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July 2021

It wasn’t even close

By Walter Broeckx

Let me start by saying that the title of this article is not about how close we came to qualify for the next round. But more on that later.

I think our win at Bayern Munich has made a few things clear. And maybe we can put some things to bed now. Things like: “Wenger doesn’t know tactics”.

Well if yesterdays game wasn’t about tactics….then no games ever will be about tactics. It was clear that this team was put on the field with a tactical plan. A plan to stop Bayern from playing their game. And that is not an easy thing to do. I didn’t check the numbers but will give a flavour of what has been said in the last few days.  Bayern won their last 8 games. Bayern hadn’t lost a game in their last 24 games. So winning against such a team is not easy.

So the tactic was to put sand in the well oiled Bayern Munich machine. And it did work. Apart from one counter attack where Robben could sprint towards goal the only other chances (if we can call them that) was from shots from distance.  That is because our tactics were good and well executed. And it takes 11 players to do this. And I think all 11 need to be given credit for their effort over the whole 90 minutes.

All this defensive work cost us a bit going forward. But I think that was the game plan. Be patient and never run out of position without another player covering. All the players concentrated and were focused. Apart from a few split seconds but well they are human.

So the first part of the tactic plan was to stop Bayern from deploying their impressive attacking game. And it worked.

Another thing is: we cannot defend.

Well yesterday was a very solid defensive display. As said against a team that scores just under an average of three goals in a game this season.  I think the back five of Fabianski, Jenkinson, Per, Kos and Gibbs was outstanding.

Speaking of Mertesacker: I wonder how many times in his Bundesliga career has he managed to win at Bayern Munich? Not a lot I think. But defending is not about those 5 people. The whole team has to do their defensive job. And they did that.

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Another thing is that we surely don’t seem to have any luck with our referees in the CL in recent years. 2 years ago we had the Busacca moment at Barcelona. Last season we had a ref with a game plan. This time we had a ref who had no real clue about the game.

Indeed after a while it got a bit weird. Bayern players going down was always a foul. Or when Giroud went in for an aerial duel it was always a foul and when the Bayern defenders jumped in to his back it was never a foul.

The Bayern players noticed it and went on the search for fouls. Going down when running past an Arsenal player and the ref gave them what they wanted.   But the most painful moment was in the second half. And now we come to the title of this article: it wasn’t even close. Let us move back to minute 55. Let us have a look:

As you can see Walcott was not even close to being offside.  As I work a lot as an assistant referee at the moment I know how hard it sometimes can be.  And sometimes a close call can be wrong. But surely this was around one metre onside if you look at the picture. That is not really close.  And even when you doubt you should give the advantage to the attacker. I cannot understand that the assistant  could even have doubt in this case.

Of course we will not know if Walcott would have scored. Because the flag went up and the attack was stopped. But can you imagine Arsenal scoring at that moment in the game? It sure would have made a difference. Now we didn’t get the chance to score as the assistant raised his flag.

Now I must admit that I don’t read the English papers. But I expect that the papers will have headlines about this decision. I expect headlines like:  ROBBED! Or CHEATED! But no, on reflection, somehow I don’t think we will see such headlines. [How right you are Walter – Ed] I rather expect them to talk about how many years without a trophy.

I also would like to mention how the media once again has tried to screw us. Because before the game I read that many people were angry about Wenger. They were angry because the media said that Wenger would play without Cazorla, Walcott, Mertesacker, …. Some people asked a refund because they didn’t want to see a reserve side playing in the CL and get beaten.  Some even claimed they had cancelled their flight. Better to take such statements with a pinch of salt of course. But that was the atmosphere before the game on the internet.

But then again when the game started I saw that all those players we would rest according to the media were just playing.  Now I do wonder why the media made up that starting line up and printed it on their websites? Was it to provoke unrest amongst Arsenal supporters? They sure succeeded in this.

So a simple thought guys: don’t believe what you read in the papers.

Of course real Arsenal supporters know that Wenger is not the man to leak his team to the media. So we should have known that this was another invention from the media to cause trouble amongst fans and the manager. Shame on those who fell for it.

So the last thing we should remember is: NEVER and I mean NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER trust the rotting, lying, cheating media.  They have their own agenda and unfortunately some of our fickle fans fall for it every time they come up with their bullshit stories.

The Munich Miracle didn’t happen completely. Even winning 0-2 at Bayern is already a little miracle if you were to believe the media before the game.  But the Munich disaster didn’t happen at all. We went out on away goals. That 3rd fluke goal at the Emirates cost us the qualification. But this team has shown it can produce great results.

Not let us take this believe in to the last 10 games of the PL.

The books…

The sites from the same team…


82 comments to It wasn’t even close

  • naked goon

    first time in ages I have seen them play with the spirit of old. but as this game was 180 minutes, we still only turned up for the second half.
    no excuses, we all know how well they can play, just do it and finish third!

  • Malaysian gunner

    I want more of this display especially in defence.The attack needs beefing up. Hopefully Wenger,if he’s still around,will stregthen the team with top players.
    Then we shall see.

