Arsenal 1 – 3 Bayern Munich: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

The single big question was – Can Arsenal cover their structural weaknesses and avoid unforced individual mistakes over 180 minutes of football? By the seventh minute a resounding ‘No’ was ringing around the Emirates, audible to those who were listening for it. In the 21st minute the tie was over as a contest.

Wenger went with Walcott up front and Podolski on the left. Cazorla was shunted to the right and Ramsey retained his spot in the centre of the pitch. The Frenchman probably thought Theo will have a chance of getting in-behind the Bayern defence if they press high up the pitch. Maybe he had other reasons to believe this could work. I don’t know those reasons because I can’t see Walcott being effective through the middle unless Arsenal plan on sitting really deep and playing purely on the counter.

Wrote this just before the game -

As things turned out the Gunners tried building from the back and the game became a battle in midfield. They were never going to win it with Walcott as the striker. There was just no avenue to build attacks. Theo couldn’t show for the ball or hold off Dante who never let him receive and control the ball. There just wasn’t any sort of a link between him and the rest of the team. With Walcott in the centre, long-balls or crosses couldn’t work well either.

Of course, that wasn’t the only or even the main problem, but Arsenal really had no offensive threat in the first half apart from a couple of quick breaks that excited the fans but ended with tame crosses. This gave Bayern greater confidence and made the game relatively easy for them.

The main issue in this game was the difference in the tactical qualities of the two teams. For Bayern, every player knew his role really well and they changed between one approach and another seamlessly. They pressed high up when they wanted to, dropped back when there was a threat of Walcott or someone else getting behind, remained compact in midfield and closed space down consistently, and broke at pace and with purpose when they got a chance to counter.

The Bavarians always seemed to have extra bodies in defence in just the right places to cover for their teammates. In attack, they instinctively found a man in space.

There were times when the Gunners tried pressing them up the pitch but they were almost always able to calmly play the ball out of trouble, often finding ways to build attacks in the process. When the reverse happened, Wenger’s team were usually forced to hoof the ball clear, and at times looked vulnerable and erratic.

When Bayern had possession in the attacking areas they were often able to get meaningful balls into dangerous areas. If it didn’t lead to shots or near misses it usually led to a corner from a desperate clearance. In contrast, Arsenal’s possession was again illusionary. There was a spell in the second half when it looked threatening but the number of chances was still limited.

Bayern’s attacking quartet were able to pop up between the lines and link with each other and the full-backs almost at will. Arsenal’s defenders retreated deep and narrow far too often and early, conceding spaces in front and wider areas. This crowding-the-centre approach to defence cannot work against a team of this calibre.

In the preview, I’d talked about the timing of Bayern’s full-backs’ runs. They do it all the time and it was not a surprise but the Gunners were just not prepared for it. Lahm picked up an assist, and it was his cross that was desperately cleared by Vermalen leading to the corner which resulted in the second goal.

Arsenal had enough bodies in the defensive areas but their awareness and structure were just not good enough. Lahm and Muller had all the time in the world to pick their crosses, Kroos was completely free in such a dangerous spot, and Van Buyten’s run wasn’t picked up by anyone.

Indeed, one got a feeling the Germans had an extra gear that they just didn’t need as they sat on their lead in the second half.

The visiting defenders, on the other hand, paid very close attention to the Arsenal attackers. They rarely had a moment to breath when they received the ball. Minor technical errors were thus enough to break down attacks. Arsenal just couldn’t manufacture any space as the Germans worked really hard and intelligently to close it down.

Their midfielders, wide players, and even Mandzukic did his bit in keeping the goal safe. When nothing worked they threw their bodies at the shot in an intelligent manner making themselves as big as possible. Mertesacker’s attempts to block the first shot seemed more like an effort to avoid getting hit. Sadly, it’s been a problem for Arsenal over a long period and is not limited to the German.

Arsenal’s goal was a lucky break. The corner should never have been given but it was. Delivery was good. It pulled Neuer off his line and the Keeper, as was mentioned in the preview, does have a tendency to make such mistakes. He got nowhere near the ball and Podolski was able to hold off Lahm’s attentions to nod home.

Wenger’s side had a couple of other chances, most notably Giroud hitting it straight at Neuer after a good move involving Rosicky and Walcott, but they were never going to be enough.

Bayern could have had more than one on the counter but they seemed satisfied with what they had.

In fairness, it wasn’t a terrible effort from the Gunners in every sense, but their defensive issues were always going to make it a massive challenge against such a quality opponent. Playing Walcott through the middle probably made it worse.

