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August 2021

Just like against Milan, just like against Barcelona.

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.

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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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57 comments to Just like against Milan, just like against Barcelona.

  • bob

    I’ve read that Bayern have a messed up back four right now. One is suspended, one injured, etc. Have you/anyone seen any such reports. If so, that would come in handy in the we have a puncher’s chance, if not more. (That is, if some degree of actual final-third clinicality could be achieved, such as, a switch to Podolski, hmmm?)

  • Robert

    “The only thing that matters now is the rest of the season.”

    But there is nothing left to matter this season for Arsenal.
    It does not matter whether we qualify for the CL.
    1) It won’t help instill a greater winning, fighting mentality in the team.
    2) The team will still see themselves as incapable of overcome nervousness and putting in a winning performance when it most matters (Birmingham, Bradford, Blackburn…)
    3) Where did CL qualification get us this season? We bought a few decent players, yes,
    but performance-wise we’re no better off than last season. There will be no trophies this season and we’re already 21 POINTS behind United.
    4) Liverpool and Tottenham didn’t qualify for the CL, but they were still able to bring in quality players. CL is not the only criterion that players look at.


    “Forget about last Saturday, forget about previous disappointments. They are in the past.”

    But how much are we supposed to forge ALL THE TIME? There is nothing to remember for Arsenal fans these days! And you’re wrong: these disappointments are not in the past. They’ve penetrated deep into the players and the fans, have become a part of what Arsenal is for the past 8 years.

    When will you ever stop with your deluded optimism?

    Don’t you see that Wenger needs to go? The club needs new energy and a coach that buys more and better players, and the players clearly need someone to motivate them better.

    For ex., the goalkeeping problem has been evident for MANY seasons now. And yet Szczesny has no competition. The DM/enforcerer role likewise – Diaby can’t be trusted, and Ramsey and Coquelin are too frail. Clearly, the CBs aren’t good enough either – the defense is leaking.

  • WalterBroeckx

    we are doomed no matter what. doomed, doomed, doomed.

  • Without cheap sarcasm – rest of the season is important, right? Twelve more matches to go, 36 points to play for. OK, I agree. But, do we have too much reasons to be optimistic?

    How many points did we get against sides we are facing until the rest of the season?

    11 in 11 matches (Reading were in Championship back then).

  • Arun

    How many points did we get against sides we are facing until the rest of the season?
    11 in 11 matches (Reading were in Championship back then).

    You must be ashamed of yourself on quoting the wrong stats. We had 21 points against the sides we are left to play in the season.

    As far as the Bayern match is concerned, the first goal is going to be very very important. If Bayern manage to score first it will be very difficult for us as the Emirates crowd hasn’t been highly supportive of the team. Just for change, let’s start with Poldi in the center not Giroud. Poldi is our most clinical striker in the league and deserves to play in the center not Giroud, who is good but not good enough.

  • Krause

    We have been appointed MOEN…a referee from Norway for Bayern. We have had him twice before…both with great results. Boateng is suspended for this match on the Bayern side otherwise I believe they have a solid back 4. Mueller is the big worry for me in this match.

  • @Arun:

    read what I wrote again. Last season we lost in 6 of 11 forthcoming fixtures (Reading excluded) – FAnchester United and Wigan at home, Spuds, QPR, Fulham and Swansea away.

    We won three of forthcoming fixtures – Aston Villa and Everton at home, West Brom away. Reverse fixtures aren’t included in the statistics.

  • JohnW

    Robert, Josif,
    Imagine Chelsea, 50 years without a single League trophy, but they still tried every single season to win it until they actually did. What guarantees do you have that when Wenger leaves, you will finally win trophies? Yes changes need to be made, but this business of mourning all the time when soccer is supposed to be a fun game must stop. You will get a heart attack for nothing!
    Bob, the Bayern back four is not messed up as you said. In fact even if Badstuber and Boateng were available, the manager would still opt to choose Van Buyten and Dante in central defence, because they are all very good and experienced. Their full backs are the usual ones.
    It’s not wishful thinking that we can beat Bayern (in fact I have predicted this on this forum for some time now), because their defence also makes a lot of mistakes and sometimes the keeper bails it out. I watch Bayer each week, and I’ve seen Neuer also make silly mistakes. So both teams will score.
    Ribbery is on fire but it’s very easy to defend him, sometimes he’s like Gervinho. But Arsenal have to be very alert with Muller and Mandcukic (SP).

