Ever since Mills explained to us all how the concept of luck is one we ought to abandon I have attempted to remove it from the arsenal of verbiage which I bring to bear on these pages. The problem I’ve discovered is, as with all proscribed words, one simply finds new ways to say the same thing. As much as we can philosophically and logically dismiss the very existence of fortune we still perceive it weaving an arbitrary thread through our lives.
Allow me one illustration if you will. As I sit and write these words I am listening to the rain coming down in a steady, relentless effusion. This downpour was just getting into its stride as my daughter and I crossed the threshold of her driveway having taken our dogs on their morning constitutional. We had walked for the best part of an hour in unseasonally warm and above all dry conditions and agreed that we had dodged a bullet, been, if you will, extraordinarily lucky.
Yesterday evening, coming home from a valiant attempt to present a radio show through a stifling head cold, I wondered at the hand fortune has dealt Arsène this season. The brickbats he has received in the past for finishing second in the group stages of the Champion’s League have been as hysterical as they have been unwarranted. The simple fact is you have to beat some good teams to win any cup competition regardless of when you meet them.
So this season he delivers the first place finish demanded of him by the snotty nosed ingrates among his ‘fan’ base and what happens? The runners up in his group go on to meet the mighty Barcelona who, on last night’s evidence at least, appear a mere shadow of their former mighty selves. The one year when finishing second and facing the Catalans might have been a desirable outcome he has the rank bad luck to steer his side to a two legged tie with the wholly more efficient German champions.
Let’s pull no punches we have not been in the best form of late. As ever injuries and international duties have created instability at the heart of the midfield, these, combined with Xhaka’s suspensions are, I would hazard, at the root of our problems. We have, in spite of these issues, managed to grind out enough results to keep us in contention but against the real form team were found wanting.
So what does this all mean for tonight’s game? Clearly we can’t rely on luck but it would be nice and indeed useful to catch a few breaks this evening. We’re playing one of the tournament favourites at their own ground whence very few foreign teams return victorious. Bayern have, in their last five matches conceded only one goal and scored eleven. No one is underestimating the scale of the hill we need to climb tonight.
So let’s look on the positive side. They can be beaten. Dortmund, Rostov and both the Madrid sides have done so this season. Arsenal has beaten them in this very competition and in Munich to boot. Olivier Giroud scores against Manuel Neuer for fun. When facing two legged tie I always feel happier playing away from home in the first match. Come back with a goal and then a draw or a narrow defeat is anything but a disaster.
Whatever happens banish all thoughts that it might have been us thrashing Barcelona last night and remember that this is only the preliminary. Nothing will be decided after the final whistle, we shall be at half time with everything still to play for on March the seventh.
Above all remember that no matter how unconvincing we’ve been in the league recently we still possess some of the finest players in the world and one of if not the finest manager in the world. No one gave us a chance in any of the great historic European nights in our history so why should we pay any attention to the negative ninnies who write us off before a ball has even been kicked? Remember these are the same voices who predicted with total confidence that we had blown our chance of topping the group in the first place. They were wrong then and they can be wrong again tonight.
If you are travelling to München or have already arrived then may I recommend the Augustiner Keller which can be a whole lot of fun even in the cold weather. If like me you can’t manage to get away to watch the match in person then you can always recreate the atmosphere by having your family members dress in shorts and braces and splash you with Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissebier while delivering a lusty chorus of Hände zum Himmel. If nothing else it might drown out or at least distract you from the awful commentary in which BT Sport so prides itself.
Wherever and however you are watching I hope you have an enjoyable experience and that the result sets us up for an exciting second leg. My prediction is a three nil away win with Ospina saving a penalty and Giroud scoring all three goals. Whatever the score though, I won’t be unhappy to see a return to ‘Lucky Arsenal’ in tomorrow’s headlines. Has a certain ring to it don’t you think?
I had been on the lookout for a Bayern ticket but the ticket exchange has been solidly empty – not a single spare
Just looked now and seats put in and available in every single section.