Individual Performances:

Szczesny: Another poor game. Should have done better for the second goal. Didn’t really inspire confidence. Again, can someone remind me what all the organizes the defence, communicates well, and such other arguments were about?

Sagna: The way Bayern used Lahm in attack is worth contrasting with Arsenal’s use of Sagna. Wenger’s system puts a great burden on the full-backs as they have to constantly shuttle up and down the flank. Lahm was more selective and received the ball in space. Sagna was almost always crowded out and tightly marked in the attacking areas. Decent defensive shift, can’t fault him for any of the goals. Bit unfortunate for the third.

Mertesacker: Was more nervous and erratic on the ball than he should be. Needs to do more to block such shots. Did win a number of headers that limited the chances Bayern could create.

Koscielny: Made a number of vital interventions in the penalty box. Passing was average. Can’t blame him directly for any of the goals.

Vermaelen: Wasn’t able to offer much in the attacking areas. Really struggled when his side was overloaded as he lacked sufficient cover. Went to ground far too easily (eg: build up to the first goal) and unnecessarily. Numerous poor tactical choices on and off the ball. To be fair he did work very hard and did his best to prevent certain situations from getting worse.

The central defenders weren’t able to drive play forward when Bayern sat back and marked the midfield. Full-backs didn’t offer an offensive threat, although that is more a tactical issue than an individual one.

Arteta: Was reliable on the ball but was often forced to look back to his own goal and couldn’t really drive the game forward. Should have been tighter on Muller for the first goal.

Wilshere: Looked great when he got the ball and went past players but there was very little end product after that as he kept running into crowds. Amidst the hype it’s easy to forget how young and inexperienced he is. But it shows in his performances. Enjoyable and inspires hope for the future but currently ineffective.

Ramsey: Extraordinary work rate, poor tactical awareness. Should have been aware of Kroos’ position after Arteta was pulled out to the left. Should have attacked the ball at the near post before Van Buyten instead of waiting for it to arrive. Another one who wasn’t able to break past the Bayern shackles in Arsenal’s build-up play. Ran into cul-de-sacs when he ventured forward or wide.

Cazorla: Had a few promising moments in the attacking areas but his tendency to be individualistic does affect the quality of the team’s play. Often there was one dribble attempt too many, or a second too long before the pass was played.

Arsenal’s midfield saw more of the ball but made less use of it. They also didn’t know how to support the defence on a consistent basis. It’s related to that old problem of balance. Wenger’s system demands greater individual initiative and doesn’t provide a strong enough framework for the players to work with. Can be great when it works but it hasn’t worked in the big games for a long time.

Podolski: Took his goal well but had a disappointing night defensively. Should have paid close attention to Lahm’s movement and helped Vermaelen consistently. Wasn’t able to link with others in an effective manner in the attack.

Walcott: The tempo was fast and marking very tight for him to have an impact on the game. Bayern never let him run at a single defender or get in-behind. They controlled his main strength with clever positioning and by reading the passes played towards him. Because of that it was a forgettable night for Theo even though he visibly tried hard.

The attackers were isolated and tightly marked. Podolski on the left and Theo central is a system that does not convince me. It might work a year or so down the line if they’re given time together but do Arsenal have that time?

Subs: Giroud should have done better with his chance but it’s tough to blame a guy coming off the bench in such a game. Rosicky brought greater drive to the midfield and played some delightful passes.

Wenger: Can’t say I’m surprised by the performance or the result. Most of the issues are long-standing. He needs a good No. 2 to help with balance and structure, possibly someone from Germany or Spain where they’ve been evolving the tactical aspects of the technical attack-oriented game.

46 Responses to Arsenal 1 – 3 Bayern Munich: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

  1. vickie says:

    So our season is again over before march, and for how long would this continue? We just didn’t play with purpose and players to look up to in big matches showed they ain’t reliable. Did you see vermalen being always thrashed OUT, and for wenger to have played walcott against thw xperienced bayern defence shows wenger is a retarded fool.

    • Gerry Lennon says:

      You can hardly say our season is over – that is when a team has nothing to play for. We sit 10 points off second place, if you haven’t noticed?
      Players that we would have liked weren’t available in the last window so the rebuilding will have to wait until summer. Given that Bayern would very likely beat every team in the EPL on that display, I’d say we have a lot to play for. Not least pride!
      Throwing insults around helps no one.

