Bayern Munich-Arsenal: Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg. Match Preview, Predicted Line-up.

Some things never change, or at least that how it feels at times.  Once again Arsenal face Bayern Munich in the Champions League and Gooners will hope that we are not doomed to repeat history.

Even though Bayern eliminated Arsenal in this very round in both 2013 and 2014 and produced a lopsided scoreline in their home stadium last season during group play, we should not travel to Germany without a measure of belief.  With the 2nd leg at home this time, we should know that if we can produce a good result at the Allianz stadium we will be in with a chance to advance.  In addition, each season is different; Bayern are changed and so are we.

Although Bayern are 7 points clear in the Bundesliga, all reports indicate that it has been an ongoing process attempting to modify their style under new manager Carlo Ancelotti.  The Italian, in contrast to Pep Guardiola, now at Manchester City, favors greater discipline at the back.  This has been echoed by players like goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and defender Mats Hummels, both of whom have stated that the goal in the first leg is keeping a clean sheet.  Ancelotti has cautioned that Arsenal are an attacking team and will have plenty of the ball, setting up potential counterattacks; Neuer thinks there’s enough attacking talent in both teams for a very entertaining match.

Such a match is possible.  Alhough Bayern will be without Franck Ribery, they have plenty of strength in attack.  Guys like Thomas Mueller, Douglas Costa, Arjen Robben, Kingsley Coman, Renato Sanches and Robert Lewandowski leave Ancelotti spoiled for choice.  Further back, they will be missing Jerome Boateng, but they still boast a plethora of defensively minded footballers like Phillip Lamm, David Alaba, Joshua Kimmich, Thiago Alcantara, Javi Martinez, Arturo Vidal and Xabi Alonso, all of whom work hard to control the pitch but are also able to get the ball forward in a hurry.

I don’t see such an open game.  Against Bayern, I believe Arsenal will have to play in a highly disciplined fashion employing our best footballers in every position, all of them keeping a keen eye on fore-aft balance.  It’s fine to move the ball forward and work for goal scoring chances, but we cannot afford to get caught on the break by being too aggressive.  Arsenal’s primary task will be to play in a controlled manner in order to bring a manageable scoreline back home to North London.

Unfortunately, we come into the match without our highest confidence and best form.  Manager Arsene Wenger is once again under massive pressure.  Thankfully, we were able to eke out a 2-nil win over Hull City this past Saturday, but it was hardly a convincing performance against a team in the relegation places.  Still, it was an improvement over consecutive league losses which find us in yet another tight battle for a top 4 finish in the Premier League; 10 points off Chelsea at the top of the table seems a mountain to climb.

As such, a Champions League tie against a huge club like Bayern presents a great opportunity.  Who will Wenger pick for this crucial match?

At the back, he’s already confirmed that David Ospina will start in goal.  The Colombian is a fine shot-blocker but tends to create heart-in-mouth moments with questionable decisions about when to leave his line.  He’ll need better communication with his back four, a group that probably picks itself.  The two Spaniards, Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal, will likely start at fullback while Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny surely will pair again as central defenders.

Wenger finally has a bit of choice ahead of that group.  Granit Xhaka is available after a four match suspension and Mohamed Elneny has returned from the African Cup of Nations.  Will either or both get a start?  Francis Coquelin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have been manning the double pivot in recent matches and probably represent his other choices.

Further forward, despite Wenger recently questioning his confidence, there’s Mesut Ozil who should be keen to impress on his return to his native Germany.  Many have argued that Ozil should be dropped based on his current form, but I just can’t see Wenger making such a move.  Alex Iwobi, just 20 years of age, has looked good on the ball and strong in attack from a starting position on the left.  Will Theo Walcott be chosen on the right or could this be a spot for Danny Welbeck?  It’s also possible that Alexis Sanchez takes one of the wide positions if Olivier Giroud were to start as our center forward.  It would be a surprise to me if Giroud, who didn’t feature at all vs Hull, got the call up front instead of Alexis.  Unfortunately, Lucas Perez, a player many Gooners would like to see get more playing time, is out with a hamstring problem.

I have to say that I don’t feel very confident about Wenger’s picks but here’s my best guess:






Substitutes: Cech, Gabriel, Gibbs, Elneny, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck, Giroud

Personally, I’d prefer to see Elneny get a spot as the Egyptian can run all day and recycles possession in a way I believe this game demands.  Others might prefer Oxlade-Chamberlain who seems a revived character playing in a deeper midfield position recently.  Giroud up front also appeals to me.  What do you think, fellow Gooners?