What a club – what a club.
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I didn’t see the first half, but fucking 10 minutes of madness undone us.
Not impressed with most of the Arsenal players I saw in second half.
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Coquelin wasn’t at fault for the first goal. Ozil watched Robben stroll right past him.
if wenger should go this way, it will really be unfortunate. from this game, he needs to be more ruthless for the rest of the season. call the bluff of any player and play our best in the fa cup. he needs to go on a high.
ospinaaaa is a world class!
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I would have started this team.
And I would have made sure none of them were injured at any stage during the season, or the match. It’s the injuries that do for us. And sometimes the refs.
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layksite if only coq had actually kept shadowing robben then no first goal, he fucked up, he done the wrong thing, for no apparent reason. As for him doing the dirty work, he did not do that tonight, no tackles and 5 passes. by the way Ozil actually won the most tackles of any of our players(5), go figure.
and foreverheady, sometimes our own players.
DC, they carved us open by just dropping Alonso and Thiago back. They’d just drop back and have all the time in the world to pick out their passes. It was incredible.
And to think just 24 hours ago I was smirking – good word smirking – at Barcelona
(Twistie face banned thing)
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I would’ve started Giroud. Last time we played Bayern we were competitive because Giroud was able to keep possession up top.
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wenger only answered 3 questions in his post match press conference, it lasted 3 minutes.
Yes Eduardo – sometimes our own players. But I don’t think it is for me to call them out. If they ever upset me that much I’ll just stop watching.
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I think you can still smirk Andy Nic. After all they need to score 5 to get through, whereas just the 4 will do for us.
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afcstuff @afcstuff 1h1 hour ago
Eamonn Dunphy: “When Gabriel came on, I rushed to the phone & had a bet. You can’t replace Koscielny with him & expect nothing to happen.”
The game is up.
But now is not the time, and certainly not the place, to forget our core beliefs.
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Matt Spiro Verified account@mattspiro
Koscielny on #beINSports: ‘The dressing room must stay strong. There’ll be meetings to clarify certain things. But we must stick together’
our lot have more meetings than Alcoholics Anonymous
The game is never ever up
We are a football club
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Positively Arsenal @Blackburngeorge 13m13 minutes ago
Arsenal are like the Mary Celeste, the ship is fine but the crew have gone missing.
Wenger: Bayern are a better team than us
By Arseblog News Hound –
February 15, 2017
Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal need a miracle to stay in the Champions League after being outclassed by Bayern Munich 5-1 at the Allianz Arena.
The Frenchman looked dejected as he faced the BT Sport cameras acknowledging that Carlo Ancelotti’s side were the better team.
On a brutally punishing second half…
It’s difficult to explain. I felt that just before half time we had two good chances to make it 2-1. We were unlucky on the second goal because the referee [initially] gives a corner for us, there were two balls on the pitch and we had four players not there. On top of that in the second half we lost Koscielny [to injury] very quickly, he came off at 1-1, and suddenly it looked like we collapsed mentally. Overall, I must say, they are a better team than us. They played very well and we dropped our level. We were a bit unlucky as well. Overall, well done to Bayern, they were better than us.
On whether there was more to the collapse than Koscielny’s absence…
I don’t look for excuses. It’s an explanation, because we were quite solid defensively. It’s very difficult just after a game [to analyse], it’s a shock as well to lose at that level and on top of that we made everything wrong – the fifth goal shows that.
On putting up a fight in the first half…
Yeah, we were [in control at the end of the first half]. These kind of games you need a bit of luck on your side and you need to be focused for 90 minutes. I felt that the third goal was a killer for our players. After that we had no real response.
