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Rabiot and Khedira deals on. Podolski off. Time to Stop the Rot!

August 16, 2014

Morning all.


Goal.com report that Lukas Podolski could soon be a gonner with both Galatasary and Besiktas showing an interest although a return to Germany could be favoured.

Adrien Rabiot has turned down the offer of a new contract at PSG and the 19 year old will now be sold. The Express believe for as little as £5 million as his contract expires next summer. We have been linked with the midfielder over the last few weeks so it’s no surprise that Jose Mourinho now has an interest in the player. That’s how he works, anything he can to in attempt to get one over Arsene Wenger, he will try his hardest to do so. The same newspaper believe that it’s a straight fight between us and Chelsea for his signature.

The same goes for Sami Khedira. Real Madrid don’t want their player to walk for free next summer and according to reports, he’s up for grabs for just £8 million. Mourinho wants him too strangely enough, so if he’s a player that Arsene Wenger wants, another battle with the under tall one will take place.

Per Mertesacker has called time on his International career. Good, Arsenal will benefit.

Winning the World Cup was the best possible end to 10 years in the national team. I’ve moved aside to let younger players take over.

We don’t have to fret about the future, we are better equipped than ever before. I’m happy that I’ve been able to play for so long, happy that people have trusted in me.

I’m still hungry for more titles, but I want to win them with Arsenal – to win the league, perhaps have a go at the Champions League. We’ve got a taste for silverware now, after winning the FA Cup.

I’m a world champion but you can’t let yourself go because of that. There are new challenges. I’m vice-captain at Arsenal and I know that I have more responsibilities now. I want to achieve big things with the club.

Having more time off for your legs and your head is not a bad thing in that respect – especially at my old age.

I’m still unsure why both he and Podolski aren’t back and ready to play today as neither were heavily involved in Germany’s campaign. I think Tomas Rosicky needs to do the same…..

Football is a funny old game isn’t it.

Over the last couple of years, many fans have called for Arsene Wenger to be sacked, some of us were less cruel and merely hoped he’d walk away gracefully when his contract expired, always believing that a new broom would sweep clean…

But, that situation didn’t materialise. Arsene Wenger signed a new three year contract, Ivan and his merry men have since been reasonably busy in the transfer window and we are looking in good shape. Yes we still need 2/3 more signings but fingers crossed at least two will arrive before the transfer window closes.

Meanwhile, Tony Pulis, the man who almost single handedly, not only saved Crystal Palace from relegation last season, but secured his side 11th place in the Premier League and was voted manager of the season by many, has walked out on his club. Apparently he made the decision after a breakdown over talks for a new contract.

Don’t get me wrong, Pulis is far from ever being on my Christmas card list, but I’m not stupid enough to not see just what he achieved last season and Crystal Palace may have just made a huge mistake.

Like I say, football is a funny old game, or rather football club owners are a funny old breed….

The odds are stacked against Palace today, with a roll over predicted by many. This time last season we all thought the same on the opening day of the season and none of us need reminding of what happened. We cannot start the same way again, we really can’t. The Emirates is our home and this season we have to make it our fortress. We’ve had a pretty good pre-season and last weekends victory should give the players a lot of confidence.

The fans should be up for the new campaign too and they need to make the stadium a much more hostile place to visit. Get behind the boys from the off and don’t let up all season regardless of how it unfolds. The players need us, 100% in every game.

Team news:

Our three German World Cup winners all sit this one out but Laurent Koscielny should be fit after an Achilles problem and David Opsina is still a couple of weeks away from a return so young Emiliano Martinez will be our reserve keeper. Diaby is tipped to be included in the squad too….

Calum Chambers, Alexis Sanchez and Mathieu Debucy should all make their Premier League debut and is there a better place for them to do so?

No, we are at home, we’re at The Emirates and we are The Arsenal!

We haven’t won our opening fixture for the last four seasons so it’s time to change that horrid record today.

