I am writing this straight after the match, you would think that I would be down with a 5-1 score line, but I have to say I was proud of the players. If you listened to the commentators or the studio pundits and you looked at the score you could be persuaded that we had a hiding and speaking the truth we probably did. We knew who we were playing, Bayern are probably classed as the best club side in the world right now and that is probably right, but what we did show was heart with a capital H.
We knew going into this game that it was important, we also knew that a loss or a draw still wouldn’t guarantee us going through. We had a depleted team, having Bellerin, Walcott and Chamberlain to add to the rest of the injured prior to the match and then losing Koscielny with an injured hip that was not completely healed in time. Wenger put him on the bench in case of a catastrophe but apart from the score a catastrophe never came about. He should have another few days to shrug the injury off before the NLD
We started the game on the attack, so it seemed the Manager had decided to play Bayern at their own game, and although we had an early shot from Giroud he acted slightly fast and shot wide of the target. Bayern when in possession were the side we knew them to be, a team with great players with oodles of talent.
Bayern got their MoJo working. They had most of the possession but it has to be said that although our defence were doing well, with those missing, holes would open up and of course that is what happened. I wont bore you with the goals but the first was scored by Lewendowski, making his forward defence splitting run just about perfect to get on the end of a perfectly flighted chipped forward pass that he just nodded into a corner leaving Petr Cech for dead.
Minutes later we broke away. The play was just fantastic fast and direct and the ball passed into the box aimed at Ozil who really had a blinder, he shoved his shoulder to ricochet the ball passed the stranded Neuyer. The crowd and the commentators, assumed a goal it went 1-1 on the TV screen but the Bayern players rushed to the officials claiming a handball, and almost straight away the decision was changed Ozil had a little groan and the ref responded with a yellow card.
Bayern took control of the game; it seemed that we couldn’t even get a free kick as our players were hounded, but as soon as we got back possession the ref decided we had fowled and possession given back to the home team. Speaking the truth I don’t think we had one decision in favour in the first half. The first half ended 4-0 and Bayern were worth the score line although I feel Ozil’s disallowed goal was a little harsh but Petr Cech saved many and 4-0 was about right.
The second half was much the same as the first but Arsenal did make several fast breaks, the first saw Santi Cazorla clean through with only the keeper to beat and the keeper made a magical save, minutes later Arsenal were still attacking and Cazorla found Giroud in space in the box he brought it down on his chest and guided it down to his left foot and blasted it past Neuyer which lifted all our players and sent Neuyer into a strop. There were one or two chances after that for us but just the one goal at the end. Bayern did add another goal and it has to be said it was another beauty,
This was a lesson in football at the highest level, and although we were on the end of what seems a hiding, I feel its only fair to say that Arsenal never gave up the fight, every Arsenal player gave their all right up to the final whistle. Wenger in his interview after the game had got his composure back and admitted that our defending was not good enough, not enough challenges had been made and we had not marked well enough.
Wenger I believe, with the side he had to pick from, would have been quite happy with our performance, of course in front of the camera he had to show we could have been better, but they worked and worked, and the best thing was they never gave up. Beaten Bruised and battered they gave their all, and I for one praise them.
Bayern with all their talent, and I must say it is vast, they still had weaknesses and we in all honesty, could and should have made that final score a lot closer. With a full team I believe they are beatable, who knows we may get to play them again with our strongest side, that I look forward to.