By Bulldog Drummond
There was one really interesting and barbed comment that most of the media failed to analyse (well actually most of the media fail to analyse most stuff but this was a particular one upon which they faileed to turn their gaze). Mr Wenger’s statement that, “You have to accept that a team is made up of 25 different personalities. I don’t want people to change. I just want them on board to achieve something together. What I expect from the team is just honour. I don’t know what happens inside your work; maybe you love and kiss each other every day, but I’m not completely convinced.”
So 25 personalities in the team. There are 11 players and seven on the beach which gives us 18, leaving seven spare. That could mean that seven of the players have split personalities, or, and I think this is more likely, Alexis suffers from dissociative identity disorder and has eight different personalities. This is obviously much more Dr Billy “the dog” McGraw’s field rather than mine, and I have dropped Tony a note asking that he might commission a piece from the dog on this delicate subject.
“One thing about the Liverpool game is that there were 11 players on the pitch. We had a real chance to go for it, to push it and even without our best player on the pitch, to show that we are a real unit. It’s not always the manager. It’s hard for him now to select; he does it with his best knowledge and we trust him.
“We have done something wrong in recent games. I am telling the players that we need to take the first step to get the fans on board again; to make our fans proud of us again. To be successful again we need our fans to back us up.”
As for the teams Mesut Ozil is set to miss out because of an illness so he should play against Lincoln. Per Mertesacker himself could be involved in his first game of the season having recovered from a serious knee injury he suffered in the summer.
“I want that we are up for a fight on Tuesday, to challenge something,” he said. “We haven’t competed a lot in recent games, we need to turn that around. I think it’s up to us to show a different face. That is really something we are going to demand because we literally blew it away in the second half there and being in that position.
“So it’s really down to us now to make the first step to make our fans proud of ourselves again. That is really something that we need the emphasis on.”
Bayern defender Jerome Boateng is not yet match-fit having been out since November with a chest injury, and Philipp Lahm is suspended. Renato Sanches, who has overcome a cold, and winger Douglas Costa, who picked up a knock during Saturday’s 3-0 win at Cologne, have both travelled to the game.
Contrary to what most will say, since the beginning of 2003-04, Arsenal have lost just 10 of their 62 home games in the Champions League. But Bayern have beaten us twice in London – in 2013 and 2014.
This is the 12th time we’ve played Bayern in the Champs League – they have won six, three have been draws and we have won three. However Bayern have only won one of their last six Champions League away games, losing three and drawing twice in that run.
And here’s another one that is often missed. Arsenal’s last 14 goals in the Champions League have all come from inside the box, including one penalty.
So the team,
Bellerin Mustafi Koscielny Monreal
Oxlade-Chamberlain Iwobi Alexis
Beached: Welbeck, Cech, Gabriel, Ramsey, Perez, Walcott, Per Mert.
It seems that the threat of a boycott has, as usual, largely gone away, and the tickets have by and large sold out. Let’s hope the notion of support is still there too.