Go kick this season off with a massive three points Arsenal…



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Are words needed?? Hull & Arsenal join as one…..

May 17, 2014

Hull City fans and Arsenal fans are set to join together as one 56 minutes into today’s FA Cup Final at Wembley to remember the victims of the Valley Parade fire.

Last weekend marked the 29th anniversary of the disaster, in which 56 people lost their lives after a fire took hold in the main stand as Bradford City played Lincoln City.

Although no official mark of remembrance has been planned for today, Hull City and Arsenal supporters will be holding a minute’s applause on 56 minutes

So low key compared to the publicity Hillsborough got and keeps on getting, yet so many lives lost…..


photo (11)


She wore, She wore, She wore a yellow ribbon!

She wore a yellow ribbon in the merry month of May.

And when, I asked, her why she wore that ribbon.

She said its for the Arsenal and we’re going to Wembley!

Wembley! Wembley! We’re the famous Arsenal and we’re going to Wembley..



Horrid moment!!

Horrid to witness.....



What a mess....


Heartbreaking to watch....

And Heartbreaking….

What more does Arsene Wenger need to see?

What more do the players need to see?

What we fans don’t need to see is a replication of the scenes we all witnessed after our last trip to Wembley!

There should be no need for words.

This is an FA Cup Final and every single person involved at Arsenal should know what that means.

Pride, passion, attitude and 100% commitment….

Get out there boys and give everything you have to make sure this trophy with the big ears comes home and you all join the greats who have done so before you….

Can we??

Can we??




Giroud has the bug! Ramsey misses out & Why can’t we play like that Arsene?

April 28, 2014

Morning all.

Begrudgingly, well done to Luis Suarez and Eden Hazard who were last night voted Player of the Year and Young Player of the year respectively. Had Aaron Ramsey not suffered injury, I’m sure he would have scooped one of those awards……

We can only dream of playing the kind of football Chelsea played yesterday can’t we?

Ok, it was pretty grim on the eye but Jose did his homework, he knew that Liverpool would go all out to attack with pace so he set up his side to nullify everything they offered and succeeded.

I personally loved watching Steven Gerrard slip to let Demba Ba in to score their first and watching them walk the second in was the perfect ending.

Please don’t for one minute think I am keen on either Chelsea or their ‘orrid little manager, but out of the two sides on show, I dislike the one in red more than I do the one in blue.

If only Arsene Wenger could have set us up in a similar way went we travelled to places like Anfield, Goodison and of course Stamford Bridge this season, maybe we wouldn’t have taken such a battering…..

He didn’t of course, I doubt he ever will but if we are going to ever win the league again, he needs to learn how to and fast…..

Funny how Jose moaned a few weeks ago when Big Sam did the same to his side though, but there you go……

Olivier Giroud believes the club is on the verge of having a very good season:

There are three league matches left that are all as important as the cup final. They are important, because of fourth place and the Champions League. We have closed the book on the FA Cup, we will open it again on May 17.

If we finish fourth, we have not lost anything and it will be a good season. I think that if we finish fourth, that will be a successful season. And the FA Cup, if we win, would be a bonus.

To finish fourth is almost crucial for the club. We would like to end well and finish fourth.

Hmm, I think our French striker has caught the ‘4th spot is a trophy bug’! 

A home fixture tonight of course and against a Newcastle side who are on a dreadful run of results having lost the last five matches.

We have perked up a bit since our FA Cup semi-final win and have recorded two victories on the trot which is a rarity this year…


Captain Thomas Vermaelen is fit again, whether he comes in at left back remains to be seen though as Nacho Monreal is fit and healthy, although Kieren Gibbs remains on the sidelines. Diaby was involved in training yesterday but he misses out having suffered a minor hamstring injury. 

