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Arsenal Versus Bayern : Who Cares?

Arsène Wenger cares about Arsenal far more than you do or ever will. He cares more about the club than the season ticket holder who goes to every game home and away. He cares more than the supporter conceived in the shadow of Highbury stadium and born on on May 26th 1989. How can I say this? Why do I think Arsène cares about the club even more than, say, his own career? Well, we all know he was offered well paid jobs at high prestige clubs with budgets managers dream of and turned them down. That tells us perhaps of his loyalty rather than how much he cares. The fact that he allowed his own reputation to be dragged through the mud by staying on through the financial crash as the new stadium drained his transfer budget to next to nothing, well, there is that.

The real reason I feel the way I do about the great man bubbled to the surface following a remark he made last week when being pestered about having young players on loan during an injury crisis. It was one of those ridiculous questions that even a British print journalist might shake his head at but which his editor will insist on anyway as it appears to cast Arsène in a bad light. The narrative boys and girls, stick always to the narrative.

Arsène cares more about the club than you or I because he cares about the entire club. You and I have no duty or responsibility to the players young, old, injured or fit we care only about winning the next game and finishing above Chelsea, Man United and Spurs. And you know what? That’s fine. That’s all we’re supposed to care about isn’t it? Arsène however has a duty of care to all of his playing staff not just the first teamers and he takes it seriously. Why? Because he cares about the club. Every nut and bolt, every single aspect of the development of players and the way that Arsenal FC is perceived in England and beyond.

When being quizzed as to why players were out on loan when they might be better employed with us covering our injury crisis he stated that when a youngster reaches the point in his development when he is ready for first team football you have to let him go. He isn’t going to sit on a whole bunch of lads who’ve been carefully nurtured since they were in short trousers when their career progression demands that they get regular game time. He feels a responsibility to these players and regardless of whether you or I want to see Chuba on the bench because suddenly we have two out of four central strikers out injured, Arsène has to care about the individual players as well as the first team.

He let’s them go and in doing so he lets them grow. And of course because he takes the long view and not just the short term nervy panic with which we approach each individual fixture he has the first team in mind as well as the player’s development. Would Francis Coquelin have come back to us as good a player if he’d sat on the bench hoping for a string of injuries to give him his chance rather than playing all those games on loan?

Either way Arsène is rightly seen as a father figure to his players, a man who nurtures and cares and it is hardly surprising so many footballers both the very best in the world and those showing early promise clamour to come and experience his guidance. How the squad will cope with their visit to Germany tonight is difficult to predict. In past seasons we have faced this kind of tough away fixture after torrid times at home in two legged ties. This time we travel on the back of an excellent home result without the imperative to go at them and get a win.

I’m not saying we should play for a draw from the start but it wouldn’t be a disaster and the players aren’t stupid – that will be in the backs of their minds. Expect Bayern to be up for it after getting taught a lesson at the Emirates on the last occasion that they faced us. They will be determined to straighten things out with us and will be buoyed up by our injury problems. Theo’s pace was a massive problem for the German side last time around and they would have been terrified of losing the ball every time they attacked if they’d known he had been lurking. Olivier Giroud poses a different question for defenders but his game relies on holding the ball for others to sprint past him which of course offers more time for the break away to be snuffed out.

With this in mind, might Arsène play Alexis through the middle with Joel alongside him and put another cog into the defensive machine maybe allowing Santi to drift to the left? Or maybe let Kieron play on the left and provide better defensive cover for Nacho? Joel certainly helps out effectively in defence and I’m sure Matty Debuchy would be happy to have him there. Arsène said in a news conference he dislikes pulling players out of position in this way as it disrupts the feng shui of the team. All right he didn’t put it quite like that but you catch my drift I’m sure. I doubt he’ll drop Olivier but it’s fun to play fantasy manager sometimes and wonder at the options.

The important thing is we defend once again as a compact unit, ferocious but restrained, tenacious but disciplined and with Cech back to his very best (at least one goal saving stop in each of our last four games and generally calm and reliable) we should have an excellent last line of defence.

My only concern right now is the same players getting hammered week in week out and then not getting a rest when the bloody internationals come along. As Arsène said Aaron needed a rest and Andorra would have been the perfect game to miss.

International managers literally do not give a flying fishes fart about the health of their players. Some people say why should they? They have a contract and a responsibility to win their games. Bollocks says I. Giving broken players back to their clubs time and again with a shrug because you know those clubs will pick up the bill for fixing them and anyway you won’t need them for a while by which time they should be ready for you to use and abuse again is no way for anyone with a shred of honour and dignity to behave. It isn’t good enough to talk about their contracts and their boss’s demands and their own interests, simply not good enough. Life is about more than narrow self interest otherwise why do we think so highly of Arsène? Because he is an honourable human being and not only for his success on the football field.

