Arsenal – Even in the cannon’s mouth

Pep and the beer

Good morning again and a rather more sombre mood this morning following last night’s heavy defeat.

Predictable waves across social and mainstream media, primarily of anguish from Arsenal fans, who watched our dismantling by a clearly better side last night. There may be mitigating circumstances in terms of players missing through injuries. However even with our first 11 out we would have required an almost perfect performance to get out of Southern Germany with much more than we did, in my opinion.

On the other side the negative critical wave. There are the smug “I told you so’s”, from the usual pundits, scattering a shotgun of abuse across the full range of targets, from Arsene Wenger decade of CL ‘failures’, to the current deficit between Bayern and any team in the PL, down to the individually and personally guilty on the evening, Debuchy and Campbell being, from what I can see and read, likely to be full of lead shot this morning.

For my part, and as I think I explained at length last night, I thought we got ‘done’ by a better football team on the night. Unlike at the Emirates the half chances the Germans made last night they converted early and efficiently. In exactly the same was as at the Ems Bayern were utterly relentless in chasing the ball when it was lost and harassing our players to retrieve it. And that relentless energy was obvious all over the pitch. Unlike a fortnight ago Manuel Neuer had no brainstorm that gifted us a goal. By the time the second had spun in off Per’s shins the result had probably moved beyond us.

What was required if the result was gone was that we pulled ourselves together and worked hard.

After half time I think we did achieve that modest consolation. It may be that Munich took their foot ‘off the gas’ after the hour mark and with a comfortable lead, or it may be that as a fortnight even their relentless energy had run out. The Giroud goal was rather well taken I thought, Santi’s effort was denied by an excellent Neuer save, we had success in finally holding the ball and playing football. Scant comfort as the scoreboard clicked up to 5 with moments to go I know but playing football is what we do.

Players who deserve a mention last night ? Cech was superb, as was Coquelin, as was Nacho. Giroud worked his arse off all night, tightly policed and fed the smallest of scraps. In the red shirted storm Mesut managed to control the ball, pass and inspire a little composure among those working round him.

I saw mention earlier of the influence of Mr Rocchi on proceedings and I expect like you I found some of his decisions in the first half irritating. Our players bundled over on a couple of occasions and played waved on, but the whistle blown when a Bayern player was similarly upended. Looking back at the first game the Italian’s first half performance was similar to that of the Turkish referee at the Ems. A I said then Bayern are ‘SLY’. Given the strength of Bayern’s performance though I would be hard pushed to ascribe much influence on the result to the man in black.

So two ties against Bayern – won one, lost one, which combination if you had offered me when the draw was made, or even before kick off a fortnight ago I would probably have taken. Plenty still to play for in a group for us where, despite the result last night, Bayern are still not qualified.

On to Sunday and a home game against the neighbours. The perfect pick-me-up following a hard football lesson.

Auf Wiedersehen

45 comments on “Arsenal – Even in the cannon’s mouth

  1. Boy, that’s another superb summary of the match. Thanks anicoll.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the match again because BM produced some fine pressing and passing, as they did in the first game (which I watched a second time, just to take more of it in). And Ars also made some fine passing, only much less than in the previous match, and not so successful.

    I note that even Arsenal would slow down if they’d got a 2 or 3 goal lead, but I also think Bayern, being humans, got as ‘tired’ as we did, despite not having to deal with Theo’s and others’ pace. It was a perfect scenario for them. The early goal, the early establishment of which team could “play” or which team could be “restricted”. There were after all a few occasions when we went upfield …

    I didn’t hang around to watch Linekar and co after the match finished. I doubt I’d have learned anything. Obviously, I wouldn’t suffer the twatteratti. That’d be asking for the old slit wrist thingy.

    Onward to Sunday. Thanks I again.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Well done Andrew. I felt an overwhelming indifference to last night’s game even before kick off, so how you roused yourself to even remember it never mind write about it amazes me. It isn’t because I suspected we’d lose, not just that, I suppose it’s just my mental health problems resurfacing, Arsenal is always a good barometer of depression, the more I care about football the more stable I am and last night passed me by.
    Much more interested in Spurs to be honest.