Newcastle have Ben Arfa missing despite being declared fit, Papiss Cisse and Luuk de Jong remain sidelined but Moussa Sissoko, who has missed the last three fixtures through injury, could return. Also returning is Alan Pardew who has been missing after his head-butting ban. Hope that doesn’t perk his players up….


  • In the corresponding fixture last season, Arsenal won 7-3.
  • Arsenal have won their last four league matches against Newcastle and are unbeaten in six against the Magpies.

Finishing 4th does not mean we have had a good season, getting that place and the FA Cup will do though, even though we all know the cracks will still have been papered over.

Fourth spot is ours for the taking now after Everton slipped up at the weekend so unless we totally faff up our remaining fixtures, we’ll head into the summer transfer window knowing Champions League football is secure, well, as long as we can win the qualifying fixture in August.

We are at home, we’ll have the Emirates faithful right behind the team so all we need to see is a solid professional display and three points in the bag…..

4th spot is hardly anything to get too excited about I know but it has it’s rewards.

A victory tonight and then again at the weekend will mean the big boys can have a break before our trip to Wembley and maybe a few of the fringe players and the likes of Akpom etc can head off to Norwich and do themselves proud.


That’s your lot, have a good day….



Ding Ding, Round One! Arsene Wenger IS staying put!

April 20, 2014

Morning all…

Happy Easter Sunday, a day to celebrate for many reasons. .

Nom Nom.....

Nom Nom…..

Here in the Uk,  we mark the occasion by wasting many pounds on chocolate eggs which if melted down would barely equal a couple of squares of a slab of Cadbury dairy Milk.

Value for money? Not in a million years……

Do we still buy them, oh yes we do….

Can’t imagine why that makes me think about a few players who Arsene Wenger has signed…. ;)

The odds are clearly stacked in our favour today but to be honest that means very little. After all, who would have thought that Chelsea would have been beaten at home yesterday by bottom of the league Sunderland.. A 77 match home winning record gone up in smoke, or should I say gone up in Sunderland…

Jose was livid after the game and mad his feelings clear about how the FA are the ones who have decided where this seasons Premier League trophy will end up and who can argue with his view. But this is just one season out of many where Mike Riley and his merry men have had a huge influence on the league winners.

And we have had too many things go against us over the years which suggest that Arsenal and Arsene Wenger are clearly not one of Riley’s favourites. Stinks doesn’t it!

Enough. Back to today…

Three points today will take us very close to securing that 4th spot and although I know that in itself is no great feat, it’s huge for us when it comes to the summer and signing players…

Regardless of all of that, we are Gooners and we all want our boys to win and today is no exception to that rule!


  • These sides have only met on 17 occasions in all competitions, Arsenal have won 11 of them (L3, D3).
  • The Gunners have also won four of the five Premier League meetings, including both of Hull’s home games.
  • Nicklas Bendtner’s first Arsenal goal since March 2011 helped them beat Hull 2-0 in the reverse fixture on 4 December.

A dress rehearsal for the FA Cup Final today and a game we must win.

Nacho Monreal is back fit and Mesut Ozil should join him, whether or not both will play is another matter as surely Arsene Wenger will stick with the players who did well against West Ham in the second half.

If w can emulate that kind of work ethic and finishing quality, we should come away with three points and a psychological advantage for the trip to Wembley in May.

I know it’s not the title we are fighting for, but I hope we can finish this season off by playing some good football, and getting maximum points.

And who knows, there might even be a trophy at the end of it…..

Finally, Arsene Wenger is staying beyond the summer according to the Mirror. He’s told the board/Kroenke a while ago that he’d extend his new contract and he intends to stand by that decision saying:

I never go back on it.

COYRRG’s, three points and keep Everton behind us….



Remember the last time? Go Grab it Arsenal!!

April 12, 2014

Morning all.

Three times we have met Wigan in the Domestic Cups, the last being the Carling Cup semi-final back in 2006.

It was a two-legged affair and not a good one!

Having lost at their place 1-0, we returned to Highbury needing just a victory by two clear goals to see us through.