On the result being one of the most disappointing of his 20 years…
How I feel is not the most important thing. Of course, it’s disappointing. Of course [it will take a miracle], we need to recover first and focus on our next game [against Sutton United].
i dont need to figure anything edu. i watch the game and i know coq wasnt at fault for the any of the goals. you know whats funny with many of the coq haters? it all started when some demented guys came out with the stats that we lost more when coq played than when he didnt. fans need to think for thamselves and not someone giving some fucking stats to discredit some players they have agenda against. remember when they said ospina was a disaster.
layksite, if you watched the game then you should know coquelin fucked up big time on the first goal, and had like many others a very poor game. As I stated earlier probably only Ospina played to the required level tonight, maybe kos too. after that our play was littered with mistakes and poor passing.
Honestly can’t remember a worse performance for many a long year, and we have a fair few bad ones to pick from.
Wenger will get nearly all the blame, but for me the players have a lot to answer for. Wenger called it a collapse and I’ve rarely seen him so down in a post match press conference.
Wenger said in an interview before the game that he would make a decision on his future in March or April, I can only think that tonight’s result will go a long way to his decision. I just don’t think he will stay on.
Wenger’s 3 minute, 3 question press conference
‘The last 25 minutes were a nightmare’
Arsène Wenger felt we were made to pay the price for a disastrous final 25 minutes in Allianz Arena on Wednesday night.
The boss faced the assembled media after the final whistle – and here’s what he had to say:
on the game…
It was a strange game, because I feel in the first half we played quite well. We had some good chances just before half-time. After, we got a few blows – the first to Koscielny, and then we conceded two goals in minutes 53 and 56. On the second goal we were really [let down] because it was a corner for us, we had five players in the box and there were two balls on the pitch when they started again. The real problem we faced was after the third goal, because we lost our organisation and we looked mentally very jaded. From that moment on, the last 25 minutes were a nightmare for us because we looked like we had no response.
on why Koscielny going off had such an effect…
If you ask me would I have loved to have kept Laurent Koscielny on the pitch, I’d say ‘yes’. After that, it’s difficult to measure the real impact. We have to cope with the result. No matter what we say now, it will be turned in a way that is detrimental to us, because we had an extremely bad result tonight.
on why the players looked mentally jaded in a game of this importance…
I think it was difficult to swallow the two goals after minutes 53 and 56. I think we have to analyse that, but it looks like that from outside. We lost our organisation, we lost our centre back. But after the third one it was a combination of [mentality] and organisation. Before that, we controlled them quite well.
Copyright 2017 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/20170215/-the-last-25-minutes-were-a-nightmare-#pkQCwiaTRXvyCkYG.99
Bielik makes Birmingham City debut
Krystian Bielik made his debut for Birmingham City in a 2-1 defeat at Preston. Callum Robinson opened the scoring before Lukasz Jutkiewicz levelled for the Blues. Jordan Hugill scored the winning goal 12 minutes from time.
Stephy Mavididi made his first start as Charlton Athletic went down 1-0 away to Oldham Athletic, playing 82 minutes before being substituted. Ollie Banks scored the game’s only goal.
Chuba Akpom played the final eight minutes of Brighton’s 1-1 home draw with Ipswich Town. Lewis Chambers scored for the Tractor Boys before Tomer Hemed equalised from the penalty spot.
Matt Macey kept his first clean sheet for Luton Town as the Hatters won 3-0 at home to Hartlepool United. Danny Hylton opened the scoring, before Luke Gambin and Ollie Palmer both found the net.
Marc Bola played the entirety of Notts County’s 2-2 draw with Exeter City. David Wheeler and Ryan Harley gave the Grecians a two-goal lead, before strikes from Ryan Duffy and Joel Grant in added time saw the Magpies claim a point.
Kelechi Nwakali played the full 90 minutes as Maastricht drew 1-1 away at Ajax II. Noussair Mazraoui gave the hosts the lead before Alessandro Ciranni’s leveller
Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20170215/bielik-makes-birmingham-city-debut#Za9PkWhz6bgdquwC.99
Positively Arsenal @Blackburngeorge 8m8 minutes ago
My prediction for Arsenal is that there will be big changes, and nothing will change.
