Bayern v Arsenal: the team



By Bulldog Drummond

An Arsenal defeat tonight would not particularly worry me, largely because I don’t see the playing field as even.  The funding available to clubs like PSG, Real Madrid and Manchester City makes it highly likely that one of them will go through and win.

But we should be clear that Arsenal are playing not just the opponents on the pitch but millions of others for whom the talk is of “bottling” it.  If Arsenal lose tonight that will mean two wins, two draws and two defeats in the last six, and that is all the media and the supporters who walked out of Arsenal Stadiium long before the end of the Villa game, and their media allies, need.

It will then be all-out war on Arsenal and Arteta in an attempt to undo all the amazing work which has been done in the last four years.

So we are already seeing such gibberish as “Arsenal arrived in Munich on Tuesday night knowing that their season is on the line,” in the Telegraph.

Of course I love to see Arsenal win, and wouldn’t renew my season ticket each year if I didn’t.  But I support the club and its progress and that progress will still be there whatever the result tonight.  The notion that there is “a need to finally prove that they are capable of handling the pressure that arises at this time of year” is not only bad grammar (one really doesn’t expect a split infinitive in the Telegraph) but it ignores the concept of progress.

Instead, we already have talk of the fear of defeat against Wolverhampton in the next game and Arsenal’s “disastrous recent history at this time of the campaign”.

No talk about eight consecutive wins.  No talk about having the best defence and best goal difference in the league.  No talk about being just two points behind Manchester City while having spent about just a sixth of what Manchester City have spent since 2017.

Of course it is a fact, as we have often noted here, that April has been the problem month for the last two seasons as well as for this season, which is why Untold has been developing the “dip” theory and looking for ways in which it might be overcome.

But go back to 2016/17 when Manchester City won two games in eight Premier League matches in March and April.  No such articles then, because these runs occur as a team is developing.  So  of course I want Arsenal to be developed now, but I am practical, and I know it takes time.

Rising up and slagging off the club is not going to help the club at all, any more than kicking out some of the team and the management.   Arsenal are growing and getting better year by year, and are currently being outpaced in the league by a club facing 110 charges of rule infringement, while Arsenal themselves are facing, oh, what is it, err… none.

The media, who know where their butter and indeed bread comes from, endlessly support the Manchester City approach and tend to ignore the sheer lack of competition in the German league that has led to 11 consecutive Bayern Munich titles there or 19 seasons in Spain in which only three teams have won the league, and one of those only twice.

The beauty of the Premier League has been its competition, but clearly the attacks we are starting to see on Arsenal are suggesting that the media actually like leagues in which the outcome is pretty much pre-determined even if to achieve its share Barcelona is now reduced to spending the TV money from ten years in the future.

When the Telegraph says, “‌The point, however, is not so much what has happened this season, but what has happened in previous seasons,” they are totally wrong.   The point is what has happened at Arsenal since 7 Deecember 2020 when Arsenal were 15th in the league.   That’s what we need to remember.

The Standard gives us a team of


White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko;

Odegaard, Rice, Jorginho;

Saka, Havertz, Martinelli

Sports Mole however has a variation at the back…


White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu;

Odegaard, Jorginho, Rice;

Saka, Havertz, Martinelli

Bavarian Football Works don’t have a prediction for the Arsenal line up that I can find but they do have the wonderful line, “Wow! They have a fully fit squad!”   Yep in the past the bloggers and media complained that we got too many injuries.  Now they complain because we don’t win every match.

Yahoo has the same line up as above and by and large that’s about it.  If Arsenal don’t make it, joy in the media will be unbounded as the journos will have their copy written for them for the rest of the season, and they can happily retire to The Toppled Bollard in Fleet Street, their work done,


9 Replies to “Bayern v Arsenal: the team”

  1. I note that on the whistle tonight is Danny Makkelie from the Netherlands. He has refereed us twice and we won both games, including the 4-2 Europa League semi-final 2nd leg at Valencia in 2019…

  2. Well the Dutch referees didn’t bring us luck this year. At Porto and again today…. not really impressed with them. Missed a corner at the end… Giving every physical contact at corners and free kicks against us. But that is the difference with the PL and European football…..
    For a first season back in the CL I think we didn’t do too badly to be honest. Last season 1/8 final in the EL, this time 1/4 if the CL against a team we usually don’t do well against.

  3. Ignore all the jealous media rubbish and be proud of the team’s progress. I share Walter’s views about the referee

  4. In other news… no Englisch clubs in the CL semi finals…. but there are two German clubs in it…. Is the level of the PL going down compared to the rest of Europe…or is the PL so intense and difficult that English teams run out of steam against teams who have an easier ride in their respective leagues?

  5. @Walter,

    yes, the level of competitiveness makes it more difficult for PL clubs to be as fit. It is not like Bayern had a huge fight to lose the Bundesliga. Or PSG, etc.

    And the refereeing in the PL as you justly pointed out is different – like in : incompetent, screwed-up, not relatable, not systematic… – so PL teams probably have trouble adjusting.

    That being said, sure the whole AAA usual bandwagon will jump on their shitcarts and go after Arsenal. I don’t believe it will change anything, the owners have shown that they are behind the project and take a long term stand.

    And if people want to give up their places, there is a long enough waiting line anyway.

    Funny thing, however, 5th place is most probably not going to be an ECL place, so Sp*rs might not make it…. mind the gap…talk about bottling it…. And Aston Villa have all the reasons in the world to put up a huge fight for the remainder of the season.

    We were level with Bayern. No shame in losing this game. Most Bayern players and their manager are used to this competition and what it means. From the starters in our team I think only Jorginho and Havertz played at that level before – Jesus who came on later as well. So this is part of a learning process, of taking in the event, and hopefully learning form it. And taking some pride of playing the way they did.

    Now back to the PL which is far from decided and where Arsenal have to do their job.

  6. A lost opportunity to reach the semi final. We never looked like scoring.
    I hope this experience will pay dividends in the future.
    Declan Rice was mega last night. It was a bad night foe Saka not to play to his high standards….maybe he was carrying a knock from Sunday.
    The quick free quick at the end was a poor decision and of course the poor corner in the last kick-off the game will be one to try and forget.

    Roll on 24/25 ….CL will be ours!

  7. Good comments all. We’re making progress. Last time we drew Bayern we were well outclassed. Last night we were pipped at the post. Next time we’ll beat em.

  8. I’m proud of our boys no matter what!

    This was not 2015…we were in it to the end. They will benefit from the experience and although I don’t expect big arrivals or changes this summer, I have confidence that Edu and Arteta will make positive moves this summer to improve things overall.

    There are a handful of games left and though we don’t control the fate of the title race, thee are some delicious matches including a NLD to look forward to.

    Up the Guns!

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