We scored, taking the second leg into extra time and scored again to take a 2-1 advantage. All we had to do is hold on and we were into the final…

However, Jason Roberts struck with just seconds left and that was enough to send us packing by the away goal rule…

Funny enough, it was a defensive mix up which led to that winning goal, just as it was at Wembley in 2011……

Both sides are very different to what they were back then though and of course, Wigan were a Premier League side whereas now they are fighting hard in the Championship to try and regain that status. We, well things are pretty much the same, still fighting for that 4th spot and hoping our trophy drought will finally come to an end….

Today, we could take a huge step towards making that happen IF every person, player and coaches alike, give 100% from start to finish.

And we are going to have to because you can bet your bottom dollar, Wigan will!

Uwe Rosler has done his homework:

I watched the game last Sunday and it was another very impressive lesson from Roberto, tactically how Everton approached the game. 

Not a lot of people focused on how disciplined and how focused Everton Football Club operated in the first 20-25 minutes without the ball.

Everybody knows Roberto is focused on ball possession but how well the team worked against the ball at the beginning of game was very impressive.

There were good pictures for me to learn from and also take one or two things on board, like I did with Manchester City in the last round.

In the last round, Wigan went to the Etihad and withstood everything Manchester City threw at their goal, barring the one blip of course and they managed to do what only one other English club has managed to do all season and that’s come away with a win.

That’s the FA Cup for you, it’s all about one game on one day and giving your all, getting the right result and waiting for the next round, the next chance to pounce and get the unexpected result.

Not only have Wigan beaten Manchester City, they have also beaten PL sides, Cardiff and Crystal Palace in order to get to Wembley today.

So yes, respect what they have done, now let’s go and put an end to their great run!!

We have beaten Tottenham, Coventry City, Liverpool and Everton – all tough opponents and two of whom have battered us in the league.

League form goes out the window today, our poor league performances must go out the window, today is about 90 minutes, or 120 if that’s what it takes of non-stop 100% commitment, togetherness, organisation and passion.

It’s also about our manager having done his homework, he has to know what to expect from Rossler and his team and play in a way which will not only stop their threat but to know how to exploit any weaknesses the Championship side have.

Let’s not be another victim of of an FA Cup upset.

This is the best chance we have had in a long while to get to an FA Cup Final.

Go and grab it Arsenal!!





3 clubs can catch us, we have to win!!

April 6, 2014

Morning all.

Seriously, Everton, the Totts and Manchester United can catch us, even overtake us and nab that 4th, and last Champions League place!

We have to be focussed, we have to be united and we have to be strong. Certainly a lot stronger than we have been since Christmas.

Yes we can moan about injuries, we can moan about refereeing decisions in fact we can moan about anything we choose can’t we, as long as it makes us feel better and helps to brush away the the reality. That reality is that we are where we are right now because of Arsene Wenger, the club, and of course the players….

But we’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt, now it’s all about putting every last bit of effort into each and every remaining fixture we have and that starts today!!

The manager needs to get his selection right, he needs to send the right players out onto the pitch in the right frame of mind and get them playing the right way to win this football match.

And the players he selects, need to give everything they have within from start to finish!!

Aaron Ramsey is back which really is good news. Whether he starts or not remains to be seen but just knowing a player who was hugely influential to our great run up until Christmas is fit and ready to play again, is just what the team and us fans needed to hear.

Kieran Gibbs is a doubt but these days that is not such an issue because behind him is a fit Nacho Monreal.

Everton midfielder Ross Barkley is expected to be fit despite suffering  an injury against Fulham last week. Phil Jagielka and Steven Pienaar remain on the injured list.


  • Everton are without a win in their last 14 matches in all competitions against Arsenal.
  • The last three league meetings have all been drawn.
  • Everton’s last victory over the Gunners came at Goodison Park in March 2007 (1-0).

