By Walter Broeckx
I usually sit in front of my laptop during the match to write my match report ‘as it happens’. As this time I was in the pub to see the match I couldn’t do it. I try to keep the same format though but I might be jumping through the match back and forward a bit as it is from the head that I write this match report.
No changes at the start of this match compared to our last match at Watford. Ospina is still out with a shoulder injury so Macey was on the bench for this match. The team that started was: Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Walcott.
On the beach: Macey, Gibbs, Debuchy, Chambers, Arteta, Giroud, Oxlade-Chamberlain
Bayern immediately tried to apply a lot of high pressure on Arsenal. Certainly after some 5 minutes they went over to their usual dominant display. Arsenal not with their usual fluent passing and too many balls didn’t reach a team mate. It was clearly visible that this Bayern team is one if not the best team in Europe or even in the world for the moment. Their technical level is very high and they can run… oh my dear they can run….
Cech with an excellent stop early in the match to deny an early Bayern Munich goal. Özil at the other end with a free shooting chance but his right footed shot was stopped by Neuer and Walcott couldn’t bring the rebound back in front of goal to a team mate. Bayern then again with a dominant part of the match with lots of possession. Arsenal trying to keep them away from their goal but Cech had to be alert (and was) on a few shots and crosses. Bellerin having a difficult start against Costa, on of the players in form from Bayern Munich. But this is where experience matters as I had the impression that Per tried to be as close to Hector as possible. Lewandowski very lively early on in the match and being a real trouble maker in front of our goal but nothing between the posts as a result.
Gradually after long spells of possession from Bayern Munich Arsenal managed to become more dangerous themselves. One attack leading to Monreal being on the overlap on the left hand side, a perfect cross to Walcott unmarked in the middle, a header that should have beaten any keeper in the world apart from the two on the field… and Neuer with an amazing save clawing the ball away on the goal line. I think everyone, including our players thought that this would have been in.
Walcott now causing more problems for Bayern but a next shot was too tame and another one went wide. At the other end the Bayern possession became more and more sterile and no real penetration that lead to difficult saves for Cech. A shot from outside the penalty area was punched away. Bellerin slowly growing in the match after a difficult start and Costa drifting all over the field and causing problems with his speed and skill. Meanwhile almost no real fouls apart from the ordinary trips and some pulls and pushes. Nice to see two teams trying to play football and not to kick the shit out of each other.
Alexis with a few bad moments when he first gave the ball away deep in our own half (the jet lag still in his body?). Maybe he was confused with Vidal playing for Bayern and thinking he should give the ball to his Chili team mate? And just before half time Alexis commits a handball in the own Arsenal penalty area. I must admit it was so ludicrous that I think it even stunned the ref and that he forgot to blow his whistle. That was a bad mistake from the ref as it was a deliberate handball and we would have no arguments if he had given a penalty. But luckily he didn’t and we could go in at half time with the score of 0-0 with probably the best chance of the half for Arsenal.
The start of the second half was again Bayern with lots of possession and Arsenal being compact and defending against a dominant Bayern team. Despite all their dominance the Arsenal defence was great and all Bayern could do was shoot from distance. Sometimes the shot was close but if it was between the posts Cech was there to stop the ball. Arsenal didn’t came out of their half for long spells with Bayern passing the ball around but when they came near the penalty area they couldn’t find a real opening. Great work from our defenders and midfielders to stop Bayern from getting really dangerous. Ramsey then suddenly pulling his hamstring when he was just trying to close down a Bayern player. He had to come off and The Ox came on. A big blow for Aaron.
Lewandowski then suddenly with a great chance when Arsenal lost the ball at the half way line and some players out of position. But Koscielny closed him down at the last moment but the Polish striker could get a shot on target but Cech with what we can call the save of the match from an Arsenal point of view punched it over the crossbar.
A bit later Giroud came on for Theo in minute 74. Giroud winning a free kick halfway the Bayern Munich half was his first contribution. Santi behind the ball delivering the ball. Koscielny and a defender jumping up, Neuer coming out and completely missing the ball…that fell on the forehead of Giroud and the ball hobbled over the goal line! GOAL!!! 1-0 to The Arsenal in minute 77. What an entrance for Olivier Giroud!
Holding on now as the message. Could we do it? Bellerin with an amazing sprint winning a corner and Giroud almost doubling the lead with a free header after that corner but he was leaning backwards too much to put enough power on the ball and Neuer could easily gather the ball. At the other end our defenders were resolute and didn’t give much away. Gibbs entering the field for an exhausted Alexis.
But we know Bayern always score in every match since the dinosaurs have been whipped off the earth so they probably would still score. Lewandowski suddenly with some space in front of Koscielny but then I had the impression that the Bayern striker anticipated Kos to commit a foul on him and when Kos used his head and didn’t make a foul the ball was running away from Lewandowski and in the end he committed a foul on Koscielny who had gained control of the ball.
Arsenal trying to counter when possible. Özil working his socks off to keep the ball out. Ref let a few fouls on him go. No Turkish love from the referee for the Turkish German. 4 minutes of extra time. And then the moment of Hector ….. I am going to use a picture of him intercepting the ball that I found on the internet.
Minute 93 he saw a pass that he could intercept. Started his own run at full speed in his own half got first to the ball, took on another defender and ran past him as if he wasn’t there, looked up saw Özil in the middle of the Bayern Munich goal and delivered an inch perfect pass to the Arsenal maestro. Özil had a shot and Neuer seemed again to make the impossible save but the ball had gone clearly over the line and luckily the Turkish 5th referee had seen it go in and immediately pointed this at the ref and pointed to the middle and the ref gave the goal. GOAL!!! 2-0 to the Arsenal after 94 minutes.
Credit for this goal should go for 95% to Hector Bellerin. Who had a difficult start to this match but as were used to by now he is a player who can lift himself to greater heights. Another angle from where he came and look at the time….
The ref made an end to the match shortly after the restart. Arsenal had done the unthinkable and beaten the best team in the world. Luck played a part for sure at times but it was a disciplined performance from the whole team that dug in when needed and was resilient in the battle to keep Bayern away from what they always do: score goals.
What a win!