      • Winner says:

        Unfortunately it is not true that there were no players available to improve the team. Let’s be honest. When the draw was made we knew right away that to stand any chance we would need to strengthen the team especially,in my view, the defensive mid field. There were players available in this position. Yanga Mbiwa has excelled there previously, and yes Mvilla and even Diame. What about Capoue? The problem is that we made very late bids, if at all, in the hope of knocking down the selling clubs’s prices. We put the financial side of the team ahead of the footballing side. Which big games have we played this season? I would say Man U, Chelsea x 2, Schalke, Man City x2, and Bayern. We only turned up and competed in one of those, i.e City away. We may have many excuses,rationalizations and justifications but the bottom line is that the buck stops with the team management. These are my reasons.
        1) Arsenal has no new problems. The issue was balance was noted very early into the season as soon as Diaby got injured.
        2) There are too many creative minded players for just too few positions-Wilshere, Rosicky, Carzola, Ramsey, even Diaby and AOC and Arshavin. nONE OF THESE PLAYERS ENDED UP AT ARSENAL by accident. A decision was made to recruit each one of them.
        4. Arteta is not a defensive mid fielder. He is being played out of position because of a reluctance to spend money to replace Alex Song, who we decided to sell when we did not have to.
        5. Podlski is not a bad signing and neither is Giroud. Have they ever been 20-25 goals a season strikers? There is no evidence to suggest that.Walcot will one day be a prolific striker through the middle but who honestly believed that he was ready this season to carry the mantle?
        6.Who has not heard of Arsenal’s defensive frailties? Who among us Arsenal supporters is comfortable when we concede a corner kick or free kicks in our half? Lets be serious. The problem is that the team’s problems have gone on for far too long without being addressed.

      • Gerry Lennon says:

        Winner – I agree with your choice of player we needed, but I suspect you’re no more ‘privvy’ to transfer negotiations than I am? I would have gone for M’vila, but AW was in a better position to judge his ‘character’. Capoue wasn’t about knocking his price down, more that Toulouse weren’t going to sell both their DM’s in January. It is also false to lump all the defensive in one block, as they were bought in to strengthen the side at different times. Cazorla was the only CAM player given the injuries to Jack and Rosicky, and the out of form Arshavin(although wether we could have played him better is another argument). Diaby more defensive, and fragile perhaps, and the Ox is still gaining experience, but can play out wide. It is about having a squad of these types of players, only an ‘over-load’ as you call it when they are all fit, but that is better than not having them?
        Defensive frailties, you have a strong case, but it is not helped by injuries constantly forcing changes in the back line. Nor by the lack of a proper DM ha ha

      • Gerry Lennon says:

        should be ‘midfielers’ inone block.

      • tuneric says:

        should be ‘midfielers’ inone block. lol. anyways,let’s face the fact Arsene is the main problem with our dear AFC. He hasn’t balance the squad off the field,why would he do it on pitch.
        i read Arsene say we are below bayern’s standard and i felt really bad,this man complains about everything he can pin out without including himself. i stronglly believe if we swap coaches and play same set of players, ARSENE would be beaten over again.

  2. mansor says:

    good post desi as usual…
    rosicky should play at left wing, giroud as striker and walcott at right wing.. imo

    • santori says:

      Podolski.

      Midfield cover was poor.

      You cannot leave Podolski out. He has had the highest assist and weighed in with a (albeit lucky) goal.

      Ramsey is the spare tire here. Jack next to Arteta would have shielded the back 4 better and allowed us to push forward.

      Wenger ‘s mistake was that he tried to be smart and spring a surprise on Bayern with Walcott centre. All it did was surprise himself and the worse thing was the team had to juggle around that selection to our detriment.

      The other thing is that Wenger wanted to play on the counter ceding ground to Bayern which was foolish. We should have pressed them high with the option to cover deep in Jack and Arteta if need be.

      • Breezy says:

        Don’t agree with the Ramsy bit, other then the first goal, I though he shielded the back quite well and constantly helped out the fullbacks , in fact the stats show that he had most number of interception during the game,

  3. mansor says:

    make me sick at 1st half we didnt manage a single shot… 4th is our only trophy. sad

  4. santori says:

    Which is why you stick to players in their most familiar positions for games like this one.

    Wenger (yet again) has shot himsef in the foot with baffling team selections.

    1) Walcott. Always more effective at RW. against the pace of Riberry and Alaba, Sagna had his hands full with Santi for cover. As mentioned by Desi, Walcott is effectively useless in any hold up play and merely emphasizes out continued need for another option to Giroud (with paace). Even if we wanted to play Walcott upt op, it should have been in the final 15 minutes if provided Bayern legs were stretched a little (which they were not). Otherwsie the distribution of Giroud to on coming runners was always the better option.