In any case I do wonder how the boss plans to rotate in the reserves in the more attacking positions in the coming games. He can’t destabilise the side with too many newcomers, we already have Joel needing to do nothing but improve every game. He can’t afford to drop his levels, we need to continue our momentum and he could have a big part to play in that. But others will need to be rested from time to time. Kieran and Calum can both do a job towards the end of a match in front of the full backs and Mathieu Flamini can come in while Santi steps up to replace Mesut but who stands in for Larry?

As Shotta said on Monday that man needs to stay fit and firing at least until the strains of Auld Lang Syne echo across the land. Even when Theo and Danny return from the sick berth they can’t be expected to dive right back in, they’ll need easing back. It’s a conundrum but one which you can bet the manager has considered and has planned for meticulously. Honestly how the man keeps going in the teeth of at least one major injury crisis every season I do not know. Imagine if another, more petulant, childish manager were faced with such genuinely bad luck, and then imagine if idiots both online and in the press queued up to imply it was somehow that manager’s fault that his players were injured – such a lesser man would be storming out of press conferences or issuing ‘no comments’ before you could blink.

So lets hope for a clean sheet tonight and no one added to the butcher’s bill. A modest wish for one so instinctively optimistic and positive as me? Well perhaps but I can temper my enthusiasm when the occasion demands it. I can’t for a moment imagine us going gōng hé at one of the best teams in the world in any case and neither can I see a keeper as good as Neuer fluffing his lines so spectacularly again so I would suggest my expectations are merely sensibly cautious. I’m still hopeful of a good result but I’ll settle for a point. Give me a win and you’ll be peeling me off the ceiling. I do however have one eye on Sunday’s game. The best team in Middlesex are always a tricky obstacle to overcome and I want everyone back in one piece for that one. Do I sound like I’m prioritising the Prem over the Champions League? Well, we all have our favourite players don’t we, so why not our preferred competitions?

I hope you enjoy the match and if you have the amazing good fortune to have travelled there in person have a wonderful evening, if not I’ll see you here at kick off.

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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98 comments on “Arsenal Versus Bayern : Who Cares?

  1. oh I see anicol, Arsenal are the dipshits in your scenario,

    what I have seen is Arsenal players making mistakes on all 4 goals, not doing stuff that is not hard to do, like blocking, attacking the ball, giving up easy possession, stepping up wrongly trying to play an offside when only seven yards from goal

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  2. yes anicol that was poor defending from Bayern,

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  3. Oi Santi – that’s two

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  4. We only need 1 more goal to have beaten Batern on aggregate.

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  5. cazorla wastes a good chance after fine play from Coquelin

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  6. Yes Eddy there is no such thing as good football – just shite defending

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  7. Given how shite Bayern’s defending has been since the 60th minute it is a fucking disgrace it is not 4-4

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  8. dc it could be important for us to get that second goal, as it would mean Bayern would still need to take points in one of their final two games to be sure of topping the group and with olympiacos game now level, we will need bayern to take points off them

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  9. If Arsenal score to make it 4-2 it might be important later on.

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  10. Debuchy somehow gets back to deny Robben after he had rounded Cech

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  11. Matt Debuchy – what a sweet tackle on a bemused Robben

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  12. Iwobi come on for Giroud to make his CL debut.

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  13. Chambers on for Cazorla

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  14. That Thiago knows how to pass a football

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  15. what is Sanchez problem with passing!

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  16. More pathetic defending Eddy – lucky finish – fancy sticking it in the bottom corner

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  17. that muller goal came all the way from Ozil thinking the move was gone and turning his back on a pass to him and bayern going full length of the field to score.

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  18. anicol good finishing does not exclude or indeed excuse poor defending, its a simple concept you seem unable to grasp.

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  19. olympiacos now winning and that means we need bayern to beat them as well as us winning both our remaining games.

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  20. Lightweight defensive performance from us. Light years behind our first leg. Of course as anicoll has pointed out they are no mugs. Still feel we gifted most of em though

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  21. I know Eddy – whole length of the field – three passes – pinpoint finish – disgraceful

    Any schoolboy team would have snuffed that out immediately

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  22. …shame santi didnt take his chances, even though we’ve had a spanking we were better in the SH.Mesut was my MOTM for Arsenal. Im pretty sure we have the best record again Bayern in Europe and the Brahns were out for full blooded revenge tonight. And now the moaners/media tools will be out in full force again.Yawn.
    Night lads.

