Arsenal v. Bayern: Per and Poldi are here to pump YOU up

There’s a football match scheduled for today, Arsenal host presumptive German champions Bayern in a Champions League match at the Emirates, but to read the papers one might be forgiven if they hardly noticed the game through the treacle.

It’s been a tough week to be a fan of Arsenal football club. Not only was the team knocked out of the FA Cup by Blackburn in a dreadfully predictable way but the subsequent fallout from the press, pundits, and some fans has piled on more pressure.

Arsene Wenger, in particular, was the target of calumny by The Sun reporter Phil Thomas who (after a brief search of some of his Arsenal related stories) has almost never printed a truth about Arsenal. This time Phil Thomas printed a story designed to foment anger among the Arsenal fans who have started openly expressing their hatred for Arsene Wenger. The Sun story claimed that Arsene was on the verge of signing a new two year contract and this prompted reporters to ask Arsene if the story was true at his press conference. Wenger responded angrily calling the reports “lies” and asking for the gathered press to show him some respect.

And now the knives are out. The BBC is running an amazing audio interview with disgraced former Arsenal employee Stuart Robson in which the pundit (who works the color commentary for many Arsenal matches) publicly admits that he would like to see Arsene Wenger lose his job. It’s a grotty interview in which Robson reads a laundry list of complaints about the manager: the interview starts out with a character assassination of Arsene Wenger at press conferences saying that if he doesn’t like a question he goes on the assault because he doesn’t handle criticism and from there it’s the usual stuff about the manager being tactically inept.

Robson was never really objective about Arsenal and has now crossed the line from pretending to be objective to outright absurdly subjective. I can’t stand him as a pundit and never could, his insight into the game is decades behind people like Michael Cox and his commentary is always anti-Arsenal. Worse, it doesn’t matter what game he is commenting on, he tries to work in a jab at Arsenal. He is absurd and the BBC should be ashamed of putting him on their show to spout his clownish views of the club.

That’s not to say that Arsenal and Arsene Wenger are beyond reproach. Losing as they did to Blackburn was as predictable as Lindsey Lohan getting a DUI and twice as ugly. Blackburn didn’t do much of anything in the game and came away with the points. They have been given plaudits for their defending but they didn’t even have to do that very well. Arsenal simply looked lackluster for far too long in that game and of course the manager and players are to blame for that. It’s a complaint that I and others have leveled all season.

I’m fairly certain that Arsene Wenger isn’t telling his team to take it easy for 80 minutes. And especially not against clubs like Blackburn who he knows will sit back and try to soak up pressure. And even if Arsene Were to give that speech from Any Given Sunday that everyone seems to love the impetus to stay in the game and to drive the team forward still has to come from the players on the pitch.

And it’s exactly that kind of drive on the pitch which I think will be the deciding factor today. I looked at the numbers yesterday for Arseblog News and when it comes to Champions League fixtures there really isn’t much between the two teams. Bayern have played very well in the Bundesliga this season (most notably, they are a “defense through possession” team and they have only allowed 1 goal in all of their domestic away games) but their away form in the Champions League has been pretty poor and that form came against some rather poor competition, I might add.

It should be a fascinating match because both teams tend to play such a similar style of football. If anything, Bayern look to cross the ball more than Arsenal and tend to hit more long balls. With the whole world expecting Bayern to dominate possession we could see them try to sit back and hit Arsenal on the counter. With the quality that Bayern have up front, counter attacking could be a very effective technique against Arsenal and while I know I will get stick for suggesting it, other possession-type teams like Swansea have ceded possession to Arsenal so it’s not impossible.

Of course, the other possibility is an Arsenal 2-1 Barcelona style match. Arsenal conceded possession to Barcelona in that match (66%) but ended up getting off more shots and getting off the same number of shots on goal. A lot of folks, like Robson, who say that Wenger doesn’t do tactics have a hard time justifying that criticism in the face of that game, where Wenger deliberately played the rope-a-dope against Barcelona. Wenger is frustratingly pig-headed about his approach to games but he is far from intransigent as many think.

Or we could see a battle royale. If Bayern come out and try to take the game and Arsenal do the same, we could end up seeing a 50-50 possession, loads of shots on both goals, type of open game that pretty much everyone in the whole world wants to see. That kind of wild game that it seems like only Arsenal can have.

I like the last option not just because it would be exciting but because it would give the press something else to write about for a change.



35 thoughts on “Arsenal v. Bayern: Per and Poldi are here to pump YOU up

  1. Vote -1 Vote +1gsco

    Stewart Robson really pisses me off. I really need the ability to just hear crowd noise when I watch games.
    How can he be that unaware of how grating his constant moaning and repetitive cliches are?

  2. Vote -1 Vote +11NiltotheArsenal

    A possibility I see is the one which we don’t execute well because it’s not out our game, and that is putting 10 behind the ball, playing the hell out of the offside trap, and trying to hit them on the counter.