    2) Santi wide. I mentioned before the game that Santi has been most effective in the middle. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. With two feet to play on, he would have been better served through the centre able to switch with Walcott or Podolski. PLaying him at RW was a waste. As a viable option, he could have swapped wide later in the game for Rosicky to add further creativity but late in the game (say final 15)

    3) Ramsey. Much as he wasn’t at fault for anything, he was largely a waste of space. not that he’s rubbish but that tactically, as mentioned, he is not as adept and we would have been better served with the awareness and combative edge of Jack closer at hand to Arteta and the Cbacks, It is on little things like this that games can hinge on and I felt our balance wrong from the moment they announced the team sheet.

    I thought one away goal would have been difficult for us to over turn as is. This is really nigh impossible in Munich given Bayern’s strength a plenty.

    So we are back to the familiar again.

    I don’t think we are necessarily poor in terms of players rather yet again, assets are poorly deployed.

    Amplifying this oft reoccurring theme is the fact that given our struggle from the get go, Wenger is also (as always) ponderous to make incisive change. His ludicrous experiment sinking quick, neither he nor Bould made any effort to switch things around quickly.

    I don’t see us improving even with a player of two extra unless they are truly players of exceptional quality like say a Higuain class striker. Otherwise, we are back to scrapping for fourth…which is what we are.

  5. Sameep says:

    Sorry to divert the issue from the game to our situation as a whole for last 10 years or so, but I couldn’t resist.

    I don’t buy these ‘Arsene has lost it’ arguments people make, I think he was and has been too loyal to the cause and too committed to the false concept of ‘the club’. He is a man of principles and when he made a commitment to the cause of Arsenal moving to the new stadium, handling the debt and basically everything, he did not shy away from it even when more core gunners like David Dein did.

    I think somewhere deep in his mind he knew that this was not going to work in terms of success and deep down he felt that this would happen (the trophyless spell). But maybe he was so committed to the cause, he had a false hope that they can still manage it. Did that lower the expectations in his own mind about the success, the players? Surely he is not the same man who denied giving in when we were 12 points behind Man United and came back to win the title. Surely he can see what most managers around the world can see that Arsenal cannot keep winning by selling their best player every year.

    There is the feeling about him which says to me he is feeling beaten in his own mind, a kind of feeling of inevitability he always had since the move to the Emirates. Maybe he thought he could beat it but now he feels beaten by it.

    I still feel the Arsene we knew is still there but is bound by something we don’t know, maybe he knows but is helpless or the board is more responsible.

    • santori says:

      Several factors which have eroded Wenger’s edge over the years:

      1) he had near free reign of the market in France when it was going through a golden age in the early half of his reign where that market is now common knowledge to even teams like Newcastle and plundered to death.

      2) the PL as a whole has become more competitive. with the more equitable distb of TV money, you only have to look at even the bottom clubs to realise the composition as a whole of teams has altered significantly where previous regimes would have played local players with largely hoof and punt tactics, teams are more cosmopolitan with significant increase in technical ability

      3) The above also goes for the number of foreign coaches in the PL.

      4) The increase presence of clubs with deeper resources as meant that where certain segments of players were once available to us, they are now largely off limits. Also with the increase in awareness of player knowledge globally (coupled with Dean’s departure), Wenger has been forced in more recent times to take calculated gambles on players with significantly more risk attached to them (Think Gervinho, Chamakh, Park, Santos,). Can’t say I’ll put Squillaci or Silvestre in the same ball park as those were (and should have been) largely avoidable.

      5) Our dealings in the transfer market have also been made significantly more complicated by some poor purchases during the time we were practising a bit more frugality with the stadium move. Much of those poor purchases still sit on the book which I believe has an impact (rightly or wrongly) on Wenger moving in the market. If we consider Bendtner, Park, Chamakh, Arsharvin, Squillaci, Denilson are still on the books, we can understand his concern with our wage structure issue and much as he has changed tack to change it, we have also found ourselves in a difficult position to rid these access squad members largely BC of the discrepancy inflicted by trying to keep pace with the more wealthy clubs. In essence the Chelsea and Cities have forced wages upward creating a widening gap and as we have tried to follow their coattails, the price for some of our lesser players have followed suit. Where once teams would have purchased our unwanted pplayers, they are less likely to affod them (Particularly with the current economic climate in France, but mainly Italy and Spain)

      6) Finally, I think wenger has also been slow to recognise market reality, that whilst we will not be in the game to compete with the like of Chelsea for say Mata or for that matter even Ba BC they can push the price way up and tolerate it where we can’t, we might however have to up our maximum spend on player slightly form 15m to say low 20m ball park to attract real top quality players (Say Jovetic or Leandro) rather than penny pinching on depreciating assets like Villa.