  • Philbet

    In the cold light of day all last nights work was for nothing ,however one good positive thing that should come out of it is belief,the players will know they went to Munich and delivered,a good performance and a clean sheet it can help eliminate any self doubt,hopefully they can use this renewed self belief and go on a sustained run in the EPL.
    The facts are that one more win than either Spurs or Chelsea see’s us qualify,we are theoretically only 2 & 3 points behind as they have to play one another so the best one of them can receive is 1 point, the gap is not as big as it looks and is very attainable if last nights efforts can be reproduced.

  • GazzaEsq

    Spot on as usual Walter. I agree it is strange no mention was made of Bayeerns delaying tactics, the poor refereeing or the Walcott “offside”. I watched the game on Sky and I was steaming when he was flagged “off”. I didn’t listen to the haf tiem analysis as Redknapp Jr was on the team and he talks even more **** than his father so don’t know if they picked up on it ?? Overall a great team performance, showing discipline sadly lacking for large parts of the season. Hopefully this a will galvanise the lads to push hard for 4th – 3rd

  • jax

    @GazzaEsq, there was no discussion of the Walcott offside at half time, full time or by Wenger in his post match interview. The Sky commentary team barely mentioned it during play, and none of the online newspapers (that I’ve read) have said a word. Very peculiar, you’d think someone other than bloggers would be making a fuss by now wouldn’t you.

  • jax

    @jax, now that I think more on it there wouldn’t have been a half time discussion on the Walcott offside as it occurred in the second half. My bad.

  • richard M

    Interesting piece, one thing i would like to point out is that that pic is misleading as the picture is taken a good few feet in front of action twist it and it will look closer than that. However, we did not do enough last night and once again we are a victim of not producing two solid performances in a champions league game. The run in is tight we have utd and everton from top seven sides tottenham have city everton and chelsea and chelsea have tottenham and 1 other i think but april will be key for us. But first things first lets win the swansea game which puts us four points behind spurs and they then play sunday which puts pressure back on them against a fulham side that is coming back into a bit of form itself if they fail to win against fulham they will leave us with a chance to hang on their coattails with a win against reading next week. we have a possible 15 points in april 13 points would be a good return and will be down to how many points tottenham pick up from their three big games.

  • Rupert Cook

    Course Wenger had a tactical plan. But then so did Bayern. They played to defend their three goal lead. Very few teams with a lead that good are going to play that aggressively, best to let your opponent do all the work.

    I don’t think that offside call was made much of because Walcott didn’t put the ball in the net and nobody got sent off. It has to be game-changing moment for the media to react.

    It was a good solid display and I expect the team to replicate it against Swansea.

  • Matt

    So what happened to Wenger the tactical genius in the 1st game against Bayern? According to this site one off descisions or matches prove that what we have seen for 4 seasons to be incorrect, very strange rational indeed.

  • WalterBroeckx

    If I may add another thing about the second goal. How on earth the ref didn’t book Neuer for not releasin the ball is beyond me. The instructions are clear that in such a case the player who is holding on to the ball should be booked. Another miss from this ref.

  • Rupert Cook

    @jax, all that sun in Weston-super-Mare is muddling your mind.

  • WalterBroeckx


    yeah those other tactical geniuses never lose a game.
    That is why Mourinho, SAF, Benitez, Van Gaal are all known as the coach of the invincibles. Oh wait a minute…they never got a season unbeaten.

  • Matt

    No but they have all won the Champions League unlike Sir Arsene Wenger.I worry about you Walter.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think every manager has tactics. The only things are that you can agree or disagree with them. And sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.
    But saying (as many do) that Wenger never does tactics is just stupid.

  • clockendjim

    Although there was much pre-match criticism, Wenger did what most fans have been shouting for a long time. Szczesny and Vermaelen are just not up to it this season. If you ruled out the goals against they have been directly responsible for, we would not be in nearly such a dreadful state.
    The Tottenham match was a great example. We gifted them two soft goals without which we should have won the game and things would certainly be looking a lot brighter. I am not saying that Fabianski is the answer; we need an experienced reliable goalkeeper. Almost every PL team has a better No1 than us, even those right at the bottom of the table eg Júlio César, Brad Guzan, Ben Foster, Asmir Begovic etc etc
    I think most fans agree that Koscielny is our best defender so why is he warming the bench so much lately? Well that back 5 did us proud last night. What could have been if we had had a fit Jack Wilshere playing ?

  • WalterBroeckx

    I take an unbeaten season any day over a CL win.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Walter, I’d rather win the CL than go a season unbeaten. That feat has been hanging around our necks for years. It was fantastic, no argument there, but it’s become like a bloody burden.

  • Tasos

    Arsenal are the only team to keep a clean sheet against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena this season. Not sure how this is possible when apparently Arsenal don’t practice the art of defending.

    Truth is not many gave Arsenal a chance last night with many predicting/hoping we were on the receiving end of a mauling.