Everton are having a really good season. They have won their last five league games, their longest winning run since November 2002 and no team has lost fewer games in the Premier League this season than them. Added to that, they have only suffered one home defeat during this seasons campaign!

Mind you, so have we!!

We’ve had a torrid time of late, winning just three of our last 10 Premier League games (W3, D4, L3).

We have been pretty average, no, make that dreadful away from home having been battered very early on at both Anfield and Stamford Bridge but today that has to change. Martinez will have watched both of those games and no doubt he will tell his players to get at us from the off. We have to be ready for that early bombardment and deal with it. Not just roll over and fade away.

No more early kick off excuses and no more turning up and not being ready to fight either.

We have a great group of players, and today those players need to fight tooth and nail to get a result and they can do just that.

If they really want to…..







Sagna to City? Final chance for Arsene Wenger to get 3 points against a top four side this season….

March 29, 2014

Morning all.

Would Bacary Sagna really sign for Manchester City?

Would you blame him if he did?

Apparently, we have now caved in and offered the right-back a new three year contract but still he hasn’t signed…

Not so many years ago, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri made the move to Manchester, not to the red side of course, but the blue side. You know the one, the one which had and still has very wealthy owners and a squad which we as Arsenal fans, if honest, would admit nothing other than envy for….

When both players left, and let’s forget that Adebayor was another, many Arsenal fans suggested and maybe even screamed that all they wanted was a bigger pay packet.

Well, even if money was the initial attraction, surely it can’t be denied that those players who decided to move have been totally vindicated? Ok they haven’t won vast amounts of trophies yet but it must be fun playing in a side with so many top players.

I’m not trying to heap loads of praise on a club which has bucket loads of money and who are prepared to ‘buy’ their way to any trophy they can get their hands on but what I will do is praise a manager who is willing to say, ‘you give me the money and I will spend it and try to make us a great side’.

And there’s the difference.

Not only that, the City owners tried with one manager and gave him time but it failed. Roberto Mancini was like a kid in a sweet shop as he signed players. But what he didn’t do was sign players he needed to fill the gaps in his squad and therefore, his side was always unbalanced. (Ring any bells?)

Yes he won a couple of trophies but he could and maybe should have done so much better considering the amount of money he spent. The City owners clearly thought that too as he was sacked and in came Manuel Pellegrini it looks like he’s about to make his side a side for the long haul…

Pellegrini is no spring chicken though is he?

No, he’s 60 years old, just a few years younger than Arsene Wenger, yet he knows how to sign wingers, he knew which striker to sign in the summer to make his attack just that bit stronger and when it comes to playing attacking football, is there really a better side to watch?

But this isn’t meant to be all about Manchester City, it’s about a manager who has money and is prepared to spend it for the good of the club and the fans.

It’s about an older manager who has a younger mans footballing ideas, a manager who has the ability to get his players to play out his ideas on the pitch.

Arsenal FC have the money and to be honest, we have the bulk of players we need to play fantastic football but, what we don’t seem to have is the manager who can beat those around him. A manager who can take us from trophy chasers to trophy winners. A manager who will make us strong again and turn us into a side which doesn’t crumble at the first sign of trouble.

Today we face Manchester City…..

The old ‘newbie’ in the Premier League against who appears to be the old ‘has been’….

If Arsene Wenger wins this battle today, I’ll be very shocked but very very pleasantly surprised.

Should we win, it would mean Arsene Wenger has out thought and finally beaten one of the clubs who sit above us in the league for the first time this season and with it, prove he’s not completely out of ideas….

We need a win and we need it badly because sadly, not only are the clubs ahead of us creeping further ahead, the clubs behind us are catching us up……

COYRRG’s, give us fans something to be proud of today!!

Go get those desperately needed three points……


Defender hints at staying & Biggest game of the Season says Arsene…

March 22, 2014

Morning all.