  3. Good effort Andrew.
    We got exactly what we deserved.


  4. Great, balanced and mature write up Anicoll.

    Yes, Bayern were impressive but I agree with Arséne’s evaluation of the game, we made it easy for them.


  5. The moment Gabriel played Lewandowski on-side and free the game was up.
    Thats not a barometer of how bad we are, its a measure of how good they are.


  6. Their confidence went up with the first but Ozil almost scored, it was the second going in off Per that made the slope even more steep.
    Official made a howler on the third?

    Ozil was the best player on the park for the opening exchanges before the first goal. IMO AFC needed a goal themselves in the first quarter in this game if they couldn’t hold out till the sixth minute mark.

    Four, five, six, would’t have cared if Zagreb had just held on!


  7. PG

    I rarely disagree with you but we are much better than we showed yesterday. We made it easy for them.


  8. I thought this was a fair and well crafted write up on the game, thanks Andrew. I dont feel too sombre this morning as I know how the Germans reacted to the humiliation of us beating them recently(and the prior beating and draw to that)and expected that kind of onslaught, spurred on by the same Kaiser Bill inadequacies that still sadly linger at the Brahn end of Germany, the power that club is quiet frightening when you go into it.
    Most people in Germany are more interested in the relegation battle at the bottom of the table than the boring “must win at all costs” of Bayern FC except when it comes to the neutral following Bayern in the CL.I personally don’t like the club, where as most of the other German league clubs are quite likable, in one perspective without Bayern the Bundesliga would be potentially much more interesting.
    My only lingering thought was how would the match have looked with both sides fielding players who weren’t able to play due to injury? Would have been interesting as Theo would have been a deadly weapon last night and Riberys presence would have also been tough to deal with and the Ox may well have stepped up in such a game, plus Hector was missed greatly, but I thought Le Debouche did his best after whats been a difficult time at the club so far.And Bayern exploited that considerably, in the first half with those clever curling crossing from their left, that just ripped our defense apart.Pep did his homework there.
    Many people are moaning about Thursday nights now but I dont have a problem with that, and I think we should give the EL a go, why not?
    I still think we came away with more dignity in the second half, and its a shame that some clear chances were denied which might have given the more open, end to end game of the second half a distinctly different look. I came away feeling sorry for Per who had a game that must have chipped away at his confidence,and in his home country with all eyes watching etc and yet Mesut really stepped up and had several sublime moments. You can see how much Kos means to us at the moment, Per seems more uncomfortable with Gabriel, but still time to click.
    Better to forget it, we had a damn good thrashing, but really it could have been 5-3, and we do have a great record against them including beating them several times. Best thing is to follow the way of Bayern and react by giving the Chickens a spank and a half at the weekend! Thanks again Andrew.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Sixty/seventy minute mark…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Can’t really comment on the write-up because I didn’t watch the game. Per said we lacked courage – it must have taken a little to do the review, so more power to you, Andrew.
    We got stuffed by the favourites for the whole competition – they looked excellent against us at the Ems too. I don’t know what’s required to get up to their level – they have that advantage that they can get every player they want from Germany and then supplement with others. Players of that quality are few and far between.
    So we just have to get up on the horse again. As many have pointed out, it’s not over yet as far as the CL is concerned and all to play for in the PL. Bloody annoying that we in an injury crisis again – now Bellerin and Kos are on the sidelines, which leaves us very thin on the bench. Spuds are playing well and will come with some confidence, especially if they win again this evening.


  11. It is our turn this week to get a little bonus from the PL and CL calendar I see. We have three games in eight days, Spuds three in six.


  12. wenger was very critical of our defending in 3 different interviews after the game last night, describing our defending as “woeful”, “terrible” and “awful”, he also said “we made it easy for them”

    I would say Munich played much better at the Emirates – especially the first 30 minutes – but the difference was that last night our defense played poorly and made mistakes, the chances BM created at the Emirates were from superb football, last night a lot of their chances came from our mistakes, and poor play. Per said we were afraid, and really it showed, one stat that summed up the performance of the back four last night, was that they only won 2 tackles all night, both by Debuchy, first one after the 60th minute and the second in the last 10 minutes.