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  23. Eddy – I have noticed that every single goal that has ever been scored by any team against Arsenal is the result of ‘poor defending’ in your opinion

    Admittedly you vary your approach with ‘bad defending’ , ‘terrible defending’ and very very very occasionally ‘shocking defending’

    No team ever has, or perhaps ever will, score what is called a ‘good’ goal against Arsenal.

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  24. ok anicol I bow to your view, Arsenal never made a mistake on any of the goals, not a single thing Arsenal could have done to prevent any of the goals, Bayern Munich just played magical football that little old Arsenal could do nothing about and in fact Arsenal played wonderfully well, defended great, and really done all that could be asked of them.

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  25. Assuming Pep and his team don’t act the maggot in the next round, if they beat OP and we beat DZ, then it goes to the last game with Arsenal needing to score 2 more goals than the home team.
    We’re down, but not yet out.

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  26. Of course Zagreb lose the game in the last minute. Arse.

    Watch out the spuds!

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  27. Now I do understand that you subscribe to the view of football that is based entirely on the benefit of replay that Player X should have stood at point Y, and if player Z had not lost the ball at the other end of the pitch while he was trying to score then ……….

    In theory every single goal that has ever ever been scored is the result of poor defending or poor play or losing the ball.

    That does however appear to miss the key point that good attacking sides cut the opposition apart – deliberately – they don’t pass where player X is standing, if he was standing there they would ensure he should have been at point Y.

    As for a player losing a ball while trying to score at the other end what are you on about ? Do you imagine both sides best players did not lose the ball against good defenders ? Bayern players lost it all night

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  28. No Eddy – you don’t understand at all

    Arsenal were beaten by a side who played better football tonight

    Not about poor this and poor that – BETTER football – particularly great finishing

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  29. Jeezus. That big tree took it to the small axe. Only seen the goals so far but all of them were real quality. So the key to the success of the small axe is evidently speed. Not Giroud’s forte at all but he scored an excellent goal tbh. In the final analysis we got beat by a superior team, no shame in that. Roll on to the Premier League.

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  30. Pep’s teams always give it too much in first 50-60 mins and fade off..its all about surviving that onslaught

    i hope people realize how tough that Lewandowski’s goal is..and Gabriel was ofcourse doing the right thing trying to play him offside..the whole defence was gone and lewa had too much room in his front..what could Gabriel have done if he did not try to play him offside? just think..and just try to imagine the game was being played at such high tempo..it was just a beautiful pass and oh the finish..the finish was only made to look easy.

    second goal was bloody luck yet again..where was Arsenal mistake there..wicked deflection

    they kept firing all cylinders with such precision in passing really.

    then we had a monster strike..how many players can beat Cech from that distance..just really? leaving room for anyone to strike is a mistake..but if it wasnt world class would it have been a goal? dont you think every team in every match (forget against Bayern) concedes a situation like that?

    At that point any scoreline was possible..

    what i truly wished was for Cazorla to score atleast 2..they were both pretty simple..we had such good openings..but i tell you its hard to make precision when the pressure is so huge..

    anyway..Arsenal were well beaten and no shame in that too..have you seen the Bayern’s squad?

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  31. anicol I’m not blaming ozil losing the ball for the muller goal, just actually pointing out that he had wrongly given up on the move and that is why he lost it, and if you look at that muller goal Coquelin gave up in the middle of the park without even making a challenge, of course BM played very good football to make and score it, but we made it easy for them,
    just as we did on all the goals,
    right from Gabriel trying to play offside only seven yards from his own goal, and if he had just stood where he was he would have intercepted the ball, fine header by lew to finish i, no one denies that,
    Cazorla coughed up the ball on the third and was still on his knees asking for a freekick when the ball was in the back of our net, by the way the shot was outstanding, no one denies that,
    on the second goal monreal too far off to stop the cross, then Debuchy misjudged it, and Mert did not close down the shot and it deflected in off him.
    Robben goal was an outstanding finish, again no one denies that, but no one had tracked him, just as despite having lots of players back not one challenge went in on the build up to it, and Cazorla and Gabriel failed to block the ball in to Robben.

    Giroud’s goals was an outstanding finish, but Martinez had let him get too far away from him and by time he got there OG had controlled the ball and finished it well. From a Bayern view point that goal would be described as poor defending.

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  32. Well, that was a humbling experience. Not very nice at all….

