton and they sold him for a fortune to RM. If Barca are going to play the DNA card anyway in the next couple of years (they will – y’all know they will), we’ll get much more for a winger than a full-back.
    C’mon, guys and gals – you know it makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. A magnificent fight back from MCFC

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  37. dkg – I’m in the Ox for Rambo camp. Totally different kind of player but I think with a little confidence a truly great talent. However your Nacho in front of Chambers/Debuchy/Jenks idea is a wonderful one!

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  38. dkg

    Very interesting post at 9:33.

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  39. steww – what you on, man. I did’n’ say a word about Nacho.

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  40. … but maybe I should’ve – wonderful game last night – never lost his bearings on Müller lurking out there for a moment. And who knows who wanted him and Costa to switch wings?

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  41. dkg – Doh! Nacho! It’s my age. It’s one thing to say the wrong word but typing it. What a sorry state to get into. I of course was talking about your Hector idea.

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  42. Another thought – again about Nacho – it seems to me that the spell he had as an emergency CB has improved him no end in terms of defensive awareness. What a good squad member he’s proved to be. He is an example of what the idiots forget with their focus on what they allege AW has failed to do – all the great successful additions. Apart from the high profile ones like Cech, Alexis and Mesut, what about:
    Nacho
    Koscielny
    Gabriel
    BFG
    Arteta
    Ox
    Chambers (another future star)

    And that’s just the current squad – there are countless others from the past

    and of course those waiting in the wings. I would raise a glass to them if my wife hadn’t locked the cognac bottle away.
    Maybe now she’s gone to bed, I can find the key…

    Liked by 1 person

  43. There is merit in DKs suggestion via a vis Hector….I’m increasingly excited by such a prospect….

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Sorry, Ollie – missed you out in the roll-call up there.
    And Santi.
    Fuck – the list is endless.

    Liked by 2 people

  45. Don’t get too excited G-p – I’m just a half-drunk bum in Denmark. I don’t think for one moment it’s in AW’s mind. He loves these speedy full-backs.
    But maybe if you twitterers got going, who knows? Maybe the idea could spread.

    ” ‘Tis a consummation
    Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
    To sleep, perchance to Dream; aye, there’s the rub,”

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  46. remember Eboue?

    ofcourse its in Arsene’s head. Everything is. The man is a bloody genius.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. I forgot to add with Héctor the word stamina – he produced that bit of magic in the 93rd minute after being harassed by Costa/Müller the whole game as well as running up and down the touchline when we had the ball.
    #FreeHéctor

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