    As for the media, a pattern has appeared recently;

    Before the Bayern home tie “Wenger to pen new two year deal” LIE

    Before the Spurs game “Arab consortium to buy Arsenal” LIE

    And yesterday before the Bayern second leg Mr Aston from the Daily Mail fabricated this nugget “Gunners give in! Wenger risks fans’ fury by resting Walcott and Cazorla against Bayern to focus on securing top-four spot” LIE

    Pity the gullible who still believe such crap.

  • nicky

    I sum up last night’s game like this:
    We played as well as we can these days.
    Bayern thought they only needed to turn up and played accordingly.
    We have only one target now, to finish high enough to qualify for next term’s CL. Not too bad an aim at the start of the season but a small mountain to climb now.
    The Club, players and all loyal fans know this target. We can’t get outside help. The answer is simple. Everyone must give 100% effort on and off the pitch. Treat every game as a semi-final cup tie. If we don’t make the “final” we have won nothing.

  • Matt

    Really who else on here would rater an unbeaten season to CL win?

  • bob

    Rupert Cook,
    You actually think Chelsea are and will be better remembered for having won the CL than Arsenal are/was for being Invincibles. Your true colors are once again on full display. Nonsense: one is forever young and a reference point; the other is enough to wrap yesterday’s old fish.

  • Mick

    As far as I am concerned a brilliant result and I congratulate the whole team from Wenger down for the effort. From what I have heard on talkshite so far today praise for the result last night has been fairly lukewarm. They have (begrudgingly?)acknowledged the good result but quickly followed it with a great big ‘BUT’. Bayern ‘didn’t play well’ they didn’t have Schweinsteiger and Ribery playing etc etc. Of course had it been Spurs they would be having orgasm’s and talking about ‘incredible journeys’ and ‘fantastic adventures’ and such like. If any of you really want to make your blood boil tune into talkshite’s chief Arsenal executioner Adrian Durham later today when his guest is that well known football expert and Wenger hater Piers Morgan.

  • Mick

    ‘Really who else on here would rather an unbeaten season to CL win?’

    I would. A unique achievement probably never to be repeated.

  • jax

    @Rupert, yeah, it’s getting bad when I can’t tell one half from another. Doh!

  • Rupert Cook

    @Bob, I doubt it but I would rather we won the CL. That’s all. Where’s the harm in that?

  • Rupert Cook

    @Bob, also Preston achieved the same thing though I’m sure their supporters don’t harp on about 100 years later.
    Each to their own and let’s respect each other’s views.

  • Mick

    For the sake of accuracy and without wishing to detract from Preston’s achievement there is really no comparison. In 1888/9 (the inaugural season of the English football league) there were only 12 teams in the division so they only had to go 22 games unbeaten.

  • ARSENAL 13

    @ richard M,

    The angle of the pic is confusing BUT that white line has a lot to say. If you draw a line connecting the tip of each players feet you will see, They are not parallel.

  • bob

    The mess media in several major quarters, on the very cusp of the game, did repeat, as if fact, the false nature of our starting line-up. Mea culpa: I fell for it, and I customarily can detect, hate and distrust most of their collective mendacity. You can call it/me fickle, but I’d reject it for being more naive than I expected of myself: that is, I never thought there’d be such a well-timed (ill-timed) echo chamber of false reporting, as if it were fact, and in so coordinated way so close to the start of the event itself. And to the point of trying to stoke massive resentment among away fans; to try and stampede the most loyal gooners, the away fans, to cancel their flights and demand refunds. And if these mind-fuckers had a poor performance to feast on, they would have tried to reap the total rebellion that they crave. That micro-level of deceit, to my naive mind, is a new low: a level of tactical viciousness toward a team’s fanbase that I’ve not yet seen. A new trick in the book, it seems. (But then again, I wasn’t aware, until last year’s re-opening of the case, of how Der Sun and other Murdoch orifices so violated even grieving fans at the Anfield disaster. Though I was well aware of the all-out character-assassinatin pogrom launched on AW during the summer of Cesc.)

    I think all Gooners ought to learn the media lesson that you’ve insisted on in this posting. Yes, Rufusstan and Rupert Cook, there is a coordinated anti-Arsenal combination and it knows no boundaries. (Oh yes, they only try to sell papers, outdoing each other in a dwindling competitive marketplace. Yep, the rot is systemic. Its business as usual is sheer manipulation to the gullible, the fickle and the naive, a very many people.) Your advice on this is spot on. Start with total disbelief and let them earn back any trust. What truth and factuality are at stake, the burden of proof needs to be shifted on to them. I’ve now learned my lesson on the total nihilism and shamelessness of UK Sports Media and hope we continue to recognize their herd toxicity, even on the cusp of and during the events they distort.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Mick, I agree. Course we don’t know how difficult it was to achieve what they did. What Arsenal did was spectacular. And we nearly did it before under Graham if it wasn’t for bloody Chelsea.