  • Arsenal do not know what defending is and Bayern are one of the best attacking forces in Europe and the team with the meanest defense in their home league and in Europe. I cannot predict if we will score or not, but it would be a surprise if we concede less than 5 goals over the two legs.
    Frankly, I do not expect for any result from Arsenal. In fact, I think we should we should rest our best players and concentrate on finishing 4th in the league. That is more realistic at the moment. We have to swallow this bitter truth with a pinch of salt, sadly.
    If fans still expect a “Chelsea” from Arsenal…. our team does not know what “defending” is let alone trying out “The Bus”.

  • Walter,

    When you say “we are doomed, doomed, doomed”, what are you trying to say? 😀

  • Shard

    Intruder alert 🙂

  • Shard

    Walter..How do you get the energy to write such sensible stuff again and again. I really appreciate it.

  • Flattery, Shard!

    However, Walter is immune to it. 🙂

  • americangooner

    I think that this game is pretty similar to the games against barca, in that bayern play possession game. Both bayern & barca are attack minded but concede less goals. However, the team that beat barca was a completely different team. So was the team that beat milan. Interesting thing to note is this arsenal team is better, at least on paper, than last year.
    Its mostly going to be a possession game and whoever converts their possession into meaningful end result. Yes, bayrrn have conceded just 7 in their last 22 bundesliga matches and scored 50+ goals. But this is not bundesliga rather a cup game.and stats show they have conceded 7 goals in 6 matches, one less than arsenal -who were erratic in their performance.
    I am expecting a good game and maybe the refree has to do a lot of running around to do.

  • A very good Post, Walter, and a rallying call to arms.

    I like to think I am a good, loyal supporter, but if you pressed me, I would have to admit I think the odds are against us winning.

    That is not to say I do not think a win is impossible. As you wrote, that is the beauty of football — anything is possible — just ask Blackburn.

    Incidentally, I agree with you, ‘boo-ing’ is never acceptable, in my opinion, and only happens when people are very frustrated and lose their own dignity, which, in turn, only compounds the problem.

    The message it gives to the players is that either they are useless, or that they do not care. How can that help restore their confidence?

    A little sugar has far better chance of a favourable performance than the burning acid of ridicule and humiliation.

    But crowds do not care for such niceties!

  • That is a first for me, I think — a triple negative!! Brain has gone to sleep! 🙂

    – “That is not to say I do not think a win is impossible.”

  • Shard

    Clever tactics RA. By complimenting Walter’s indifference to flattery, aren’t you simply doing what you accused me of? 🙂

  • Shard

    That you can figure out what you said constituted a triple negative, even while your brain is asleep, is a testament to your brain RA..

    Let’s see how YOU deal with flattery. 🙂

  • Pishh! Shard.

    It is often held that flattery is telling the other person precisely what he thinks about himself, which makes it transparently insincere, and I would never do that — would I? 🙂

  • Shard,

    You said, “(A)ren’t you simply doing what you accused me of?”

    As your beetle Guru, I must tell you not to finish a sentence with a preposition! 😀

  • Okay Wenger must go so? We bring in Furgus no let bring in Mourin$o no no Mancini oh no Guardiola no no Moyes hmm what have he done at Everton? If some of you guys gave Wenger a contract then fire him but if you didn’t then wait not until his contract expires and then recruit, for your information Abromorich wants the guy,Madrid do you think those rich men are insane? Noooo
    But he is not interested as he has a contract to run until 2014 so those of you who can not stand the heat get out of the kitchen or else shut the fuck up. As of the board they are no letting their jewel go,howz that?