      This particularly as teams like Spurs who are less resourced than us are already pushing into this ball park where we have enjoyed good windfall in recent years which may now be in danger of being eclipsed by a fall in ticket sales if current poor form continue. It would be myopic to say the least.

      Just from a non tactical point of view. I think of course our issues significantly more deep rooted beyond mere player purchasing issues.

  6. [...] who were listening for it. In the 21st minute the tie was over as a contest. Wenger went [...] …read more Read more here: [...]

  7. santori says:

    Like to add that the keeper SZSC is not at fault for trying to organize.

    Where he is at fault is that he is good but simply not good enough.

    He was largely at fault for the second goal and could have done much better for the third. Also almost gave away another.

    Nor is he convincing with command of his area when crosses come in.

    Simply put, as potentially good as he is, we need a better keeper if our aspirations are to be higher than fourth.

    • Winner says:

      Was the keeper at fault for the second goal? I disagree. He made a good save actually but the defenders were too slow to respond. That was the case against Norwich,Blackburn, Spurs and even Man City last season.
      Why was Van Buyten allowed a free header in the first place? Have we not seen this many times before?
      And as for the first goal where was the defense. Did you see how Man U defended against Real Madrid. Player for player do you really think Man U has a better defense than us?Lets wake up and smell the coffee. The pointers seem to lead to the coaches and the tactics.

  8. ozzie says:

    i really feel sorry for arsene wenger, truly i do, but i also feel that it has to be hpart his foultffor not standing up to the board!! none of the top coaches and or managers would stand for the board not giving them the funds to add reeal quality to their team, also i don’t know why wenger insists on playing ramsey, when he has rosicky! he rosicky has a lot getter skills and mentally he is much stronger!

    • santori says:

      Agree on Rosicky.

      Playing Ramsey was absolutely foolish. That said I would have had Arteta with Jack closer by and Santi ahead. Swap out Santi for Rosicky or have Rosicky come on and push Santi wide if need be late on. Podolski could have roled into Giroud’s spot.

      Wenger has not maximised his assets this season which is a significant factor to our struggles.

    • Ozzie Wenger needs no sympathy it beats simple logic to fail to fathom how an experienced coach like Arsene can go for eight years without a trophy, We are not trained coaches but fans can see that Wenger makes tactical blunders in crucial matches. This game it was disillusioned to think we could match Bayern quality. We would have gone for strength and aerial presence through dropping rasmey for diaby and carzola for Giroud this would have helped us soak the pressure of the Bavarian i would also have gone for Conquelin for arteta, Pure steel and we would have huffed long balls to Giroud. Second half would have seen introduction or Arteta Carzola and Rosicky, We would surely have gotten something out of this game. Either a win draw or a decent loss.
      Wenger would have looked at how Chelsea won or inter.

  9. Akintan Nelson says:

    Well i’m not suprise with the result as we can all see bayern only came to the game with a strong, solid and well organised defends (the likes of Dante) and this doesn’t disturb them from attacking arsenal defends as we can all see Lanm, he was so strong in defends and the same a forward threat. And for the second tie of the game at Alianz Arena, we should been expecting another side of bayern style of attacking.

  10. Charles says:

    For so long we have being pushing above our belt. This made wenger and the board believe the team is good but we were gradually watering it down, finally we have a team that is not a unit or quality that can win or turn matches around. To rebuild will cost us more than 70M, maintaining will have cheaper. We wait on FFP to help us get a level playing field with others but can they allow FFP affect those teams so much cause it can end premireship world domination.

    • santori says:

      I think we are already seeing a significant drop in the branding of the club thanks in part to a reluctance to spend slightly more on those 1 to 2 players we need to effectively compete across the spectrum of competitions.

      If Wenger really wanted to give the CL a push (and there is nothing wrong with setting our sights higher than the FA cup), then he should at very least had ensured that one to two significant additions were made in January.

      Instead, the way we have bowed out yet again in all too familiar circumstance will have an impact on ticket sales and foreign branding.

      This significantly amplified (for whatever reasons) by the fact we have been trashed out of two winnable competitions by minnows and today by a giant of German football that charges largely the same price we charge our fans per game for their entire season!