  • Rupert Cook

    I’ve no idea why people believe what they read in the papers. You can see how badly some of them have laid into Rafa, so it’s not just Wenger. But then I don’t read much press anyway, just one sunday paper a week and that’s it. But I also guess you have a club that’s stuck with the same manager for seven years with no success and you make a rod for your own back. Possibly if we were Stoke or Norwich we’d have been praised for our consistency but we are seen as a big club and we don’t act like other big clubs by changing managers every year. Anyway we now have plenty of money so I see no reason for a marked improvement next season.

  • JohnW

    Did Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest win the European Cup? Where are they? Chelsea won it last time round, but ask your children whether they know it. I don’t think they know, because it was vague and flukey! Arsene does not have a CL trophy, may be it was never meant to be, but he’s not the first Arsenal manager. Mor and SAF have two apiece, but I don’t think their circumstances are similar to ours.
    But YES, I would rather win the CL than going the entire season unbeaten.

  • JohnW

    By the way, anyone wants to bet with me that we will play CL next season?

  • Rupert Cook

    Oops, should read “I see no reason why there shouldn’t be a marked improvement next season”.

  • Rupert Cook

    @John W. I’ll bet we don’t.

  • Tasos


    Although it seems to get lost due to the incredible invincible team Arsenal also went unbeaten away from home during the 2001/2 double season.

    How many teams can claim to have achieved that feat let alone remain invincible home and away?

  • Norm

    Indeed! This was a terrific performance against the odds (Platini, media, match officials). It was good to see players organising themselves, shouting, pointing and nearly delivering. Also when the many and various stupid decisions occurred, all the players were fired up, not the usual stroll back to defensive positions. Please AW keep this same team and same bench for Swansea. The defensive system worked to a properly thought out plan and the midfield too. I am proud of our effort, but typically disgusted with the one-sided decisions – we only had to approach a Bayern player for the whistle to blast, yet many times fouls on Giroud, Rosicky were ignored. If we had done half as well as this in the home leg, last night would have been one of the all time great results. Now this desire needs repeating for the PL.

  • bob

    Rupert Cook,
    So you’re not also a Chelsea fan? Several accused you of that and it didn’t seem that you stepped up to refute it, so I’ve assumed you were. If not, then I gladly take back with apologies the “true colors” part of my slating you for preferring a CL win (thinking Chelsea’s) for an unbeaten season.

    That said, just for me to better grasp where the fault lines lie, would you accept that the “spectacular” achievement of our going unbeaten was stopped by Design? By Riley’s carrying out a design (of still unknown final Authorship) to stop us at Old Toilet? And, if so, that it is possible to have a conspiracy of interests at work against your success because it promotes their prospects? And that if it can happen that one time, on so big a stage, that it can happen, even regularly, on the smaller stage, etc.? Where do you get on or off this bus?

  • Rupert Cook

    @Bob, I loathe Chelsea. I detest Abramovich, a crook who stole his wealth from his own people. The reason I never refute those insults is I just find them too childish to waste time on.

    Riley’s decision was wrong. Anything can happen in the murky world of football so it wouldn’t surprise me if there was more to it than just plain ineptitude. The reasons for it could be many. Remember Leeds had a European Cup trophy denied to them because the ref took bribes. The lines of corruption run deep.

  • bob

    “…a crook who stole his wealth from his own people.”
    Yep, very well said!

  • Kamiel

    Excellent article, Walter. Untold Arsenal remains one of the few shining lights in an Arsenal blogosphere gone mad.

    One thing highlighted by this piece was how the Walcott “offside” incident was brushed aside by the media. You can imagine that if it was Man United, the papers would be up in arms as they did when Nani was given red for a tackle that could be misconstrued. Same with the ridiculous Judas sending off against Barca a few years back – very little mention in the media about how we were robbed. Inversely, they nitpick at the things (they think) we get wrong and mention them every damn time they write an article concerning us.

    Also, all the headlines I’ve read about this game seem to focus on the fact that we lost the tie: “too little, too late”, “arsenal bow out” etc. What?! In the buildup they predicted Bayern squashing us, and yet we still managed to beat them – the most efficient side in Europe this season- and the media doesn’t give us our due praise. The records will read Bayern 3-3 Arsenal. We beat them, a giant of world football constantly praised for being run “the proper way” (what the hell have we been doing, then?) and we handed them one of only two home defeats this season along with the only game so far where they didn’t score. Still, I read about how our manager doesn’t have a clue anymore.

    My question, I guess, is what does the media have against Arsenal? When United ended our unbeaten run, it was probably the most horrible spectacle I’d ever seen. They came at us to injure from kickoff, literally kicking our players with every opportunity and the referee was clearly biased, letting United geting away with just about every dodgy thing they did. The media glossed over this too.

    We aren’t the only team with a foreign manager or foreign players or frugal operations but we’re derided in mass media and the internet when for all intents and purposes, Arsenal should be a media darling. We’re an underdog, we beat the odds every season by doing what they say we can’t, we went unbeaten in the advent of billionaire ownership. It just doesn’t make any sense.