As we saw with Paris Saint-Germain’s 4-nil win over Barcelona last night, strange things can happen in these first legs.  We nosed in front of the French club in group play after a pair of draws against them, so maybe should find some confidence in their great result.  We should also remember that we have had a measure of success at the Allianz including a 2-nil victory there in 2014.  Such a scoreline would be a dream and frankly, if it were on offer, I’d take a draw in Munich, ideally with an away goal or two to give us an advantage in the return leg.  How about you?  Does anybody care to predict what sort of match we’ll see if not a final scoreline.

There’s no doubt that another CL match-up with Bayern is daunting.  Still, if our team plays at its best, there is nothing to fear against the German giants.

Go on then…

By 17highburyterrace

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91 Responses to Bayern Munich-Arsenal: Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg. Match Preview, Predicted Line-up.

  1. Does any other team use different keepers in UL and the league? I know Wenger is trying to keep Ospina happy, but I am it sure it is the best decision

  2. Pony Eye says:

    HT, lovely well balanced post and it is that balance ‘in personnel’ that Wenger will seek in his selection of the team. A team that can sit deep in a compressed 4:4:2 when the opponent has possession and uncoil to a 4:2:3:1 when we are with the ball. The 4:4:2 will have Ozil and Sanchez as the 2 up front.

    Because of the defensive phase of the game I expect Wenger to choose Oxlade and Welbeck over Walcott and Iwobi. For beating their high press Elneny over Coquelin. The rest agrees with HT’s pick.

    My guess:


    Bench : Cech, Gab, Gibbs, Coq, Iwobi, Walcott, Giroud.

    One of Europe’s super team was whipped yesterday. It gives us hope when we remember that the PSG team that outplayed and trashed them (Barca) 4-0, is the team that finished the group stage behind us.

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    That got me right in the mood, Seventeenho! However, please please let it not be your predicted line up but more like PE’s above one. COYGs This is the Night to make your manager and supporters proud!!!

  4. njk84sg says:

    Ox plays better in deeper and central position, so putting him outside on the right might not be a good thing to do, but he has done well in defensive work lately.

    I am split between putting Welbeck and Alexis out wide and Ollie up front, versus Gibbs and Ox on the wings and Alexis up front.
    I would rather Gibbs play in front of Nacho, as he is the person that defends well and creates chances well. Maybe we can try that out.


  5. Goonereris says:

    The fact almost everyone has a different formation in mind is testament to the tough job the manager has; if he picks the right team and wins, pundits/fans will try to take credit for it, but lose and everyone blames him for ineptitude and wrong selection. He alone knows how he wants the side to play and therefore, who he picks. The rest is for the players to perform without pressure, the kind the media is putting on Ozil.

    I feel we would go for solidity first and play on the counter the few opportune moments we get. PSG has big players and have ambitions to win the CL, reflected in their purchases of big name players and a manager who has won the Europa league so many times, he obviously is dying to win the CL for a change. Ambitions coincide! Again, he knows the Barca side so well from facing them numerous times at Sevilla and must know the team isn’t at the peak of its powers, lately. I’d always thought the Barca defence is one of the most breach-able of the big sides in Europe. That result gives hope and should encourage us but, considering how same PSG battered us at some points in that game, we must play our own game and in line with set plan to “protect the second leg”, as Wenger put it.
    Welbeck, Alexis and Ox have to play. Ozil and Ox to interchange roles; Ox in midfield when we are defending and switching to the wings if we are on the front foot. I know Alaba says he dreads Theo’s pace; maybe, he can come on late when legs/minds start to tire, but he does so little when he starts, these days, that you know we can’t afford him tonight. To that extent, I agree with PE’s suggested line up, except that I will prefer Gabriel to Bellerin for this first leg.

  6. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hi fellas… Very few comments here but at least they’re good ones…not counting the first guy who cannot remember Barca winning the CL in 2015 with Ter Steegen in goal even though Bravo was their keeper in La Liga…which they also won…

    I agree with ‘eris that a lot (too many) Gooners want to hold their ideas in reserve so that they can enjoy things if Arsenal do well and heap blame upon the manager if things go funky. Toxic times and it makes me ill…

    Like I said in the preview, I think this is a game that requires our very best footballers. From my line-up this would probably mean dropping Theo and maybe getting the Ox in as an extra midfielder. Theo’s pace in behind, however, as a fill-the-hole (left by Alexis…) striker might be AW’s thought. Or he might go with Giroud (an under-rated player with the ball at his feet, IMO) up top and keep Iwobi and Alexis–and Ozil, of course–as his possession trio just behind. Xhaka, for me, must play, but then it’s questionable (I think) who is the better footballer: Elneny or Coquelin? Certainly it’s interesting that finding players to compete with and/or augment Le Coq (Elneny last Jan., Xhaka this past summer…) has been Wenger’s focus in recent transfer windows… Like I also said, for this match at least, I think it’s awfully difficult to know what the manager is planning.

