Where to start??
Another tough day at the office, and an even tougher result to absorb.
Here goes nothing……
We got off to a flyer for 5-6 minutes, creating a few chances with some fantastic football, but then the reality set in.
The most awful of crosses results in an awkward, bobbling ball to Kroos who finished it with as crisp a strike as you could hope to see.
The cross could have ended up anywhere, but it landed at the feet of a Bayern player, and more importantly, and unmarked one, who did the rest.
It was another in a long list of games we have fallen behind to an early goal, and teams like Bayern do not often let a lead slip, so we knew things were going to be tough from there.
It got worse through another goal conceded from a set piece.
Zonal marking – blame it or don’t, it is your choice, but any defensive system or set up only works when the defenders attack the ball or pressure their opponents,and, as is so often the case, we did neither.
Going 2-0 down meant there was no realistic chance of coming back, and our rash of early yellow cards made it that touch harder. From there, Bayern stepped up a gear, and were by far the better side for the majority of the first half, though we did have some good moments.
Half time came, and I think most of us believed changes needed to be made at that stage.
Unfortunately, Wenger disagreed.
It is impossible to say this definitely cost us, as we did have a promising spell early in the second half, and even managed to score a very soft goal via Podolski, proving that even the best of defensive units can make a hash of things, occasionally.
However, we definitely looked better when Rosicky came on, and some brilliant play, a world class move even, involving Tommy and others almost saw Giroud score a cracker, but it was not to be. If that at had gone in, we more than likely would have gone on to win the game, as we had some serious momentum, but as is always the case, when Arsenal make an error or waste a chance, we pay dearly.
Bayern scored a third and it was all over.
We had little luck go our way, but that is becoming the case too often to be coincidence.
We need to start making our own luck, and giving the opposition minimal chances to hurt us, and until this happens, we will continue to rue our “misfortune”. In the return leg, we have nothing to lose, so can go all out, but would need an early goal and send off to stand any chance at all.
Somebody mentioned the fact that it will be interesting to see how we go under no pressure in Munich.
I do not raise this to single the author out, or to ridicule the comment, as I agree with it, but the problem is we play in competitions where the pressure is always on, and a single lapse more often than not costs a goal.
Our guys must learn to handle the pressure and expectation, and if they can’t, must be moved on and replaced with players who know how to win.
I believe the players we put out there are good enough, or can be, but I wonder if THEY believe they are.
Certainly they are not playing to their full capabilities as a group, and that is obvious for all to see.
In spells we proved more than an equal for Bayern though, and that in itself is a positive, but consistency has been lacking at Arsenal for several years now, and that is one hell of a negative to overcome.
Jack, well he is our biggest positive and our biggest asset. We need one or two new players of his quality, and we need them soon, because a player that good deserves to have a top squad around him.
We lost, and 3-1 at home is never a good result of course, but over all, I don’t believe we played that badly, we just played a better side who took their chances and we did not.
Still, a 3-1 loss which could easily have been a 2-2 or 3-2 win at least says we are not a million miles away from the level required, but until we get those few top class players, and start finding some consistency, we will remain not good enough.
We can now focus on beating the other mob into 4th spot, and like it or not, it is probably all we have left to play for, though not a trophy!!
I will leave the player ratings for everyone else to discuss.
One last comment.
I did not see one single instant where our boys threw in the towel or did not try. Playing terrible football and not trying are two vastly different things, and I think too many see them as one in the same. They are not and the look on our guys faces after the game showed they are hurting, so criticise their performances, but not their endeavour, please.
Written by Scott from Oz.