  • Rufusstan

    Right now I’d go for a CL win, after all the unbeaten season thing is sooo 2004 🙂

    OK, I’d go for an invincibles every time but we’ve been there; done that.

    I still think we have a decent chance for 4th, even 3rd, but that is largely due to Spurs having a potentially hideous run in.

    — For those wondering why, they have: Fulhan this weekend, which isn’t so bad, then away at Swansea. After that Everton, Chelsea and City back-to-back which could go anywhere.

    3 of their last 4 games are against teams in the bottom 6, normally easy, but not when they are fighting for their lives. The other is away at Stoke. I could see 12/12 here, but just as likely 5 or less.

    Not saying we sit back and book flights for next years away games, but if we do our part, all the pieces are there for their annual end of season collapse.

  • A. Stewart

    Great win, happy about a few things in particular:
    1) sacrified style for pragmatism when needed.
    2) Imo the dropping(“resting”) of Vermaelen/Szczesny was well overdue.
    3) The boys really played with some pride and grit.

    The same big picture changes are still needed (imo) to be more competitive (i.e. standing a better chance of winning) the CL, and League next season.

    Great win against top opposition though!

  • A. Stewart

    “But this team has shown it can produce great results.”

    To be honest, that is nothing new for the AFC teams over the last 8 seasons, and on a big picture scale doesn’t really say much. They’ve notched several great results domestically and in Europe over that time. Consistency, depth in quality, tactics/preparation and other factors have (imo and that of many) been the difference between some great/famous wins and performances versus winning the prizes over the last 8 years.

    Arsenal has always proven during this time that they are capable of beating any of the big boys on their day.

  • A. Stewart

    “From what I have heard on talkshite so far today praise for the result last night has been fairly lukewarm.”

    Why wouldn’t they treat it as lukewarm?
    It was a great individual result away against top opposition but the reality is that we lost the tie. Therefore they great result is balanced by the sobering coutcome of the tie thus the pretty applicable lukewarm treatment. Despite the win we’re out of the tournament, and officially now 8 seasons without a trophy.

    Moroever, it’s not like the actual performance was that swashbucklingly adventurous and eye catching, it was largely a disjointed scrappy performance (which by the way I don’t mind one bit! especially because of the defensive solidity) where at times we could hardly string some passes together and had a low total of shots.

    Not sure you can fault the media for being lukewarm with their reaction. Regardless, why do so many care about what the media thinks anyway?

  • A. Stewart

    Regarding going unbeaten in the league versus a CL win.

    I’ll go for a CL win, because while being unbeaten deservedly puts an extra shine on the league win, being unbeaten is not actually necessary to win the league, and it’s possible to not win the league even if unbeaten.

    Moreover, I’ll just take a league win regardless of how it comes, unbeaten or not.

  • Ong Bing

    Thanks Arsene and Arsenal, for last night won.
    I won my bets too, 8x for Arsenal won, and 32x combine with Malaga won.

  • Rufusstan

    On the media. The truly sad thing for me is remembering when our media was the best one out there (rose coloured spectacles maybe). In its current state, where even the BBC has fallen, and amateur (no stigma intended) blogs are a better source of information, it just makes me want to cry.

    I’ve even got to the point where is don’t think there is malice a lot of the time; it is just easier to make shit up, and Arsenal are an easy target because of the was we do things.

    I apologise, because I know I harp on about this, but I cannot resist. The Mail online yesterday highlights the strategy.

    First is the Arsene gives up article where they basically make shit up.

    They then get a follow up article where they milk the reaction their first article caused (think yesterday it was 2 articles but they combined them) — they got a bonus as they got a celeb (lineker).

    They then twist a third article on a fan canceling his flight ostensibly because of the above to get a few more click-throughs. Of course the story is largely about a guy not bothering to go because he couldn’t get a ticket.

    From there they have a no lose endgame. Arsenal actually play a weakened side, they get the ‘I told you so’ article, then get plenty of fan outrage stuff, articles pressuring Wenger and so on.

    As it turned out, they get to do the positive report, while still getting a few digs in. Instead of pressurizing Arsene they get to do the ‘sympathetic’ view of Arsene, and of course follow up stuff on how they can improve.

    The only trick they missed (that I was waiting for) was something about Arsene bowing to pressure and playing a stronger side than he planned — They missed a trick there.

    TL:DR. Media are still shit, will do anything for money.

  • Kamiel


    I think people it’s important to watch what the media are saying because it clearly affects what readers think of the club. The thing about dropping Cazorla and Walcott for the tie was completely made up yet people took it as gospel and plenty of outrage duely followed.
    And this isn’t even all that bad. The media link us with 40 million pound players so that when we don’t sign them, Gooners think Wenger cocked it up. They link us with bad players so that fans become even more disgruntled. The recent story about the Arab takeover is still being talked about today despite the original article being taken down and the owners distancing themselves.
    With a carefully laid out plan, the media can play out any agenda they desire to. You don’t hear stories about Liverpool’s crisis or Chelsea’s.