Much speculation surrounds the future of Thomas Vermaelen but here’s a big hint that he’s staying put whilst talking about his manager and his 1000th game:

It’s incredible – not a lot of managers do that nowadays because they come in and out, so for him to achieve 1,000 games is something unbelievable.

Everybody wants him to stay as long as he can. He’s been incredible with what he’s done for this club and for the players as well.

We would be really happy to see him signing on for a few more years. If you see him off the pitch there’s always a lot of hunger in him and a lot of ambition still. He’s not losing that at all.

So the captain wants Arsene to stay, which suggests he wants to stay and play for him, the players want him to stay and the man himself wants to stay…..

So my guess is, he’s staying…….

Sometimes, some people just really do let themselves down don’t they and Jose Mourinho did just that yesterday.

On a day when so many managers paid tribute to Arsene Wenger for reaching such a milestone, the poison dwarf, aka Jose Mourinho could only muster up a few words. None of which were full of praise:

I admire him and admire Arsenal.

It is not possible to have 1,000 matches unless the club is also a fantastic club in the way they support their manager, especially in the bad moments – and especially when the bad moments were quite a lot.

What a horrid man he is!

Anyway, the best way to shut that squirt up is to finally beat him, get the three points and then go get that league title which has eluded us for far too long.

Yesterday was an emotional day for Arsene Wenger, Arsenal FC, players past and present and of course us fans but that’s done and dusted now and today it’s back to business…

Business means getting three points and closing the gap between us and the top spot.

Chelsea have Ashley Cole out injured and both Ramires and Willian are suspended.

Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby are all out injured and Tomas Rosicky is a doubt too which is not good news. I hope he passes his late fitness test.

I doubt anyone really expects us to come away from Stamford Bridge with all the points but I’m not sure why. We have shown this season how determined we can be in defence so if we can get an early goal there’s no reason why we can’t go on and win the game.


  • Chelsea are unbeaten in their last four Premier League games against the Gunners (W2, D2).
  • Arsenal have a good record at Stamford Bridge, winning almost a third of their 76 league visits (W25, D25, L26).
  • The Gunners have also outscored the Blues at the Bridge, with 100 goals to 95.

So, all is not doom and gloom going into this game and I honestly don’t think we should play with any fear….

Pace, width and decisive passing will win this game, together with strong defending, discipline and 100% commitment to win.

That all has to come from us.

A mention for Scott from Oz, our resident blogger from ‘down under’. He’s here in the Uk and after a trip up the river, he’s off to watch the boys play for the first time. Is he excited, for sure he is and I hope he becomes the players lucky mascot both today and for the City game….

‘Game of the season’ says Arsene..

Let’s get one of the best results of the season by beating that horrid lot on their own turf!!


Sherwood & Adebayor give the perfect Arsenal team talk….

March 16, 2014

Morning all.

It is a fantastic occasion – always was to play in these games. I don’t think there is much blood and thunder these days – I want it to be more of that.

I think that gives us the edge. We are possibly more functional than they are, but if they get into their stride we know they can be very dangerous, so we need to knock them off their stride.

It is my first time as a manager at the Lane to be standing opposite Arsene Wenger and hopefully I will get one over on them.

We’ve got the best game we could have, a north London derby. We won’t need any more motivation for that, will we? I am sure they will be up for it. It is probably the best game we could have.

I always thought it was a good time to be playing Arsenal, but it’s ups and downs. We have to soldier on, you can’t always win games and we know that.

What exactly gives them the edge?

Tottenham more functional than us?

A good time to play Arsenal?

Come on Tim, you know deep down where your heart is and it’s not with the team you manage right now, go on, admit, you were, are and always be a Gooner!!

Just like George Graham was and always will be……

But seriously, Sherwood is right, blood and guts will win this game today together with pride, passion, commitment and the never ending will to win.

The pride of North London is at stake, the bragging rights of winning the biggest derby in the capital of England..

Win today and we will have done the treble over the this season!