  • Shard

    Not too English now am I RA? 🙂

  • glic

    So this is where you slip off to Redders !. I sent you out for some pork scratching`s and your gallivanting from site to site !. Get back now !.
    He is a very naughty boy !.

    Oh and by the way, an excellent post, not sure about your name though. I`d get it checked out, sounds like a urinal blockage !. 😆

  • Arun

    That’s my mistake. I completely misinterpreted your statement. I apologize for the same.
    But still the results from previous season doesn’t have any importance in this season’s fixtures. I believe that results from this season are a better indicator than the results from previous seasons.

  • The font

    Am I the only one who thinks arsenal are going to win by 2 goals and get a draw at the Allianz

  • Rupert Cook

    @The Font,yes.

  • sevin

    @walter: 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:

    absolutely correct. you are going to get humiliated both home and away..say goodbye to your idol

  • bob

    John W,
    Thanks for the clarifications. Btw, I asked. I did not assert. But if your info is accurate, then you know and we stand informed. And you get the credit you want.

  • bob

    The Font,
    As in the font of wisdumb? Do you have a reason for your oh so brash assertion, or just like to opine? For my tax money, a show of reasoning would be most welcome.

  • bob

    He’s confused you with that new oh so new and very english edifice wrecks that stands hi above the mere mortals below. (Have you seen it on youtube as yet?)

  • Florian

    @Rupert re the font: No:)

  • akasuna00

    Let’s do it!! Let’s beat Bayern home and away.. The results could not be worse than it is now. What’s the worst thing could happened?

  • Mandy Dodd

    You will read tomorrow in the press and anti wenger blogs that our manager has lost the plot. Here is the transcript. Seems pretty sensible and lucid to me….at least.
    Nasty tactic using the aftermath of Blackburn to make up stories of an imminent new contract, wenger always leaves it until near renewal date should he sign. But thought this transcript interesting on many levels….broadside to fans…media….and maybe even some players? Who knows but this is not how it will be portrayed tomorrow

  • bjtgooner

    Walter, this is a really good sensible article and has my full support.

    There has been a lot of rubbish talked by the AAA scum since Saturday; it looks they have had a lot of (organized) pent up frustration which they were waiting to vent as soon as we lost a match.

    Win, lose or draw I will support the team & manager, so come on guys, lets get stuck into Bayern and get a result.

  • Segun

    I understand the need to be positive and all, but expecting the fans to show passion when the players looks like they couldn’t be bothered is naive! Just like blaming the fans for the team not performing is unfair IMO, especially, the Manager rather doin the needful and strengthen kept saying the team is perfect!

  • Mandy Dodd

    The fans will show passion tomorrow night, so will the team

  • Sav from Australia

    Nice one Walter!

  • americangooner

    This transcript of AW on today’s match is worth a read.

  • Linz

    bob,considering Bayern have only conceded 7 goals in the league all season,and none since the winter break,i fear there may be some disappointed folk this time tomorrow!! I was impressed with Dante when England played Brazil.IMO,he is just the sort of centre back we need,big ,strong,can play a bit too and a bit of a bastard.We are too damn nice ,too easily bullied,we need a bit of a devil who opposition fans hate!!! Whatever the result,we must remember that there is another,much harder leg to come.I felt that when we played Barca there was a little too much confidence,dare i say arrogance,following the good results at the Emirates!!It will only be half time! BTW i see Barca have started their games regarding our Jack with Dani Alves coming out and saying if he could choose one player to buy it would be Wilshere.He said he could be as good as Xavi and Iniesta. Good job we got him to sign that deal! GRRRRRR!!!!