  • FunGunner

    @ Richard M
    The line on the pitch tells you that Theo was not close to being offside. Even if the linesman saw him as level, he was onside.

    @ Rupert Cook
    If changing your manager frequently is the key to success, how would you explain the fact that the most successful club in England has had the same manager for over 20 years? We have not been stuck with AW for seven years without success – we have been lucky enough to have him for nearly 17 years, of which the last eight have been without trophies. Chelsea had the same manager – Mourinho during their most consistently successful spell.

    City’s and Chelsea’s success is due to their ability to go out and buy pretty much whichever player they want, whenever they need him, most of the time, year after year.

    @ A Stewart
    The once-in-100 years feat that was(is) celebrated is winning-the-league-while-being-unbeaten, *not* being unbeaten in a season. I imagine it’s possible to be relegated despite being unbeaten if you draw every match 0-0.

  • Finsbury

    Brian Clough. He rated an unbeaten season by Arsenal as having more value then a CL trophy.
    (In the same interview he also said he was brought up to hate Arsenal!)

    What did Cloughie know about such things. I was always a fan of Don Revie myself. Revie was a tactical mastermind. Er….

  • Rufusstan

    Can people please stop posting interesting stuff so I can get back to what I’m meant to be doing 🙂

    @ Fungooner, couldn’t resist having a look. In the last 20 years, a season of 38 0-0 draws would have sent you down 5 times, almost all of them back in the early 90’s. You’d have just scraped by om goal difference a couple of times, but it’d do.

    Really sad news on Kenny Sansom. Cannot see any details, but have to wonder if its a new problem or a consequence of his old troubles.

  • FunGunner

    @ Rufusstan
    ha ha – thanks for looking it up

    Very sad news about Sansom – get better soon.

  • Steve

    If he’s so good at tactics,why does he usually wait to deploy them in the second leg when all the odds are stacked against us after a thrashing in the first leg? Yesterday was all steve bould,looks like le prof has decided to get off his high horse and admit he needs the help! Make all the excuses you want,arsene wenger is finished!!

  • Wisy

    Good write-up. Well done lads. Good tactics from Professor Arsene Wenger

  • weedonald

    Assistants can get things wrong on occasion and unfortunately this was such an occasion. The real issue was that we let ourselves get into such a situation needing to beat the best team in Germany, at their home ground by 3 goals, which we almost did. I had a very positive feeling about the game and it has restored my confidence in the Arsenal, despite the mad media’s best efforts to destry our reputation.

  • A. Stewart

    At Kamiel..:

    re: “I think people it’s important to watch what the media are saying because it clearly affects what readers think of the club. The thing about dropping Cazorla and Walcott for the tie was completely made up yet people took it as gospel and plenty of outrage duely followed.”

    I hear you but, I think it’s vastly overstating the effect the media has on the opinion of fans (and thus our actual situation on the field), frankly I think most fans are moderate and more than capable of forming their own opinions and more than capable of sifting through the media shit, as it’s nothing new. The easily malleable ones who react specifically with outrage to specific stories are just loud and live for things like that and responding in comment sections of papers/websites etc, and thus get notice, they don’t represent the majority of fanbase nor their abilities. Moderate/rational voices be it in politics, sport, whatever just dont get a lot of attention, that doesn’t mean however that they aren’t the majority. Not to mention its far easier to caricature those fans with whom you (figuratively speaking) have a difference of opinion as being perfectly and completely represented by the loud boisterous ones who live for outrage, when nothing could be further from reality.

    Lastly this is nothing unique to AFC, all clubs have a segment of its followers who thinks the media picks on them unfairly, and all clubs actually do with varying degrees of merit have legitimate complaints of negative media attention. Really don’t get why people get so worked up about this stuff.

  • A. Stewart

    “@ A Stewart
    The once-in-100 years feat that was(is) celebrated is winning-the-league-while-being-unbeaten, *not* being unbeaten in a season. I imagine it’s possible to be relegated despite being unbeaten if you draw every match 0-0.

    @ FunGunner, yeah I got that…anyway I’ll rather win the CL than win the league unbeaten at this point. And further, while it’s a great historical feat (of which all gooners should be proud) I’ll rather win the league regardless of how it comes, unbeaten or several/losses draws along the way.

  • A. Stewart

    “Brian Clough. He rated an unbeaten season by Arsenal as having more value then a CL trophy.
    (In the same interview he also said he was brought up to hate Arsenal!)

    What did Cloughie know about such things. I was always a fan of Don Revie myself. Revie was a tactical mastermind. Er….

    @ Fisbury, that’s the beauty of opinions, everyone can have one.

  • A. Stewart

    @ Kamiel…

    re: “You don’t hear stories about Liverpool’s crisis or Chelsea’s.

    This is an example of why I think some fans should come out of this “bubble of the world is only against us victimaization complex”. Of course you hear stories about Liverpool’s and Chelsea’s respective crises in the last couple seasons, if you haven’t noticed Dalglish isn’t there anymore such was the level of their problems last year, and it was covered and covered and covered and ridiculued and ridiculed and on and on and on, same for Chelsea.