Adebayor has waded in to and his comments should spur our boys on:

Arsenal are a good team when they have the ball. When they don’t, they are not that good. When you put them under ­pressure, they can’t handle it. They don’t have a lot of physical presence. Apart from Flamini, I don’t see anyone who puts themselves into a proper battle.

Rosicky is not that type of player, Cazorla is not the type of player who defends. Arteta is trying to do it, but that’s not his job. They don’t have anybody who can say, ‘If I have to kick, I will kick. If we have to fight, I will put myself at the front of it’. That’s how we have to play. Push them and force them to make errors.

Not one single Arsenal player should need to be reminded about what today is all about but just in case they do then I hope they take on board the comments from a man who once declared his love for us and show him what utter poppycock he speaks .

Lets see that fighting spirit, that desire and passion for the red and white of the club and the never say die belief….

We haven’t won at the dump for a while now, let’s do something about that today Arsene!!


Too much damage done in London, or can Wenger get one over Pep?

March 11, 2014

Just two days short to the day, exactly one year ago, we travelled to Germany needing three goals to knock-out Bayern Munich. We managed two but couldn’t get that final goal to see us through.

We return to the same ground tonight needing at least two goals to give us a chance…. And of course, we mustn’t concede.

Giroud slotting one past Neuer a year ago...

Giroud slotting one past Neuer a year ago…

The teams’ performance that fateful night in Bavaria was deemed the ultimate failure steeped in honour and glory. After that victory, we went on an amazing run during which we dropped just 4 points, against Everton and Manchester United, out of a possible 30 to ensure we ended up with the trophy so craved by our ambitions board and manager for the 17th time.

But when the draw was made for this stage of the Champions League against the defending champions of the competition, we looked destined to perish at the same stage of the Champions League and against the same opponents as last season.

However, Senor Guardiola was quoted as saying “I have never won here, “I learned that you can never dominate Arsenal for 90 minutes. You can dominate for 30 minutes, to half-time, for 75 minutes, but for 90 minutes it is impossible. Arsenal, with these quality players, you always have a problem.”

That was the respect arguably the best club team and football manager in European football had for us going into the game on the 19th of February. Some may argue that Pep was just paying lip service to our egos but looking at the team sheet just before kick-off, I was perplexed to see how cautiously the Bavarians were going to line up with only 3 attacking players in Gotze, Mandzukic and Robben as compared to the 4 very attacking players we fielded if we consider Wilshere as a defensive minded player.

Not surprising we started the game very positively as we did the previous year by testing Neuer on 2 occasions within the first few minutes. We even won a penalty on the 7th minute but we all know what transpired…

The general consensus by most Arsenal fans after the game was that the sending off of Wojciech Szczesny in the 37th minute was the turning point in the game. I am not so sure that was the case as leading up to the penalty that Alaba missed we had only had 3 shots on target and that included Ozil’s penalty save by Neuer.

Following Ozil’s penalty, Bayern attempted 4 attempts on goal before Szczesny was sent off without us making a single one.

In my view, the tide had turned against us more than 15 minutes before Nacho Monreal replaced Gibbs who I thought had been overloaded relentlessly by Gotze, Rafinha, Kroos, and Lahm on our left hand side. This is not questioning Gibbs ability by the way but rather the lack of protection afforded him on numerous occasions.

Before the game, most of us had identified the potential defensive weakness of our left hand side. Wenger on the other hand decided to throw caution to the wind and continued with his naive trend of not providing any protection to our fullbacks against some of the most lethal wingers in world football.

It was therefore no surprise that Bayern set out to exploit that side and compounded by Monreal’s sudden introduction into the game and going a man short as a result of the red card which was perfectly ‘orchestrated’ by Robben, it was bound to be a long night with our backs against the wall.

So the big question is do we stand a chance or will the damage which was done in London prove irreparable?