      Something is clearly wrong with our model.

  11. Bald Wyn says:

    Wenger has lost it…

  12. Dana F. says:

    Are we still using zonal marking on corners? If so it’s done so poorly I can’t even tell we’re trying to defend at all.

    Walcott is only good at RW, that’s it. It was almost laughable when long balls came his way and he’s being manhandled like a child. He also never seems to harass the defense/keeper when the ball is played back by the opposition. He just lazily jogs around waiting for a feed. Giroud constantly looks hungry in comparison.

    I swear Wenger goes out of his way to play most of the team out of position. It started with Arshavin, a wizard as CM or AM/SS. But nope, better play him on the wing. Cazorla, play him on the wing. He’s even played Bendtner on the wing!

    Is this the slowest Arsenal team yet? We can’t seem to fly down the field like we could 4 seasons ago. Sagna is looking much older than he did before his leg was broken. He is at least 30% slower than he used to be. We don’t have the overlap magic like we did with Clichy and (young) Sagna, and we no longer defend high to contain the possession. But we still set up in the opposing half like we’re a possession team. WTF?

    Finally, we can’t cross without Arshavin.

    • santori says:

      We have missed a fast predatory striker up front for the longest time. Walcott has been a band aid to an issue that hasn’t been fixed and has largely negated an edge we once enjoyed (amongst other issues)

      • Dana F. says:

        It’s true, I like Giroud’s work rate and what he offers – a much better version of Bendtner, but he’s a target man through and through. Villa or Torres in his prime would have been interesting additions to AFC, someone to run at defenders and scare the crap out of them.

    • I totally agree with you Sagna is so slow and adds nothing offensively he cant close, cross or beat one man, He was presented with an easy option of beating a man on the ground Alaba and he failed miserably this was the turning point of the game. Jecks have better attacking flair and crosses he have suffered as any player would because of lack of play time, but he is good.

  13. Gerry Lennon says:

    I slightly disagree with Santori on some points, but as Desi has already shown in another excellent blog, too much analysing individuals is academic, because we met a team that simply outplayed us. Both technically and tactically, they were better.

    I think the reason why Walcott played(and Giroud didn’t) was no ‘surprise’, He was rested on Saturday, Giroud was wasn’t. The signal was clear? I am guessing that the plan was to play the ball quickly to him on the ground, as high balls were always going to be a waste. For that to work they needed to have other midfielders, other than Jack, to carry the ball at speed. That is not Cazorla’s strength? Rosicky or AOC would have been a better choice?
    But surmounting that well drilled ‘team’, would have been difficult whoever played?

    Your(Santori) point on Wilshere and Arteta doing the defending against their counters is fine, except Jack is our most effective box to box player and it is when possession is lost, he is usually higher up the pitch. Ramsey should be the covering player, but still falls a little short with his positioning at this moment in time.
    What most people agree on is the fact that we needed a proper DM, and didn’t get him in January?
    Podolski and our left wing play in general was always going to suffer without Gibbs or Nacho. Both have more speed than out of position Vermaelin, but options were limited in a big game like this. Tough task to switch Jenkinson or Coquelin over, which left Miquel as the other alternative? It is too easy to blame Poldi for lack of cover, although it did make the case stronger for the Ox play instead of Santi. He is quick and can do a defensive shift when called upon?

    All in all, the game may not have been what we wanted, but the bald truth is, it is more about their superiority rather than our weaknesses. To win the CL we have to improve. I don’t think Bayern have to do much more to be at Wembley, do you?

  14. bantubiko says:

    please just buy a fucking keeper..saying this since Jens went!!!!!!!!

  15. John says:

    He needs a good No 2 why is it he hasnt got this being the man is a f**king control freak and you can get away with being one if you win. But Arsenal are going backwards cos the man wont admit he is in the wrong and chage his methods.

  16. Mic says:

    Wenger got his team selection wrong. Giroud should have started as the striker,with poldi and walcot playing on the flanks. Ramsey/arteta should be behind cazorla. For the second goal per was at fault,he lost his man which ramsey wasn’t aware of. Lastly,the holding midfield players should always make themselves available to retrieve the ball from defence and start the attack.

  17. jeff says:

    Rosicky has not been rewarded the place he deserved at the first team although he has done extremely well. i am eager to see rosicky and cazorla from the start,but it’s never happened till now.

    • Breezy says:

      What has Rosicky done to deserve a place in the starting line up? He’s hardly played and while he was ok against Blackburn, it was hardly a performance that suggested he should replace any of the first teamers.