    But a lot of teams try that against BM I’m sure, and this is a club on a mission, still smarting from Chelsea last year. We are running into a buzz saw as I said some weeks ago, but it is as huge underdogs when the team need support the most.

    So I am leaving all my angst and fear at the door and am going to do my best to enjoy whatever unfolds at 2:30 pm my time. I just hope we acquit ourselves better than the Blackburn match and leave the pitch with our heads held high.

    Even now, surely that is not too much to ask.

  3. Vote -1 Vote +1Sue

    Too [deleted] [definitely deleted] right you are [delted deleted] right about that [deleted delted definitely deleted] waste of [deleted] space

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1Sue

    On a serious note the home game v Barca was an immense game to attend passion noise mayhem, as soon as the equaliser went in (even before that as we started to apply the pressure) the belief and noise was building. The Groove rocked that night. We know Bayern wont come and kick but they will press and hold the ball and we will need to be at our most attentive (just for once pl;ease lets pay attention boys). We do have lots of ways to hurt them and if we can find the drive to commit opponents and open spaces then it is on.
    That said I am not unaware of just how good a team we are facing in Bayern they have a multitude of weapons it could just be a throbbing night
    Lets go old school 1-0 to the Arsenal

  5. Vote -1 Vote +1jaymin

    It’s venal idiots like Robson, and the structures that employ them, that make Gary Neville sound like a genius! Have a good feeling about tonight’s game. 3-0 to us.

  6. Vote -1 Vote +1begeegs

    That fuck fuck fucking fuck fuck, Robson! Fuckety fuck fuck fucking fuck fucks. FUUUUUCCCCK! ;-)

    (Sorry – Had to do this :-) )

  7. Vote -1 Vote +1dy

    the team who settles first gets the initiative. But its the team who can concentrate and run for 90 minutes wins. That’s my prediction for today’s match against Bayarn.

  8. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    Looking forward to the game (because I’m perverse). I wonder which Arsenal will show up tonight? The one with the defensive lapse and early red card, or the one that works its socks off and grinds out an inspirational result?

    Go Literally Kill Them You Gunners!

  9. Vote -1 Vote +1Limestonegunner

    Spot on, Tim, on the odious Robson. His terrible commentary and anti-Arsenal remarks led mattgoonerknight (a commenter over ag ACLF) and myself to organize a petition that we sent to the club asking that he be relieved of his Arsenal player duties. I think it was part of a string of complaints about him over several years. A couple months later in the summer he was let go and since then he has been even more open about his hatreds. He’s vile and I am glad you highlight this open abuse and disrespect of AW. I might have the odd disagreement with his decisions but he is worthy of respect that some fans and increasingly the media are refusing to give, which I find very depressing.

    I hope the atmosphere at the stadium is loud and supportive and that the team comes out with a strong performance from the start. We need to salvage some hope amid all this turmoil for the rest of this season.

  10. Vote -1 Vote +1Patrick

    “Obviously Arsene sounded very tetchy. I’m sure if he listened back to that press conference, he would regret the way he conducted it. But I would like to put a couple of things straight. With the contract situation, I’ve checked with the press office, He was trying to say there was a story in the national papers yesterday, and not one corporation checked it out with the press office. The truth is that story is not true.

    “I didn’t like what I heard today. Every half-hour on my drive here, I’ve heard Stewart Robson quoted criticising Arsene. Stewart is a guy who worked here, and is obviously a bitter guy because he’s no longer got employment here. You have to take into account why Arsene is feeling like he is.”

    - Former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson on BBC Radio 5 live

  11. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    0-1 Bayern Munich.

    In the lead up to that CK that ended up with the goal, Vermaelen made not one but two poor decisions, that allowed his area to be over run by 2 attackers on Koscienly. Additionally, it would have nice if the ‘DM’ on that left side had tracked back to cover.

  12. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    2 away goals already. Feel bad for the players, but this tie is finished.

    On to the 7amkickoff 4th-place trophy!

  13. Vote -1 Vote +1marek

    We are up against better footballers, pure and simple. These are the guys who, by all rights, should have won the CL last year.

    On the other hand, now is the time to play outside of yourself. Leave it all on the field. It can’t get worse, but maybe, just maybe, Arsenal can reach a higher level and still get something from this game.

  14. Vote -1 Vote +1Wang

    It’s not the quality of our players, per se. Ramsey, whose ability I prefer to play down, has been technically good and fast under pressure in attack (though not great in defense). Santi, who we know is quality, looks off, while Sagna seems up for it but isolated.

    What it comes down to is the system. Look at Bayern – they press aggressively in midfield, ANTICIPATING where the ball will be and pressing there before the ball arrives. The midfield COVERS in defense, and we end up with 2-on-6 when we have the ball in their box. Ze Germans understand teamwork and pressing. We, however, are casual in defense and our pressing chases the ball bar a few moments of energy and anticipation. Systemic failure, sadly…

  15. Vote -1 Vote +1dy

    its kind of a typical Arsenal’s display, mid fielders not co-ordinating, defence not quick to react and our captain is really really out of form all season. Well, still there’s the second half, maybe we’ll see a better Arsenal coming out of the tunnel. When all things consider, there’s nothing else to lose.