Matt Spiro @mattspiro 1h1 hour ago
Koscielny says felt pain 1st half, strapped leg but felt more pain after stretching for ball, didn’t want to risk longer absence #beINSports
If we’re going to use this place to bash the players, I’ll be back when people regain their senses. They hurt more than any of us, I promise you that. And they know they’ve let Arsene down. They don’t need you to tell them. And before you reply with your “yeah but if they really cared…”, save it. None of us has any idea what it’s like to be them right now.
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well alabama if none of us know what its like to be them now, how then can we say they hurt more than any of us, or that they know they let the boss down. Their bitching at each other during the game looked more like many of them were blaming everyone else for the performance. Little sign of taking responsibility for the performance. We’ve already heard the “we will be having meetings to clarify” what went wrong, just like after Watford, and Chelsea and several other games this season. It seems no clarity is has been forthcoming at any of the meetings so far.
That was poor, very poor, think the managers expression said more than we can articulate. Again, no lack of effort, perhaps a lack of spirit, coordination and who knows what else.
I am not going to call out individuals, because I don’t think it is an individual thing going on, but a top team cannot get away with defending like that, and not for the first time.
We don’t know what the future holds, I believe Wenger when he says this seasons events will determine his future. Perhaps this alone is unsettling players, maybe they know things we do not.
I know I preach to the converted, but let’s just back them, and let the future take care of itself.
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Monday 20th, away to Sutton is our next game, and then there is a 12 day gap till Liverpool away on Saturday 4th March.
I just finished watching the game. We were beaten by a superior team who were clinical when they had their chances unlike us. The remarkable thing is we had two presentable chances in the 1st 10 minutes of the 2nd half to make it 1-2. Ozil had only the keeper to beat and Neur saved. 15 minutes later we were down 4-1. Almost all their attempts went in.
I noticed it is now the accepted wisdom in the media and their mindless parrots that Leicester’s decline is primarily down to Kante leaving . It may or may not be true. But the media presents not a shred of data to back up their claim.
Contrast this with how little attention is given how Arsenal is is substantially less effective without Santi Cazorla. I spent at least two blogs this season giving multiple data showing how. Today was again another classic example. Arsenal’s possession was only 25%. We could hardly get out of our half. Both Ozil and Sanchez look useless. If they came deep or hang long they hardly never get the ball. Poor old Coquelin is expected to be both a ball winner and a passer, excelling at neither.
People tend to minimize the role of a great player who is the technical leader (thanks WWWB). It is hardly unusual that in great teams one single player holds the key. In my opinion take Dennis Bergkamp out of Arsenal there would never have been the Invincibles. In fact, because of his fear of flying he missed several Champions league games we never did well. Yet everybody agrees the Invincibles were a great team.
All the uber managers and critics who, I am sure, loved this lineup when it was announced are now treating the same players as orphans, disowning them left, right and center. Who is gonna stand up and speak the truth that we are an inferior team without Santi. That will be the subject of my next blog.
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I am not buying into this lack of effort, lack of spirit accusations. It is much too easy a diagnosis and a way to disparage the quality of the opponent. The players were wisely instructed to sit back and counter. But being on the back foot most of the time, bad things can happen especially vs a great team. If you don’t have quality players to lead you out of your trouble you will eventually concede. so we did.
let me also add that there is always two or three players in a team that do connect and have great pairing. whenever one of them is out, the team feels it badly. coq and santi together are our best midfield pairing. they both compensated for each other’s weaknesses. i remeber santi struggled as well when coq was out injured. but no one will mention that because it doesnt suit the naratives. we were doing so well with both in the team early in the season and coq practically kept xhaka on the bench. no one here then talk about coq being shit. arteta ramsey also come to mind, same with cesc flamini hleb. whenever any member of the puzzle is missing, the team hadly do well.
As I said, there’s too much weight on the players shoulders now currently. They seem stressed every big game, overly desperate to play attacking football, fan pressure. Playing with absolutely no belief anymore.
The weight of the Wenger situation is obviously too much for them to handle. They need a fresh start. If only we could have duplicate AW without the burden of the last 2 years.
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