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  33. Eduardo, i am really sorry but you are wrong sir! so so wrong.
    you make defending sound too simplistic and i believe its NOT
    just give this a thought..an attacker has a freedom to express he has at all times multiple options to choose..its like drawing a painting you can do whatever..dribble left dribble right dribble through legs..pass right pass left pass back pass side..so many options..
    and what does defender have to do? he has to answer a specific question posed by an array of multi dimensional players with multi dimensional options to start with..

    i’ve read you article on Ramsey’s right wing position and it was class..but sir with all due respect..your views on defending are flawed in my opinion.

    ofcourse we made defensive errors..every team makes them every match..its what the attackers do to take advantage makes count..in this case..Bayern were precise beyond most counts of the term “world class”..they were ruthless and it is NOT easy! Bayern played supremely..and we matched upto them attacking wise no less with the amount of possession we had..we did not have the Gusto to finish really..its that hard really..would you say Bayern were particularly poor in letting us open them up so many times?

    its football and its played in many different ways and that is the bloody beauty of it!

    just because we survived the onslaught in the beginning Pep generally employs..with such great defending in the first leg..do you believe it can be done every match? common sir! credit their attackers for their finishing please!

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  34. eddy – sorry to take sides in this but I have to agree with Andrew. Your logic is a twisted logic. If we look at the game from your logic, every goal that has ever been scored since 1800 and whatever was the result of poor defending.
    That said, I decided to accept another offer and missed the game – only caught the last 5 minutes. So maybe it was all my fault – maybe if I had watched the game we would have won.
    Life goes on. Spuds on Sunday (more important imo) and we can still qualify. I think we will too. Bayern are not going to give anyone a free ride. A win against Zagreb and beat the Greeks by two goals. Not easy but not wishful thinking either.

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  35. “right from Gabriel trying to play offside only seven yards from his own goal, and if he had just stood where he was he would have intercepted the ball, fine header by lew to finish i, no one denies that,”

    Sir i take issue with this once again! the whole defence was gone ..and how do you say he could have intercepted the ball?! how do you make the assumption the ball would have come there..you saw the ball come there and then saying this arent you? what if the ball was played in front of Lewa or on his chest (like for Girouds goal).. where was the room to play the ball sir???? obviously Gabriel calculated that the ball would be played in front of Lewa..they have such gifted passers who can put the ball anywere..had the ball been played in front of Lewa..what could Gabriel have done?! he missed the offside trap by a mere moment in a game that was being played at 1000kmph..

    anyway i am done for today..i enjoyed the match..i think every should too..

    the match was a lot more closer footballing wise..but bayerns efficiency was so bloody unimaginably high that i wouldnt go too far as to say the score was flattering for them

    it was a high quality football match with both teams trying to play world class attacking football..Bayern came out with flying colors against a DEPLETED arsenal side.

    thats it!

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  36. Arshavin you say we made mistakes on all the goals, well that is poor defending, making mistakes defending is poor defending, and I would also say, there are mistakes and then there are big mistakes, and we made big mistakes on 2 if not 3 of the goals.
    no one denies the quality of Bayern’s finishes, but to put it all down to the quality of their finishing is to ignore that our defending was poor all night,

    Bayern played some great football, and there is no doubt that it contributed to us making mistakes. but on the most part they did not play brilliant fast one touch football that meant we could not get a challenge in, or that cut us open with nothing we could do about it, I’ve already listed earlier the actual mistakes made. Just far too many of them

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  37. watch this..watch what he says..

    “they scored too early for us..the got into rhythm too early..they made it too difficult for us”

    Arsenal were beaten today..i want us to do what bayern did to us to barcelona/bayern/real/chelsea etc.

    but i wont blame my team if they cant..its NOT easy..i identify with Arsenal for what they are..not what i want them to be..i want them to kick everyone’s ass..but there is reality too..

    we WILL get there..only because the GREAT MAN has put us on the right track..

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  38. Eduardo..

    cool..fair enough sir..we are all speaking the same thing in our hearts..the language in our heads is different

    just leave it today..Arsenal will bounce back

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  39. arshavin its nonsense to say that Gabriel had calculated the ball would be played in front of lew, if that was the case he would not have been trying to play him offside, his dash out would have been to try and intercept the pass “in front of lew”.

    You also say the rest of the defence were already gone, well then a clear mistake by Gabriel to be so far behind the rest of them, so again a big mistake, no matter which way you look at it.

    arshavin I will agree with you on one thing, the game was closer than the 5-1 suggests, Cazorla had two great chances and Ozil might have been unlucky having that goal ruled out, would a penalty be given if the ball hit a defender in the same part of the body in the same was, if not, then the goal should have stood.