    I have no idea why we are so prone to big mistakes that lead to goals, or more worryingly why we seem so prone to letting more goals in once we do fall behind, (even when we draw level) especially when we are so strong defensively when we are ahead in games, we have a record of something like 37 wins out of 38 games were we have scored first, which is staggeringly good.


  13. I see some ask why would playing in the EL be a drawback, and simply put it is because you play Sunday after EL games, and so most weeks at least a couple of our title rivals would have played on the Saturday, so extra pressure on us if they have won. Plus you will have matches where our opponents will be one of Utd, City or Cfc and they will have played CL on the Tuesday or Wednesday and we will have played on the Thursday, and knowing our luck they will have been at home and we will have been away and so prep time will be severely restricted. In many ways it might be better to finish bottom of the group if we don’t get second, although I’m one of those that would rather be in the EL than out of Europe altogether


  14. what are peoples view on the disallowed Ozil goal. The question I’d ask is if a defender played the ball in exactly the same way to prevent a goal would a penalty have been given, I don’t think it would be deemed a foul, and as same rules should apply then goal should have stood. I also think the official behind the goal was allowing the goal till the Bayern players crowded around him protesting, then he gave in to them and called a hand ball.


  15. It was a handball – sometimes you might get away with it but not last night- it was not deliberate but the ball hit his arm and went straight in – Mesut’s cheeky little grim indicated what he thought about it.


  16. I thought Ozil’s smile was one of disbelief that he was getting booked for it


  17. I only saw the second half, which we almost drew – and I enjoyed it, mainly because I didn’t have to worry about the result any more I suppose. Once they scored and saw ours disallowed they would have been able to play with a freedom and confidence that weren’t allowed them when they were at the Ems. Early first goals are very important – perhaps even more important to really good sides who find it easy to control games and tempo.
    The sort of comment that really irritates me is when people rub their hands, nod sagely and pronounce that “sadly player x had his limitations exposed: he is not quite up to this level.” There aren’t many players who are up to an away tie against Bayern in the competition they have probably prioritised this year. And guess what, we possibly had three players last night on the pitch who were up to that level. And maybe we have three others (at that level) who were at home injured. And that is all we can afford at the moment – and we couldn’t find anyone else this summer at that level who we could afford and who wanted to come to us. So we have to make do with the players who we have got and I reckon they have done pretty well for us so far this season and they will continue to try hard (as they did last night) and as far as I am concerned that is just fine.
    And I also think that just for once the club’s priority is the Premier League and that has become the players’ priority too. Sunday will be tricky because these games always are, but after a recovery day today there will be a real intensity and sense of purpose about the preparations.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Quite so Tim – you may recall that in 2013, not that long ago. a Bayern side beat Barcelona 4-0 at the Allianz then followed up with a 3-0 hammering at the Camp Nou – 7-0 on aggregate – ridiculous !

    And that Barca side included Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets, Pique, Alves etcetera etcetera – all the usual suspects – CL winners, World Cup wimmers.

    I remember watching Barca get torn apart that night and lucky to get out of Munich with just a 4-0 defeat.


  19. Look on the bright side though – we are not all worried about Karim Benzema and his latest brush with the law this afternoon



  20. Useful excercise to move on from last night’s game:


    I’d disagree with the author though. We have seen at every club he has been at that Jose falls out with flair players primarily because he tries to force them back from injuries early never mind all the other stuff. Last season Gazprom-upon-Fulham played the same 14/15 in their LC/CL/FA Cup and PL campaigns in an era where the schedule for players competing in the PL&CL is simply to much for any individual to play in every game. I don’t think that you can ignore the impact of not having any young players on the fringes of the 14/15 man core would have over the course of a season. Bayern and Barca and even Real to a degree have young players in their squads who will get more games then any of the younger players at Chelsea.

    Arsenal made a decision to push forward the development of the current promising crop of teenagers sending many of them out on loan, plus Gnabry, etc.* There was never any doubt that Jenkinson would be returning in the future, in my mind at least.
    These have been calculated decisions.