  • Domhuail

    To those who feel that our season is now officially over and that we should just go through the motions in the CL with a reserve and youth team, then there is little one can say to such brash ignorance but recommend that such ¨supporters¨ find a team that suits their jaded tastes, as AFC clearly isn’t worthy of their support.
    To those who have serious doubts aboput our abilkity to beat a powerhouse like Bayern over two legs, I say fair enough but its too soon to tell.
    To those who say we CAN win it all, I say bravo for your optimism and I hope that the Gunners share that belief but if you aren’t out there cheering on our lads regardless, then your optimism and enthusiasm is hollow.
    To those who will berate me for the fool and mock my objectivity as naivete and blinkered Wenger adoration, I say its ONLY a game and if you can’t enjoy it, regardless of the results, then take up a sport where you can enjoy the process, not just the outcome. I enjoy both as Football is like life, never straightforward,simple or guaranteed.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ The Font – No from me too, although I think (more in hope) it’ll be 1-0 at home and 1-1 away .
    The crowd at the CL games seem to be more vocal ,so get behind the team and keep on cheering !
    Up the Gunners !

  • Arvind

    If we can get a draw tomorrow, even at 0-0, it’s game on in Germany..bigtime. I think we can beat Bayern..I’m not sure about the clean sheet though.

    The biggest threat will be their right back and if Podolski isn’t overwhelmed or too tight tomorrow, he will play the 90 minutes and put in a big defensive shift. Robben will play right wing coz he will always cut in and it is on TommyV’s weaker side as well. Ribery will do nothing in a big game as usual and whoever the center forward is, will score a tap in.

    And seriously guys…dump all your negativity for once and try and cheer the team on tomorrow. As for me, it’ll be yet another game I will miss; this year has been a disaster watching wise : (

  • bob

    God I can’t stand them. It’s the same as serial cleating. It goes from Pujol to Iniesta, to Busquets and now to Alves – same siren song to serenade and lure our best. What shits they are. Somehow I suspect that if they got serious, they’d have x-Cesc and Song quietly working the phones, which they wouldn’t if they had a shred of integrity left. GRRRRRRRR is right.

  • menace

    @Robert you obviously never leave home in case the sky falls on your head. Your delusion is that trophies are all that matter. So please go buy yourself one for a couple of hundred quid and watch BLACKBURN OR SPURS. Arsenal have given me 8 wonderful years of football in spite of the ‘tapping’ that is going on. 8 years of quality football that most other clubs are trying to copy. Football that brings out the racist in the FA with their match officials showing a silent bias to ensure the wealth of those in power. Football that is sporting and clean. I pay for a season ticket yet I watch from distant shores while Arsenal supporters who love the club use my seat.

    I don’t care that we lost a game when we played clean fair beautiful football. I have been on the terraces at Highbury when there were 17,000 in the crowd, but what Wenger has brought to this club is priceless.

    Ho support United with their 679 million supporters worldwide & their evil greedy owners who steal every dime from poor Americans that live in caravan parks.

  • Rupert Cook

    Yeh Robert, whoever you are, the sky will fall on your head if you dare go out. Actually according to the laws of physics that’s not possible. @ Menace, you need a financial adviser mate; and maybe a pair of good spectacles if you think our football was that great against Blackburn.

    @The Font, football’s an unpredictable beast. We could go out tonight and put four past Bayern. After all England thrashed Germany 5-1 in Germany. The loss to Blackburn might spur the team on. That’s the beauty of the game, results are nearly always impossible to call.

    If we are not to slow out of the blocks or overawed which we have appeared to be against the better teams this season then we may win. The team have something to prove and if they aren’t up for it then their mentality has to be questioned.

  • Adam

    Well im looking forward to a technical game,I just hope we don’t allow Bayern to dominate the tempo of the game. I think the pace of Walcott will have them switched on at the back. But they won’t be scared of us though.

    If a team cannot motivate itself for a game like this, then they are in the wrong profession. Just hope this game is great for all the right reasons.

  • menace

    @Rupert My finances are fine. The price of a pot does not compare with the prize winnings or gate receipts. Arsenal were unlucky against Blackburn. Good chances were spurned. Blackburn also missed a couple of chances but over all our football was deserving of a win.