Going back and referring to the build up to the corresponding game a year ago, the club was in a bad state; our ability to finish 4th in the league was under great scrutiny after losing to our noisy neighbours 2-1 away from home at White Hart Lane. Moreover, Blackburn had beaten us 1-0 at home in the FA Cup just a few weeks before.

On this occasion we have just beaten a very strong Everton outfit convincingly with our record signing showing all the signs of the flair and ingenuity we all know he is capable of. Although our league position is not as secure as it was going into the first leg, there is a positive sense and air of expectation amongst the faithful.

Our opponents FC Bayern Munchen are smoothly sailing in all competitions they are involved in. Last weekend they racked up a record 16th successive Bundesliga win after coming from behind to beat VfL Wolfsburg 6-1 at the Volkswagen Arena. Their best player, Ribery who missed the first leg is back from his most uncommon of injuries with a superb performance and goal.

In fact it looks like the Bavarians’ who are unbeaten in a staggering 49 Bundesliga matches have no weakness for our toothless attack to exploit. But I beg to differ. As I mentioned before the first leg, I believe their centre-halves have a weakness against strong old fashioned strikers like Giroud. Even young Yaya Sanogo was able to cause the two defenders a few head-aches in the first legs.

As in most top-tier games in recent times, I believe we always ‘shoot’ ourselves in the foot by not doing the basics very well until we have gone behind. Maybe it is either due to nerves or a lack of tactical nous from our veteran manager or simply a lack of quality amongst the ranks. Some may say our line-up is always so predictable that it makes our opponents’ job very easy. Whatever our individual views and arguments are, I believe that the boys have to be mentally prepared and focused to work hard for at least 120 minutes if we can’t do the job in the initial 90 minutes.

In the ideal world I would like Wenger to change tact for once and play Serge, Ozil and Oxlade-Chamberlain in a 3-5-2 set-up so that we can match Bayern’s dynamic midfield in numbers. This will offer us the opportunity to press and stop Bayern from playing from the back.

However, I suspect Arsene will go with Giroud on his own upfront with three of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil and Rosicky behind him. Then play the experienced duo of Arteta and Flamini in a fluid formation which may translate to 4-2-4 if we score very early on in the game to mimic the performance against Napoli at the Emirates’ last year.

I am not so sure playing a back 4 which translates to a back 2 or 3 at best when we are on the attack is the best way to claw back a two goal deficit in the Allianz Arena. It’s clear that our fullbacks are unrealistically expected to provide both the width we need to have a good performance as well do their primary defensive duties.

Although playing our usual way on paper has an attacking edge, on this occasion we will be gambling on the clinical prowess of Ribery and Robben who will give Sagna and any deputising left-back another torrid time on the flanks. There is also the issue of the likes of Muller, Kroos and possibly Lahm playing in the area right in-front of our back four, thereby outnumbering our defensive midfielder for the night.

Our club captain may find himself thrown into the deep-end as Gibbs’s replacement since both our first choice Left-backs will be missing this crucial tie. I strongly believe that this injury gives us an ideal opportunity for Arsene to play a back three of Sagna, Per and Koscielny. Vermaelen, Arteta and Flamini should then be deployed in midfield with a dynamic front four of Ozil, Giroud, Alex and possibly Podolski or Rosicky.

If we are to inflict a defeat, similar to the one that ended Bayern’s 6 months winning streak at home when we won away in Bavaria last year, Arsene will have to dust off all his managerial manuals or go back to the drawing board.

Since in football anything can happen, my wish is that Dante and Neuer end up getting sent off in the first half giving us every opportunity to eliminate Bayern in order to continue the trend of no club being able to retain the Champions League trophy in modern times…

Finally, as the saying goes, there is no harm in dreaming and adding to the fact the ‘football gods’ somewhere smiled on us last weekend and allowed Wigan to defeat Man City in the FA, it is sane to say anything is possible so far as we are prepared to put in the shift during the entirety of the game…

Come on you gunners!

Written by Tsgh


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