    Losing players of the quality of Welbeck, Wilshere and Rosicky never mind any others was going to catch up with the squad at some point when playing three times a week/ not forgetting internationals & the Xmas Crunch.

    When AFC win the European Cup I for one would prefer to see them do it as Champions. IBSF

    *Some grumbles that Hayden and Gnabbers haven’t been getting the minutes, hopefully they’ll recall Gnabry and loan him again to someone who’ll play him, Bourmouth etc, he still needs a decent run to complete his rehab.


  21. Good write up A5,
    We said before the game we needed to be at our best to get anything out of the game and unfortunately we weren’t. Basically Bayern are one of the top three sides in the world, where you put them matters not.
    The shame is the initial damage was done by bad mistakes and not their brilliance.
    The second goal was particularly poor leaving Nacho 2 on one only for the ball to be switched to the other side for the same situation to emerge. After saying we know the dangers and how ready we were I was hugely disappointed.
    Having said that there were some positives from yesterday s game, some of our quick interchanges were fantastic and we caused the Germans trouble if only in small patches.
    More disciplined against the spuds and we will be alright.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. One English Hack, whilst hacking away at his poor keyboard, he described the result as similar to one for a lower league Bundesliga team against Munchen. Just the usual anti-arsenal gibberish then, as alwasy slightly strange but there it is!:
    The most hated team in Germany have also put five past Dortmund and Wolfsburg at home this season.
    There was also no need for the flagrant yet minor tilting from the official (3rd goal was a bit of a stinker?). So, you can see why they are hated!

    As well as Bayern getting tonked by Barca, there was the occasion where the Specialist’s Madrid Galacticos without an injury crisis were hammered 4-1 by Dortmund.

    “Form is temporary
    being special is permamnent.

    I felt special after reading that!
    And consdiering that Aunty Bleeb were happy to interiew Uncle Mendes the Benevolant, well, that reassures me that the Specialist Facilitator won’t be moving on!
    The Capello Index could’ve been fun but he is an unlikely candidate after his spell with Russia.


  23. As far as the handball is concerned, the official has to consider how much of an advantage is gained. Mezut was a free kick however if the ball hits a defender with his arm against his body then you can understand why he is given the benifit of the doubt.


  24. I see poor old Tony Adams keeled over with heart problems in Azerbaijan but was revived by a local cardiac expert is recuperating in his Cotswold home.

    His Gabala lads take on Dortmund in a minute at the Westfalenstadion

    Fingers crossed Tony


  25. reports in Germany say that Low has decided to give Ozil the interlull off, cos he don’t get a winter break in England. wait till this is reported in the English meida as – off form Ozil dropped by Germany

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Andynic, you are a wise man!

    History is a valuable lesson, for we simple Arsenal fans.

    The Arsenal, then known as Woolwich Axxxxxx, did not win a game until March of one season. At the time, Arsenal was in a financial mess, as usual in those days, before World War I.

    Now to win a third FA Cup, as EPL Champions!



  27. The size of the defeat is the most disappointing for me – I hope it doesn’t dent the players confidence too much before Sunday. It was always a tricky game with no relief off the bench given our current injury situation. Fantastic consolation goal from the ‘donkey’ Giroud though.

    Thank goodness we dodged the Benzema bullet Andrew – imagine the field day the press would have had with him in a red shirt!

    Interesting theory about CFC Fins. He wore the players out last season and wasn’t allowed to replace them with more expensive mendes mules in the summer. Let’s see what he’s really made of when the chips are down.


  28. 5-1 is indeed a serious do’ing Pass – however if we faced that opposition week in and week out it would become familiar – pretend for a moment you are a Sunderland fan

    And on the topic of history NOTH there are those simpletons who will tell you a hard lesson and a beating by 5 goals never had a positive effect

    How few remember the stuffing we got at the Victoria ground in 70/71 after which we roared to our first Double ?