    PE, I’m actually expecting a very cagey match with less of the high pressing we associate with a Guardiola team. Everything I read about Bayern this season is that they tend to want to wear teams down while remaining very focused on keeping their shape, confident that they can score late in the match if need be.

    The CL elims(over the two legs) are sooooo different than the (must win) PL matches, but, I fear, very few Gooners appreciate the difference. AW, over the years, has criticized the format as it makes for less exciting matches given that nil-nil is such a good first leg scoreline for the home team. That said, if the home team can get the first goal it tends to force the visitors to try for (away) goals which can lead to punishment on the break. See last night’s match at PSG for example.

    We need to avoid doing a Barca (which, frankly, IMO is a ludicrous thing to say…) and play with absolute discipline–quite unlike we’ve done in recent league matches. Can we do it? We’ll see…

  7. retsub1 says:

    Well written 17ht. I have no idea which side Wenger will put out tonight. I really don’t like your concept of holding back comments, so that later one can say I told you so to Wenger. Sadly I think there may be an element of truth in it. I have been considering what to say today, but if one (using one as a third party term). Is not careful you get into I told you so mode,. Take Ozil as an example if he has a bad game tonight a number of us could easily turn around and say “told you so”. In my case that is the last thing I want. I want Arsenal to win and Ozil to have a cracker of a game.

    I am therefore going to avoid going down that road. I only have two comments to make

    Please don’t shove the Ox out on the wing. He has been playing well in the centre and if Wenger believes he can carry on this form, let him carry on in the centre. I have seen this happen so many times before with Ramsey in particular. He plays a good game in the centre, then gets slung out on the wing to accomate someone else.

    Secondly whoever plays in goal please do some homework on their penalty takers. A number of times recently the TVs shows where the taker places his penalties. One recently regularly placed his down the centre. As he stepped up I was yelling at Czech to stand still, but he did his best to dive out of the way. Just a thought.

    See the team is out now, so I will contradict myself a little with these thoughts

    I would have played Elneny ahead of Coquelin who looks off form to me.
    Not sure I would have played Iwobi, it’s a big game and he can go missing
    Unless Monreal is injured, can’t understand why Gibbs has got the nod. He wasn’t that great against Hull

    Anyway enough of my ramblings. Come on you mighty Gunners and even if we don’t win make us proud

  8. 17highburyterrace says:

    Arsenal starting XI: Ospina; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Gibbs; Xhaka, Coquelin; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Özil, Iwobi; Alexis

    Bayern Munich starting XI: Neuer; Lahm, Hummels, Martínez, Alaba; Xabi Alonso, Vidal; Robben, Thiago, Costa; Lewandowski

    So… I only got 9 of 11…(but I still beat PE… 😀 )

    Gibbs in at RB and maybe we’re playing a bit of a 4-3-3 with a MF of Coq-Xhaka-Ox

    To me, the Bayern line-up looks very defensive minded as well, but those are some strong midfielders in Alonso, Vidal and Thiago…The latter two (at least) don’t mind streaming forward on occasion…

    Anyhow, the proof is in the pudding…


  9. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey retsub… Maybe I can respond to what you’re saying…The commentary in the US pre-match is hard to take… Warren Barton (former Toonie defender?) plus two former American players, Eric Wynalda (not so bad) and Alexis Lawless who is predicting a drubbing (by Bayern)…

    In truth, I don’t think you and I are that far apart but maybe we might define “having a good game” differently. Goals and assists definitely help show who did what but further back (in MF) it gets harder to say. Tackles, forward runs with the ball and through (or over) balls that create chances tend to impress, but I’ve often got my eye away from the ball (but maybe on my favorites more than on guys with whom I’m less enamored…) and I value positioning and letting the ball do the work. .In a match like this–which I predict could be kind of boring (in terms of fast up and down play) but always anxious with looming threat (esp. on the break), I think being able to keep possession and work the ball forward while maintaining pitch balance is the key–for both teams. Whichever team does this better will tend to create more chances and (with a bit of luck) more goals. Am I concerned about a MF of Ox-Coq-Xhaka vs Xabi-Vidal-Thiago? Oh yes I am… Iwobi, I think, does some very good things, but it’s such a big match and he may be targeted (for takeaways) due to his youth/inexperience. I think the Germans will play off Ozil a bit knowing just how good he can be. To me, Alexis is the proverbial double edged sword–equally capable of brilliance and bad turnovers in poor positions that can send opponents off in the opposite direction.