    As for Bayern, win or lose I am an Arsenal supporter and Wenger is the brightest thing to happen in my time supporting Arsenal. No one can take away the memories of an unbeaten season while being managed by a Frenchman.

  • menace

    To say it Galls the damned English press is an understatement (forgive the pun).

  • Tasos

    On paper its an incredibly tough fixture tonight. Bayern Munich are probably the form team in Europe just now.

    Domestically they’re fifteen points clear at the top of the Bundesliga having conceded just 7 goals in all 22 matches and only once in 11 away games. They also haven’t conceded a single goal in their last six matches, all victories.

    Although that looks daunting I believe statistically it makes Bayern more likely (not less likely) to concede at least once in their next match.

    Also Bayern’s away record in the Champions League has been far from perfect so far, whilst a 1-1 draw in Valencia is decent a 3-1 defeat at the home of FC BATE Borisov gives Arsenal some hope.

  • Grayfox001

    Great post that echo my thoughts exactly. I really don’t understand whinging and whining just before we’re about to play a last 16 tie in the CL.

    By all means complain about the manager/board/players etc last weekend or this weds/thurs/fri but right now anyone calling themselves an Arsenal supporter needs to be getting fully behind the team. Nothing else matters in a cup competition. Anyone that’s contemplating booing at any point half way through a 2 legged cup tie really needs to stay at home cause you are not a supporter

    I hope I and 50000 other true supporters will have lost our voices through singing when we turn up at work tomorrow. If that happens I think we’ll see something really special tonight

  • Grayfox001

    Not usually one for online/twitter/Facebook campaigns but think this is one everyone going to the game should get behind


  • WalterBroeckx


    I wanna hear it on my TV tonight!!!

    I will even be putting up the noise level as the commentary will be from the Dutch TV and they usually have some interesting things to say.

    Thanks for the link Grayfox!!

  • WalterBroeckx

    This season I went to my local team and they didn’t play well. It was a game with no history and we struggled in the first 10 minutes conceding some chances to the other team.

    Then our “spionkop” started to chant: Berchem boys – back to glory – Berchem boys – back to glory… And the chant went on and on and on and on.

    The players picked up the support and after shouting some 5 mins we were 1-0 up and a different team. After celebrating the goal we started doing it again and again and again and a bit later we were 2-0 up.

    It was amazing to do, our throats where soar at the end of the game but I think we did it (with a small group of some 150-200 people I think – it’s not really comparable to the Emirates 🙂 🙂 🙂 ) for about 45 minutes in total.

    And the players really responded to it and upped their game.

  • WalterBroeckx

    And we won the game 3-1 I think.

  • Stuart

    RED ARMY!!!!!!

    Walter, re the bit:

    “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.”

    I would go a step further and say that even when as fans, we don’t believe we can do it, a supporter will still get behind the team.

  • Stuart

    Re Bob : 1st comment

    Here is a snippet taken from

    Bayern will be without summer signing Claudio Pizarro and long term absentee Holger Badstuber. Jerome Boateng will serve his suspension against Arsenal meaning Jupp Heynckes will field Lahm, van Buyten, Dante and Alaba at the back. Martinez is back to full fitness and the Spaniard along with Schwiensteiger will look to protect the defence against a potent Arsenal side. Kroos will likely start as the attacking midfielder with Mandzukic upfront who will be supported on the wings by Ribery and Muller. Mandzukic’s hot streak continues and in case the Germans can’t break down Arsenal’s defence they always have some very capable substitutes in Robben, Shaqiri and Gomez who are all potential match winners.

  • Linz

    bob,re Dani Alves.My trusted sources ( ok ok the gossip columns of the sports pages!!!) tell me that Barca are hawking Mr Alves around Europe, so desperate are they to get rid of him.So maybe he should join Arsenal if he wants to play with Jack.However,as he is just a more tattooed,slightly less fat version of Andre Santos,being made to look better than he is because Barca have the ball 80% of the time,i think i’ll pass on that!!!One not so good Brazilian wing back can be put down to experience,another would be plain stupidity!!!!