  18. David Nyambok says:

    Arsenals problems have been long time in the making. In fact if you cast your mind back the problems had started to manifest themselves in the last days of greats like Thiery Henry. Wengers commitment to a certain style of football has become an obsession that is slowly like cancer chewing the club out of existence. The passing game may have been great during the era of the invincibles but this we can attribute more to the quality and character of those individuals. As they got phased out Wenger started bringing in technically good but physically smaller battalion of mid fielders in the mould of Corzola et al. Striking and defense departments have never terribly interested the manager. What he failed to do like a good manager should have done was to analyse and appreciate the physical nature of the English game and Adopt appropriately.
    The second problem is the so called playing philosophy that is the corner stone of Wengers team- the passing game or called tiki taka in Spain. This has become an end in itself. The the sideways ,back and triangular passes have made Arsenal the most predictable team in the league. The team lacks the pace , urgency and movement. The opponents are given all the time in the world to fall back and organize their defenses when Arsenal are busy toying with the ball in their own half . The team has by their style created the so called parking the bus phenomenon. Arsenal players fear to take responsibly of attacking the opponents defense . Look at Metersacker, Arteta, Sagna, Diaby and the rest of them. Soon as they are confronted by opponents they pass the ball either back or sideways thus slowing the teams attacking ability. Then the oldest problem -striking. It almost as if the players are warned of retribution if they shoot at the goal. This has been Arsenals biggest problem . Total lack of conviction to have a go at the goal. Last year almost all players would look for Van Persie even when staring at open goal.this is so bad that even known shooters like Arteta and Gervinho have stopped having ago at the goal. These players came from teams where they had excelled but after a period in Wengers hand they become toothless. Giroud who was the best in France is heading that direction. What of Chamakh, list of what is wrong with this so called philosophy is endless. Barcelona may be our inspiration but they co play in Spaniard league and most they have majority of players weaned from their youth system who have been together from early teens practicing together . Guys arsenal have a problem….trust me.

    • Added to this i find it utter folly the idea of zonal defending makes no sense at all you tell me spaces do not score goals but players movement, marking players would be more prudent. This method have cost us many goals as the players do not take enough responsibility. Wenger was a defender as a player how he has failed to make a solid defensive unit beats me. We started very well in the first games in the league but somewhere the tactics were thrown out of the window. If the team knows that they have a strong disciplined backline it gives the players freedom tio venture forward it also brings out the best out of a keeper.

  19. SB says:

    My main problem was in the 2nd half from about the 60th min, when Bayern shackled our midfield & we were just passing it around the back, AW still brought on his subs only at the 70 min mark as he usually does.

  20. shotta says:

    Excellent analysis Desi but we all need to to understand how easy it is to be armchair generals. If this had ended up at 2-2 as was on the cards, briefly, there would be no longer thesis by so many, not you. Man up and admit we were beaten by a superior team.

  21. tuneric says:

    dear desi and fellow gunners, i know we all have different opinions when it comes to pointing out the problem with our darling club.we have been with Arsene since 1996 and for many years now,we have memories in various ways.for me, i have fantastics memories. the glory years that is making many of us have soft spot for Mr wenger was played with a formation that i believed to be 4 4 2 with the likes of lehmann lauren campbell toure cole viera gilberto ljunberg pires bergkamp henry (these players were developed by the french master. DB10 included). with this set of players in a 4 4 2 system,the formation can easily change to 4 3 3, 4 5 1, 4 2 3 1 and even 4 3 1 2 or 4 1 3 2 or what have u.
    my question is: why has Arsene neglected all this by sticking to 4 3 3 with wrong set of players?
    the major difference i saw between us and FCB yesterday is the goalkeeping position besides that, we have players that can match them.moreover,they played lahm van buyten dante alaba javi martinez kroos bastian muller manduzik ribbery and we had sagna kos mert verm RAMSEY jack arteta carz theo poldi. with the players available, Arsene should have started with sczney sagna kos mert verm arteta jack rosicky/carz theo/carz OG poldi.
    I wish Wenger can rethink by going back to 4 4 2 ,starting our matches with best 11 available and balancing his on field tactics by adopting both attacking and defensive policies. i really need my ARSENAL back with wenger in charge …………will it take forever?

  22. Nepali Gunner says:

    As always, excellent post Desi.