    Agreed also that Gibbs is an interesting choice and not the one I would have made. Along with Bellerin he gives us a lot of pace at FB but I worry about the body language if he’s forced to defend in our box, esp. given the divey tendencies of guys like Robben and their Brazilian players (Costa, Thiago)… It will be interesting how the game is refereed. I always feel that the English teams are at a distinct disadvantage as the continental refs tend to use the whistle–they actually see and call the fouls–hopefully tonight they protect our guys, esp. Ozil and Alexis…but that means they also buy the dives quite a bit more than the English ones. As such, your point about studying the penalty takers could be an important one…

    OK that should take me closer to kick-off…and away from the dire predictions of the American pundits…

  10. allezkev says:

    Big game for Iwobi, we have to treat the ball like a valuable friend, no giving away cheap

  11. Goonereris says:

    Hmmm. Looks like Wenger will like to protect Welbeck from a setback, as long as possible. Gibbs in isn’t much of a surprise as he will be more adept at playing against Robben’s speed. I would have liked a Brazilian v Brazilian scenario at our right back (Gabriel v Costa), but will accept there is a plan.


  12. Goonereris says:

    Need to stop their early press.

    Shucks! Have to leave the TV for a bit. Have to record this one.

  13. 17highburyterrace says:

    Lewandowski was in but Vidal shot instead of slipping it to him…The shot is to close to Ospina…

  14. 17highburyterrace says:

    Robben 1-nil… Lots of room given by Iwobi and Coquelin moved to the outside covering the same spot as Gibbs…Not good…

  15. 17highburyterrace says:

    Kos with a great tackle but Iwobi loses it… Robben’s shot this time not as good…

    Mustafi picks up a yellow on a tackle he was never gonna win…

  16. allezkev says:

    Well played Alexis, now test the goalkeeper

  17. 17highburyterrace says:

    Alexis wins (an iffy) FK just on the edge of the box…

    Ozil’s FK spilled by Neuer but poked wide by an offside Arsenal player… Decent chance…

    Alexis wins a corner and Arsenal win a PEN!!!!!

  18. 17highburyterrace says:

    Kos won the pen as Lewa kicked him…

    Alexis to take…

  19. 17highburyterrace says:

    SAVED but put back in by the taker…


    But we’ve got the away goal!!!

  20. 17highburyterrace says:

    That was not a good penalty… Alexis first touch after the rebound was poor too but he stayed with it and put it home with the 2nd…

  21. 17highburyterrace says:

    Alexis given yellow for shoving Javi Martinez who he thought was faking after a touch (perhaps) to the privates…

  22. retsub1 says:

    As Alexis stepped up I was thinking this is a match defining moment. If we miss this that’s curtains for us. Well done lads. Considering we haven’t had a kick yet, we can’t complain.

    One word of caution. Before the game. The commentators were saying that Robbin is always dangerous cutting inside onto his left foot……. and guess what

  23. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ref surrounded by Bayern players after Bells has a ball to hand moment… Corner only…

    Lewa heads over a ball that Vidal somehow keeps in…

    Game is definitely heating up with the away goal…

  24. 17highburyterrace says:

    Inexplicable defending by Le Coq set up the Robben goal, IMO, retsub…

    Alexis was very fortunate to be able to redeem the pen…

    Great chance for Xhaka after a good break and pull back by the Ox…Well hit but straight at Neuer…

  25. 17highburyterrace says:

    Lewa heads over again after masterful play between Bayern’s Brazilians down our right side…

  26. 17highburyterrace says:

    Very nice FK from Alonso but it’s headed wide… Gotta get to half-time…

  27. allezkev says:

    Well, I’ll take that, Bayern could have scored more but so could have Arsenal.
    Can’t predict this one at all.
    Bayern have lost some of their composure and look more vulnerable.
    Bug Arsenal always have a cock-up in them, so this one is in the balance.