    When big clubs have REAL problems (relative to big club ambitions of course) such as Livepool, Chelsea and Arsenal these things get covered a lot (and yes Arsenal [ like Chelsea/Pool) have real problems that deserve attention, the media didn’t invent these problems). Heck a few years ago when Ferguson went just 3 years without winning a trophy and Mancs here loudly questioning whether he should remain this “crisis” was also covered and covered and covered by the media.

    Guess that, there are fans of these clubs who always thinks the media is picking on them more than the other clubs.. It’s truly NOT unique to Arsenal.

  • Adam

    @Fungunner, welcome over from PA, see what we put up with over here. Stick around we need more positive minds here.

  • Super Singh

    It is in the heat of the battle that you find out who are your strongest soldiers! Shame on all the supporters who believe the media clap-trap. P.S Arsenal will be signing Messi in the summer. Doh!

  • Steve

    I see or should that hear Wenger is getting slatted by a certain radio station over his comments about no PL teams in the last 8 of the CL. Apparently he is disrespecting all the other PL clubs with his comments. It’s getting boring now reading the newspapers & listening to the radio with their negative views and twisted view on Arsenal and Wenger.

    Radio 5 and the rather spiteful Alan Green were at their venomous best last night especially when Wenger made his subs. The taking off of Theo was wrong, wrong, wrong and Arsenal will not score now they have taken Theo off. His almost joy at telling us the problems with Arsenal was unmissable, then again flipping between talksport and radio 5 was like listening to 2 different Munich v Arsenal games. Andy Grey was being supportive with his comments about Arsenal just a shame he had Sam Whatshisface next to him rambling on about nothing.

    The Theo offside was reported as “oh he looked off to me” on radio 5 to “that was a badly timed run by Theo he should do better” on talksport (Sam Whatshisface). Not once did I hear that he was onside (might of missed it inbetween the changing of channels).

    The media are a joke

  • Gaurav

    My question to you Walter is why Arsenal can not defend like that all the time? Why can’t we go into every game like that? I know every team is not Bayern, but where was this tactical awareness in BPL? against MU, Chelsea, Tottenham?
    I am not being critical, i am just dissappointed that we could have won those games, more confidence for our players…
    I think a part of me says we have not recovered after the battering we got from MU. hopefully this does better 🙂

  • americangooner

    John cross-supposed arsenal fan- writes that its Arsenal in crisis and not the whole league. His logic is that -chelsea won the CL. Nevermind the fact that MANUre & $ hitty were demoted to playing UEFA cup the same year. Nevermind the fact that chelsea couldn’t progress to knockout stage and $hity again going out of European competetions this year. It seemed to me English writers have a deep-rooted belief that english clubs are perennially ccompetitive. Hence, the idiotic piece refuting arsene’s assertion that english teams have fallen in quality, without giving any logical explanation as to the rebuttal. For me it seems unless Arsenal win something, this trumpeteering of ARSENAL IN CRISIS will continue from the media.

  • gouresh

    Exactly what I have been saying Gautam.i hope this is not a one off. This weekend I hope that we are solid at the back like the BM game. Also all the players who played yesterday should be in the team. They deserve the start, unless injured. It would be a real travesty if they didn’t.

  • nihirealist


    I’m not sure Arsenal winning something will stop these stories. Don’t you just know that if we’d won the League Cup, the story would be Arsenal haven’t won a trophy apart from the league cup. If we won the FA Cup, they’d say Arsenal haven’t won the league for 10 years. If we won the CL, but finished 6th, they’ll say we got lucky and that the league is the real test. If we win the league… well.. That’s why they have the referees to do their bidding.

    Although, when we did win the league the narrative was the number of red cards, implying how dirty a team we are.. Or the number of foreigners in the team. They’ll always try and create a crisis, or negativity, where Arsenal are concerned. the facts don’t matter.

  • I was extremely proud of this result, but my questions is why can’t be be like this all the time? Why are we so reactive these days, instead of being proactive?

  • Damien Luu

    Real Arsenal fans know that the media is totally, utterly BS. Whoever believe in the media is a moron or one of their puppets. As simple as that.

  • Damien Luu

    And I am so proud about Arsenal after this game. Even more than if we had won the first leg and went through.

  • ARSENAL 13

    I think ARSENE WENGER should use this shithead media as a weapon to motivate his players even more. “US vs THE WORLD, Make sure we emerge victorious “. Or is he doing it already.

  • AL

    Good irrefutable evidence on the Walcott offside call. Funny how a detail like that gets blown out of proportion when its utd, but hardly gets any mention if its Arsenal. If its mentioned at all you get people trying to be sympathetic to the ‘unfortunate’ official for making the wrong call. Also the other thing you mention, Walter, about the supposed resting of players that never happened demonstrates what we have always been saying; the media makes up stories to rile Arsenal fans, be it about potential signings, money available for transfers, starting line ups, etc.