  16. Vote -1 Vote +11NiltotheArsenal

    No real shame in this result.

    Most of us on here know our quality (or lack of it). We were, as many had already predicted, thoroughly outclassed and BM have done as expected with their calibre of play.

    We still have the return leg at Allianz Arena but once that’s over with, I hope they go all the way. They deserve it.

  17. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    I thought we were in for a long night when that 1st went in because how poor we looked in the build up on our left side. I hate being prescient and then bang it was 0-2. I noticed a couple of things apart from Vermaelen being a disaster at LB. Santos, where for art though Santos? Blackburn Rovers maintained a better defensive posture with a strong flank defense in comparison to Arsenal’s ‘let’s all crowd the middle’ cluster f**k. This was not the game or opponent for CF in training to get a start. We are who we thought we were and that folks is all there is.

  18. Vote -1 Vote +1jaymin

    First time I’ve seen Bayern this season, and came away thoroughly impressed. They are a super team, and they will in all likelihood reach their third final in four years. We hung with them for a while, and showed real fight in the second half. They were, as the metaphor went at the draw, a buzzsaw, and would have beaten every other team still in the champions league with the quality they showed today. We did make it easier on them with our poor defense, but they are simply on another level than us. Now we can focus on fourth, a sad reality, but reality now, and probably reality until Kroenke fucks off to watch the Denver Nuggets lose in the first round of the playoffs, as usual.

  19. Vote -1 Vote +1GoonerNC

    Bayern is a better team. We knew this. But even great teams get good luck. I can’t help but wonder how different this tie would have looked if Kroos hadn’t so marvelously half-volleyed that shot into the turf and into the back of the net. Don’t get me wrong. It was brilliant technique but even the most skillful players can only pull that off every so often. WHAT IF this didn’t happen to be one of those nights?

    Oh well. We’ll never know. This Arsenal just isn’t good enough. I don’t know if or when we’ll ever see this team full of players that believe (and can justify that belief) that they can play a team like this off the pitch. We’re nowhere near that class right now. And we should be.

  20. Vote -1 Vote +1Cliffy

    After the match….I dont see that we can fault the effort…We worked our socks off and the subs were also good to go in..Rosicky was a good turbo shot to have…the way he tackled and burst forward…passing wasnt all that good in final third though..

    Bayern lead the charge and hit us before we got into the groove…

    Theo was once again exposed while playing as a central striker..Bayern is in the form of their life..despite having a two year trophy drought..Only positive thing is that Schweinstieger would not be playing in the reverse leg…

    But infinitely one of the better Arsenal teams to watch..
    If we concede once in the reverse fixture..we got to score 4…

    I suggest…we do the Milan routine…get in 3 goals before half time..and try for the fourth…while also not letting Bayern score…Allianz Arena would be the best place to do it…since their defence in home…is really suspect…compared to their away form.

    Tim…get your lucky charm, go for the game and get us through..

  21. Vote -1 Vote +1Gunman

    Thing that Irritates me most though is the fact media has been writing so much negative about Arsenal for years that even arsenal fans are starting to believe it . For example my friend Carbkid here saying ‘Men against Boys’ which is not completely true . I have had every Arsenal fan say one time or another that what bugs them most is that the team doesnt give it their all or doesnt work hard enough or doesnt want it enough , If they played their hearts out they wudnt mind the team losing … yet thats exactly what happened yesterday everyone worked their socks off , at 2-0 down heads could have dropped easily but they kept pushing kept trying kept playing , dominated possession and created chances… What more could you ask for really ? At the end of the Day our strikers are not world class and that would always cost us in big games because we need to create twice the no of opportunities to score than other top teams. The difference clearly shows when one team can as teams like Bayern , United have been cherry picking 1-2 world class players at 30 mil every year for 8 years and we are having to service the debt and even sell our world class players , Thats the only difference honestly . Even their make shift centre back was a 40 million buy this year, with another 15 million buy Shaqiri on the bench and their other new recruit from this year Mandzukic scored as well ( and these 3 are just from this year !) , a 22 million keeper between the Sticks (bought last year) and then they had 30 million Mario to call as a sub from bench ( and these are just the recent buys) . That is what makes the difference at the end of the day .. You can hate Wenger and shout Wenger out! as much as you want but Give United a strike force of walcott , giroud poldi and chamakh ( instead of Rooney , Rvp chicha and Welbeck ) and I am sure SAF wont be able to achieve as much as Wenger is with this strike force even with his much more expensively assembled midfield and defence. Sometimes I just dont know WHAT PEOPLE EXPECT FROM WENGER!!

    P.s -Vermaelen was Shit . And Koscielny does makes mistakes sometimes but imo he is clearly best defender at the club as he covers for his cb partner , Lb and sometimes even Sagna almost every game he plays ( especially when arsenal have to push forward) other than playing his own position .

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