By Walter Broeckx
Of course it was a big disappointment last Saturday. But this is what football is all about. You can be the better team in the whole 90 minutes and still lose a game.
Some say this is the beauty of football. If you end up on the winning side it is great. If you end up on the losing site it is frustrating. But the old football wisdom : “If you don’t score, you cannot win the game” was smacked in our face and we might say we ended up with a bleeding nose.
But that game is done. It’s history. The only thing that matters now is the rest of the season. The most important thing is now to make sure we get at least that 4th spot and with 3rd place only 5 points away we should even try to aim for that.
There are still 36 points to play for in the PL so lots of points can be won or lost by Arsenal but also by the other teams. Those who say it is impossible are the ones that are not willing to support the team when things don’t go as planned. I want to believe we can do it and that is the message we should give to the players.
If us supporters believe in it, we must install this believe in to the players. And how can we bring this belief from the stands to the playing field? By supporting the players from the start. I heard the crowd was not really vibrant last Saturday. That is if I can believe people who went last weekend. I can imagine the : “ok, just show us something while I sit waiting for you to convince me” atmosphere. I have seen it myself at the Emirates.
Well that is no way to support your team. It is us who should be driving the players forward on the field. And those who say : “it is up to them” then I really wonder why you are out there. How can you expect passion from the players when you as a supporter show no passion?
And by showing passion I really don’t mean that you boo the players at the first missed pass in a game. That is part of the game. Mistakes will be made. So accept it and just let that player feel that you still support him no matter his mistake.
Ah but we have no chance against Bayern because we couldn’t even win against Blackburn you might say. So what is your suggestion then? Don’t play the rest of the season? Just say to Uefa and the PL : we will not play any more this season as we couldn’t beat Blackburn so we probably will never win another game again this season. See you all next season. Send the players on their holiday and that’s it. See you all next season in August. People have suggested that I have a losing mentality but that would be the ultimate losing mentality.
Am I saying we will beat Bayern Munich? No, but I’m not saying it is impossible. On paper it looked impossible that Blackburn would beat us, and still they did. I might say that even on the field it looked impossible they would beat us for more than 70 minutes, and still they did it. Because that is football. Anything can happen.
Now I am well aware of the fact that Bayern Munich is looking like a well oiled machine this season. They are 15 points in front already. They score a lot of goals 57 to be exact, and hardly concede any goals in the Bundesliga. In fact only conceded 7 goals in their 22 Bundesliga games so far this season. So one could say: we have no chance of beating them. Just as Blackburn had no chance of beating us in the FA cup.
Yes Bayern Munich are the favourites to go to the next round. Their league position and the way they have played so far suggest that they should be the favourites. But does this mean we have no chance at all?
I do think we have a chance. Because this is football. And in fact we don’t need to beat them in fact. We just need to make sure we go to the next round. Even two draws could do this. Even on penalties. I don’t care. We just have to do our best to try to reach the next round.
I think we will see a completely different game compared to the Blackburn game. Bayern Munich is not the team to put 11 man behind the ball and defend the whole game. No Bayern Munich in Germany is a team known for playing an attacking game of football based on lots of possession. Sometimes a bit slow in the build up and then they suddenly raise the tempo and surprise their opponents.
I think we should have a good defensive performance to start with. We should make sure that we don’t allow their runners from midfield a free passage because that is one of their strengths. So our midfielders will have to keep their eyes open and make sure that they follow the runs of the Bayern players very well.
Playing against a top Bundesliga team means that you will have a big physical game (and I don’t mean this in the kicking you off the park way). And I think that now our team selection might come handy this time. I expect some 7 changes at the start and those 7 players will be rather fit as they haven’t played a full game in more than a week.
The 3 outfield players I expect to start who also started against Blackburn will be Vermaelen, Arteta and Giroud. For the rest it will be a completely new team. With a few players wanting to prove a point. I can imagine that Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski have been waiting for this game for a few weeks. A big chance for them to show themselves in Germany.
Maybe Lukas wants to prove something against Bayern. If my memory is still a bit correct then I think when he went from Bayern back to his home town team FC Köln that on the first time they met it was Lukas who beat Bayern with the winning goal. I can imagine him dreaming of such a script the last weeks and days.
But when all is said and done at the start of the game it will be Bayern who will be considered as the favourites. So it is up to us now to try to perform some kind of giant killing. And it is up to us supporters to help the players in trying to achieve that. Forget about last Saturday, forget about previous disappointments. They are in the past. The only thing worth supporting is the future. And that starts now. Are you part of it or do you want to stay on the outside?
I would have loved to be a part of it but will only be able to look at it from my home seat in front of my TV. But I sure hope that those going show the players from the first whistle that they want to be part of it.
In stead of shouting: spend some fucking money I would say to our supporters: show some fucking support, just as you did last year against Milan, and the year before that against Barcelona. It will cost you nothing and at least you don’t have to blame yourself that you didn’t give it your best shot.
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