    There’s a deep rooted problem with our media, and that this has been a heated subject of discussion in the commons or the subject of an inquiry shows that. The stings, phone hackings, paying the police for stories, etc, bottom line is can people doing their job in such an unprofessional way be trusted? Obviously not. If I did any one of the above in my job I’d be sacked on the spot. I don’t know the answer to this but seems collectively the people we have as journos in England are rubbish. Starting with the so-called pundits who don’t have a clue what the job entails.

    Pundits are meant to provide an in-depth analysis of the game, explain flash/talking points in the game & tactics. Do we ever get that? Hardly. You don’t have to go further than this game v Bayern, the pundits should’ve focussed on that wrong offside call, and replay it from different angles to erase any doubts in anyone’s mind that it was close. Walter did just that with one still picture here, its not that difficult. But what do our pundits do instead? Just replay the goals, goals that noone is in any doubt about. How stupid is that? The other day Abate, the AC Milan defender bundled Pedro in the box soon after Messi’s goal, and the commentators shouted ‘penalty’. I thought I will see if it was during the halftime analysis. You guessed it, no mention of that at all. The second goal was also offside, and yet again, no mention of that. Only the commentators said so after the restart.

    So there the theme is set, right after the match; pundits ignore a talking point, and the mainstream media continue the story, or ‘non-story’. Of course the mainstream media go on to other stuff unrelated to the match, like how many years a certain club hasn’t won a trophy. Or what a whinger a certain manager is if he, in a very civil way, raised a valid point about wrong calls during the game, but another manager is said to be dishing the hair dryer treatment stuff if he says the same things. Hypocrites.

    As Stuart pointed out, the media will always have a negative story about Arsenal. Starting with the number of red cards, to the lack of English players in the squad, now the number of years bla bla bla. Even if we start sweeping all before us it’ll be something else. Anyone who can’t see this obvious partiality on the media’s part isn’t really worth wasting time on in engaging them.

  • Rupert Cook

    @FunGunner, how would I explain Fergie being in charge for so long. Because he has constantly won things. Laudrup, I think it was, was utterly amazed that Fergie had been in charge for so many years because there is no parallel anywhere in the world, at least not with a big club, of such a feat. It’s an anomaly in modern football. It irks me to say it but Fergie is the greatest manager in my life time. I only wish he’d joined us all those years ago but we passed on his services.

    @Finsbury, as A Stewart said, it’s an opinion. But let me ask you this, do you think Clough would have sacrificed his European Cup trophy for an unbeaten season? Unfortunately we can’t ask him.

    @ A.Stewart, commendable posts, as ever. Objective and impartial, quite rare among Arsenal fans these days (including myself, quite often).

    All the best to Kenny Sansom.

  • Rufusstan

    A Stewart, Rupert.– The stuff about Clough will be context based as much as our opinions. As I said earlier, I see the CL as the big target now, but we have already won the league unbeaten.

    Clough would see it the same way, he won the league, but never managed to win it unbeaten, so both knows how hard it would be and would see it as huge because it was one of the few things he never managed to do.

    Considering Clough’s ego, you also have factor in the ‘if I cannot do it…’

    You cannot say who is right; its all down to your perspective.

    By the way (speaking a little Facetiously), I’d bet money Cloughie would give up a CL win for an unbeaten season; after all the guy did have 2 🙂

  • Rupert Cook

    @Rufusstan, Clough might have sacrificed one European Cup as he had two for an unbeaten season, good point. Course it’s all speculation.

    Right now I’d rather win the CL than the League because then we can say we’ve won every tournament. Ok I know we haven’t won the Europa League, though we’ll have a chance next year I expect, but we have won it in it’s old incarnation.

    Having seen the teams left in the CL several of them are far better than us. But next season who knows? If we just go out and buy two or three world class players we could be real contenders again. I think the club has to make a decision this summer to actually step up a level or just be happy idling along as also rans.

  • Segun

    so Wenger was not the coach in the first leg? or did he forget his tactics book? for your info, Arsenal won cos there were no PRESSURE, as they knew they were out already! fluke third goal??? has to be joke!

  • WalterBroeckx

    name me 1 coach who’s tactics ALWAYS work.
    then come back.

    yes third Bayern goal was a fluke. that is when a defender tries to clear a ball, hits the striker and then goes in. That is a fluke goal. Look at replays to see how it happened. Gomez (I think) was already in front of the ball

  • Stuart

    I bet Seguns tactics always work with hindsight.

  • WalterBroeckx

    It is people like him always saying Wenger does no tactics, blah blah blah. But only a blind man didn’t see that we played different against Bayern. So the myth of Wenger doing no tactics is another myth not based.
    I could remind them of Barcelona when we got robbed by bussacca a few years ago. We played in a completely different and other way. It came close to the bus in fact.

    But I do agree that most of the time we try to play our own game. And to be honest I don’t see not much wrong with that tactic. 😉

  • Gunz

    @ Steve
    Great link!