  29. To save you looking it up they beat us 5-0


  30. Good point Andrew, sometimes a tonking can be the inspiration to go on a winning run, other times it can destroy confidence and lead to a run of poor form. I sincerely hope it’s the former!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Didn’t see game, listened to 5Live…
    But I’ve seen the goals…
    That post was a very good overview…

    Gabriel was only center metres out, it’s unfair to coat him too much, Lewandowski is top class and made it look easy…
    Not sure about our disallowed goal, on another day if might have stood and then who knows?
    The weekend is the main course…

    Liked by 2 people

  32. I finally watched the game in totality. My biggest impression is how dominant they were in possession and ability to switch the ball from flank to flank pulling us out of shape for the killer passes vs our inability to get close and pressure the man in possession, forcing them to make backward passes or give up possession. Once we got some possession we offered some threat particularly in the 2nd half. This game convinced me even more how Ramsey, with his energy and technical ability, is a critical player for us in counter pressing teams like Bayern.

    Liked by 3 people

  33. We may have a little treat later for all you hungry readers looking for a little something to set you up for the NLD

    I shall say no more at present (taps nose meaningfully)

    Liked by 1 person

  34. The funny papers and petty plundits on the wireless are leading with the story Bellerin is out.

    This is the same player that they refused to include in their squad lists as they trolled the gullible at the start of last season with their “only six defenders”/”no outfield signings” gibberish.


  35. Rumours Germany might allow Özil a rest during these meaningless friendlies. To be honest I’d expect no less from a coach who won a WC through remarkable rotation and management of his players’ fitness. The first European WC winners in s.america?

    Hopefully my pleas to the Chilean manager, the Chilean people and the Chilean nation will not fall upon deaf ears this time around.


  36. For any who have not seen it quite an interview with AW in yesterday’s L’Equipe;


    with further coverage in the Guardian;


    Full article tomorrow


  37. Fins: Speaking of Alexis, he is looking off-color to me. He was quite sluggish vs Swansea and was marginally better vs Bayern imo. You know he is not playing well when he coughs up the ball more than usual. In his defence most times he was shadowed by at least two Munchen players. I really liked the patch when he ended on the right after Gibbs came on and it seem to disrupt the Bayern defensive scheme.

    Anyways he may or may not regain his form playing for Chile.

    Liked by 1 person


    Arsène Wenger has revealed the latest team news ahead of Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur”

    on the team news…
    From the unfortunate Wednesday night, we have no injuries. Players back for Sunday, we might have Koscielny and I think that it is. Arteta has a test tomorrow morning, Bellerin is a doubt already.

    on Koscielny’s chances…
    Eighty per cent. He will have a test tomorrow.

    on Debuchy and Bellerin…
    Mathieu needed a little competition. Game after game he has basic fitness and now with another game he should be better. Bellerin unfortunately will not be ready, I think he could be back after the break.

    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/20151106/team-news-koscielny-bellerin-arteta#hx6QZS8wGJTuqLDy.99


  39. anicoll5 – That link is in French. Thank heavens I use the Yandex browser, online translation.


  40. I have no idea what I use Shotts but the French text automatically translates into not too bad English – I never poke about under the bonnet


  41. Shotta no doubt staring Gibbo with Alexis on the right was an option considered before that game. He’s definitely been managing his legs at times in the last two games, but he did pull off some nice passing against Swansea, the combos with Özil including for the third, that sweet simple pass for Giroud early on following yet another bit of outrageous skill from Coquelin, so unlucky with Cazorla missing when he did the same against the minnows from Munchen- I’m super happy Deschamps left him out of his squd again! Debuchy should realise he’s in good company and buckle down.

    If we stick with the Superman hypothesis then going back to Chile and soaking up a little bit of sunshine whilst playing only the last five minutes of any matches (I really do hope the Chile manager is reading this!) could be just what Alexis needs before the last leaves fall from the trees.


  42. Fins: Then the period after Larry Giroud came off and he was playing central striker. That stank. Almost Podolski like, no?


  43. Oh yeah the tank was definitely empty by that stage of the game! If there were more options on the bench in think the plan would’ve been to swap one speedster for another.

    Swansea was not an easy game or opponent. People asked why Alexis wasn’t hooked off straight after the third goal, no doubt the coaches also thought about it.

    Whereas Muller, who still had his legs towards the end of the game, and one or two others for Munchen were given a rest for their previous game last Friday!


  44. George has dusted off the typewriter and has produced his Spuds’ preview – enjoy….


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