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  40. again I agree with you arshavin, I too believe Arsenal will bounce back, and not only do I think we can go on and win the BPL this season, I will say we not out of the CL yet, and until we actually are, I will still believe we can win the damn thing this season too.

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  41. “arshavin its nonsense to say that Gabriel had calculated the ball would be played in front of lew, if that was the case he would not have been trying to play him offside, his dash out would have been to try and intercept the pass “in front of lew”.

    You also say the rest of the defence were already gone, well then a clear mistake by Gabriel to be so far behind the rest of them, so again a big mistake, no matter which way you look at it.”

    i can make a case to counter each of the two points you raised..sir lets just let it go today..i dont want to be right or wrong really..i want to discuss but not today (its 4 30 a.m. for me here :))..good night.

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  42. thats grand arshavin, I don’t want to fall out with anyone, its football, we can all see it differently without falling out over it. goodnight

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  43. THE BOSS ON DEFEAT, BAYERN AND INJURIES

    Arsène Wenger faced the media after Arsenal’s 5-1 defeat against Bayern Munich in the Champions League at Allianz Arena on Wednesday. You can read a full transcript of his press conference below…

    on the defeat…
    You have to give credit to Bayern first for their quality and on top of that we made things quite easy for them. It was a bad defensive performance and we were extremely poor defensively. We were not at the races. The funny thing is that when we went forward we created good chances. We had a chance to score early but with a defensive performance like that, you go nowhere.

    on whether it’s Arsenal’s worst defensive performance…
    My memory of 19 years is not too accurate if I’m supposed to tell you our worst defensive performance. It’s certainly not going to remain in my memory for anything positive. There is still a chance to qualify. Olympiacos have to lose here, we have to beat Zagreb and then we will see when we play Olympiacos away. It’s a small chance but it is a real one. We have to realise with that kind of performance that we had today that our chances are minimal.

    on Arsenal’s chances of qualifying…
    No matter what percentage we have, we have to dig in for the chance to qualify. We now have to focus on the Premier League on Sunday and bounce back with a different performance because we are in a good position in the league. It’s important that we realise what we did today and we know that.

    on whether he expects Bayern Munich to beat Olympiacos…
    If they play like they did tonight, then yes.

    on confidence levels…
    We have to analyse it and not be too negative. That’s top-level sport. You can understand that you have to be strong enough to face a performance like tonight. It was not good enough and we will have to focus on the next game. We live in a world where you have to face reality.

    on injuries…
    I don’t think Bellerin will be available for Sunday but there is a small chance. From tonight we don’t have any new injuries.

    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/20151104/the-boss-on-defeat-bayern-and-injuries#hKwi03CR6i3pmky1.99

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  44. Olivier Giroud has now scored 3 goals in 3 starts vs. Bayern Munich and is Arsenal’s top scorer for the season with 8 goals

    Santi Cazorla has not scored in his 15 games so far this season and has been unable to score in 28 Champions League games in his time at Arsenal.

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  45. Having distracted myself once the match had ended, I’ve just now read thru all the comments.

    I’m disappointed at the “Hunter-like” insistence of ‘Ars incompetence’, and I’m glad I didn’t catch all that before bed-e-bys.

    For me there was “other stuff” going on when Ars attacked or tried to dribble, which I’ve seen many times before. I’ll not expand.

    As Per said, we need to switch (off) negative energy and fight back.

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  46. Rantetta, by ‘other stuff’ do you mean that there was EPL style tilting at play? I can’t find a replay of the match but thats the impression I have been getting – that Bayern would probably have won but that the officials tilted it beyond doubt.

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  47. Drat, I didn’t wanna talk about it, at least until the match review appeared.

    I made one comment at UA. “Bussaca at work. Simples”. That was at half time.

    Yes, it was EPL stylee. Giroud, Özil, Alexis, Santi and Campbell all ignored/dissed.
    I really felt for Campbell when he was fouled and the free kick given to BM. At least the others named are used to it. Then he got booked – on 1st viewing it looked like the BM player engineered that. All of which “does the team’s head in” – the standard of officialdom having long since been established.

    If memory serves, bussaca done a dodgy with Braga, then got his promotion to the Riley type job at Uefa following a defo dodgy on behalf of peps Barca team – when, guess what – Ars had beaten Barca in the previous tie.

    “We’re not ****ing having That”!

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  48. Morning all – new post up !!

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