So it’s been a while. Postponements and disappointments have limited my interest/desire to dwell on the sanguine and the absent. But things have actually started looking a bit better and so I feel that, as it is spring, we must both celebrate the passing of winter and the coming of the warm/good/finishing 3rd season of the year.
Final thoughts on the FA Cup exit to Blackburn: My cynical side says such is cup competition. My supporter side says “What the f$%k!!!” The lads didn’t take the chances that were available and got sucker punched on the break. A familiar story in the last several years, sadly. Several players looked jaded, and if squad rotation was needed there were better options as far as healthy players in the squad (based on what appeared to be the strategy) than whom the Manager chose. That may be because he has completely written them off and they will never play for him again but that’s another column in and of itself (the subject being the club’s general lack of disclosure on several levels). And it’s one more trophy we won’t win this yea
Then the loss to Bayern Munich at home. This was the story of shambolic defending from front to back, though I would put a large chunk of the blame at the feet of the midfield for how it tracked back and stood off when it should have challenged the ball.
The first goal was just coming and I have to say very well-taken. It was down the rabbit hole from there. The organization between the lines just wasn’t happening. Granted, the second goal was a bit fluky but that too was coming. Lukas Podolski’s goal was slop of the highest degree as Manuel Neuer was doing something other than watching his line and was way out. It was something and if they hadn’t gotten the 3rd everything changes in the game and the tie, but that’s not how the universe works some times.
They were a better side on several levels on the night. Depth, depth, depth was all I could think. They have world-class players sitting on the bench, and we have Andrey Arshavin. Someone wrote soon after this game that Munich outspent Arsenal by £100 million over the last three years in transfers. It showed. We then get to look forward to a pasting in Munich…
Then the abysmal showing at Tottenham. The less said of this the better. If I’m being honest, and if you were watching the game, you should be as well, you knew the game was over after the second goal. Again, the defense was lacking communication and got caught out. I hate to admit that Gary Neville has every said/done anything proper but his analysis on sky was right on. http://www.youtube.com/watch?
It was a game so devoid of urgency on Arsenal’s part it made my head hurt, though that may have been the booze from the evening prior. (It also may have been my mate English Mick cackling with delight but he supports Liverpool so you just have to point to the table to shut him up.) It completely erased any memories of the fact that Arsenal had won three on the trot in the league going into that game. The head’s were up a bit in the second half but it wasn’t enough to get more than one back. That it came from a set piece I suppose can be taken as a positive.
On a lighter note, at least the Everton game got postponed because they are in a competition we’re out of so we can prepare for a hopeless game/funeral in Munich. Or so everyone was saying at least…
The springing of spring(?):
So, Arsenal is going to Munich, down 3-1 from their home-leg portion of this tie. What’s the best that can be hoped for? Sell more of those purple shirts with a valiant effort? I didn’t really care where they got the motivation I just wanted to see a good shift and the show of some heart. I’m glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed. The first goal came early and the team was organized front to back with even Olivier Giroud tracking back. Munich obviously missed Bastian Schweinsteiger but this was a vastly better organized (dare I say prepared) team than what was on show at the Emirates.
I think the real difference for Arsenal was Tomas Rosicky. Full stop, he is a super talented player. I know he’s had his injury problems but he always, ALWAYS makes the team better when he plays, it’s a shame how his career has been so significantly blighted by injury. At least he didn’t get done in a bad tackle (my rant about those is here: http://www.denchblog.com/the-
I think Arsenal needed a second goal between the 30th minuet and the half or the first 15 minuets of the second for it to be something that could be done. The boys kept at it and put in an overall effort the fans can be proud of or at least have a little pride restored based on Bayern’s home record after the first leg. It was the best defensive performance as a team I’ve seen all year. I said it at the time, when this team plays like this and you think about who is in the squad but missing through injury this can be a really good team. (Note I didn’t say great, but really, really good)
Going to Swansea, needing three points. The first half was forgettable for all but of the AO-C’s crossbar challenge game. Again, the defense was well organized front to back and Swansea were well stymied and didn’t have much of a go at goal outside of a very poor clearance by young Carl Jenkinson. The second half was all Arsenal outside of maybe between the 50 and 55-minute mark. I just knew it was coming but then was sure it was blown when Giroud knocked the ball back off the cross but somehow Nacho Monreal was there and somehow put it in the back of the net. Swansea dropped after that and the subs sealed the deal in injury time. A good game for the neutral, three points for the Arsenal and elation for Gooners everywhere.
Nine games to go, 27 points to win, 3rd place to claim. Let’s hope the lads are up for it. I know I am.