    As for my comments, we all know that Arsenal currently are lacking defensively. I believe that is the root of all our problems. This team is unsure of it’s defensive responsibility, which in turn affects offense, movement, understanding and the general confidence level of the team. Such issues take time to be sorted out, and the problem is Arsene may not have too much time.

    Desi points out to a foreign number two being desired, and that may well be true. But this consistent level of tactical deficiency raises direct questions of Wenger, which I think says that he seriously needs to reconsider his priorities.

    Anyways, Bayern just highlighted the problems we’ve seen all season, and I’m not too concerned about this loss, as much as I am about the general season, and I think Bould and Wenger have not been able to really gel their ideas together. A change is probably required, although I would not want point to any one individual, as most others tend to do.

  23. AP says:

    System, system, system….what about individual skills…quick passes are always 3-4 yards off…bad technique in receiving passes, giving just that moment for someone to take it off ur toe…how many times do arsenal players give the ball away because someone came from behind and just simply took it…how many times are they themselves able to to take it against quality opponents….it almost looks like nobody practices tackling in training…coz when we get onto the pitch against good quality players, we cant tackle for nuts and we are mostly in casual possession and give the ball away as if never expecting a tackle…so many times when opposition players double team an arsenal player, nobody turns up for the ball…they just keep standing waiting for the outcome of the duel…
    and then theres crossing…only arshavin can cross, only giroud can receive and they never play together for obvious reasons…theo plays central against someone like bayern, god knows why…and everyone tries to punt it to him, as if it was giroud playing…wtf…naivety should have some limit…

    • AP says:

      add to that stupid sliding tackles where we rarely reach close to the ball…and its useless to give examples where these might work against midtable PL opposition…

  24. Toye says:

    I think Wenger ђɑ̤̥̈̊ƨ̣̣̣̇̇̇̇ not been able τ̅☺ get †ђξ right balance of players that compliment each other. Playing Veemaelen at left back was alwys going τ̅☺ be A̶̲̥̅ disaster because he ђɑ̤̥̈̊ƨ̣̣̣̇̇̇̇ always shown his lack of inteligence Α̲̅πϑ quick adjustment anytime he plays out of postion. Gibbs Α̲̅πϑ either of Diaby, Coquelin Α̲̅πϑ Rosicky for Vermaelin Α̲̅πϑ Ramsey would have given us A̶̲̥̅ better chance yesterday. As an aside, if you Desi C̣̲̣̣̣̲̣̣α̲̅n keep sdeeng Α̲̅πϑ repeating all these errors Α̲̅πϑ †ђξ players themselves don’t seem τ̅☺ improve, then I think it ȋ̝̊̅§ fair τ̅☺ call them average students at best who needevery minute tutoring τ̅☺ understand minor details

    • AP says:

      i felt vermaelen was a disaster at LB and has always been so…even coq may have been better with just his energy…vermaelen at LB either gets skinned easily or goes too central…i feel hes rarely wide and deep while defending…it was comical to see bayern players just easily passing it around on the right flank even with 3-4 arsenal players present there, who mostly look at each other…

  25. Nick from Portugal says:

    Thanks Desi, must have been a bit grim looking at this closely enough to analyze, it was difficult to watch at times even from 2000 miles away! We were outplayed, Bayern were very good, I think they will take some stopping. Easy to come out with better alternatives in team selection but the addition of Rosisky gave us pace and dribble in midfield and we need that, we seriously need that. Ramsey is actually being played out of position as a DM player, as is Arteta, Cazorla out of position on the wing, Podolski likewide, Walcott likewise in the centre, this is not total football it is total chaos, add Vermaleen of the pace ad out of position and it starts to look extraordinary. Le Prof has lost his touch and the team don’t believe they can beat the big boys anymore. First half dispalys have been tentative, jumpy, slow, if I see Mertsaaker playing that sweeping crosfiled ball to Sagna one more time I will cry. Poor Sagna they play balls at him as if he was Ronaldo, enough to make you weep. Why can’t we get men into the box when he finally does get behind, always in the first half we create promising positions with nobody to convert? Villa on Saturday, they must fancy their chances…I don’t fancy ours.

    • Harjet says:

      IMO, even if AW wants to play Carzola on the Wings & Arteta with Wilshere in the Middle, why nt play Coquelin as a defensive cover.. To me he as really improved his game esp wen playn in the middle as we saw against Chelsea… And moreova his decision to play Walcott as the point man against defenders lyk Dante was way out of it

  26. [...] far as tactics are concerned, the preview and post-match report from the first-leg cover pretty much everything I have to say. Bayern are about as tactically [...]

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