  28. retsub1 says:

    Phew that was hard work. Now I know what teams like Hull, Sunderland etc feel like when they come to the Emirates. I think it’s fair to say we have rode our luck. Need to tighten up the marking on Lewandowski he has had a couple of really good chances.

    If we can hold out for another 45 it would be tremendous, but I think it’s fair to say we are playing a superior team.


  29. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow… Ozil stays onside and has a great chance from a tough angle. He hits it well but Neuer makes a great reaction save…

    That’s halftime and despite all the Bayern possession we’ve had some very nice chances…plus the pen and put-back, of course. Neuer has been impressive even if he spilled the Ozil FK…

    At 1-1 we should see an exciting 2nd half…

  30. retsub1 says:

    Agree about Le Coq. Still a great goal by Robben though.

    It’s going to be hard work for us Supporters and the players in the 2nd half. Careful use of the 3 subs will be crucial.

  31. 17highburyterrace says:

    Their goal brought us out of our shell, I thought, but I’m concerned about Mustafi’s yellow. Le Coq will likely get one on his next foul… The ref is calling it tight. An English ref would never have seen Kos’s fine touch nor rewarded it with a pen when Lewa kicked his foot…

    Beyond the excellent goal, Bayern have come closest with balls on heads, a part of the game I think Arsenal have improved upon (defending them, that is) in recent seasons. That said, Ospina seems awfully rooted to his line when the high balls come in…

    If we can limit them to those sorts of chances (rather than through-balls…) I like our chances. They are controlling the ball but we’ve made two very good chances on the break…

  32. 17highburyterrace says:

    Strong start to the 2nd half… Ospina down time wasting I think. Uh oh, Kos is hobbling and Gabriel is getting ready…

    The change has been made…Gibbs given the armband…

  33. 17highburyterrace says:

    I guess I was wrong… Lahm to Lewa’s head and it’s an easy finish over Mustafi…


  34. 17highburyterrace says:

    That’s the throughball I feared… Thiago has the goal at his mercy after the flick from Lewa…

    3-1… It’s falling apart quickly here…

  35. retsub1 says:

    If we keep this game open and trade punches, I fear we will get mauled

  36. 17highburyterrace says:

    Their 3rd goal is maybe the difference between Gabby and Kos in marking Lewandowski…

    Xhaka’s gonna get a yellow for leaving his feet very late…

  37. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow… Torn open indeed…Ospina walkabout and then a Gibbs handball only out for a corner… And from the corner Ospina makes a miracle reaction save…Just hanging on here…

    Spoke too soon, Thiago makes it 4-1

    They’re winning all the headers…Shot took a small deflection off Xhaka…

    Elneny and Giroud for Coq and Iwobi?…

    Theo getting prepped instead…

  38. 17highburyterrace says:

    Losing Kos, I think, was big…

    Iwobi out, Theo in…

    We could take a measure of hope if we could score another…If they do, however…

    As it is, the coffin seems pretty well nailed down…

  39. 17highburyterrace says:

    Vidal from downtown forces another Ospina save…

    Bayern going for a cricket score…

  40. retsub1 says:

    I think we have to admit, Bayern are in a different league to us (not talking Germany here)
    We will be lucky to keep this down to 4

  41. allezkev says:

    Bayern like having a shot at goal.
    It’s quite a useful tactic, shooting from distance…

    I guess that some will say that it went wrong when Koscielny went off, but your back four needs protection from those in front, Xhaka and Coquelin.

  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    Tough to take on a team of well rested all-stars with our beleaguered group of up and comers (and those who will be leaving)…

    We’ll likely do better at Sutton next Monday…

    We scramble away a corner and Ospina takes a little more time off the clock…

  43. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gabby gets away with a well place elbow on a diving Lewandowski…

  44. 17highburyterrace says:

    “placed” I meant…

    Let’s see if we can get Giroud a touch…

    Ospina pushes Costa’s shot around the post with a fingertip…

  45. allezkev says:

    Gotta that Ospina has had a great game…

  46. Simba says:

    If Arsene keeps on playing Ozil he must go. What a waste of space in the team and 42million flushed down the drain

  47. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ox goes down but (I think) could have stayed up… Lahm out for the 2nd leg with the yellow…

    Kimmich on for Costa…

  48. allezkev says:

    Great break by Walcott, no support..,

  49. 17highburyterrace says:

    Bayern win the defensive header on the FK…

    Nice run from Theo but can’t find anybody on the cut-back…

    Corner is shouldered by Giroud but it leads to a Bayern break… Bellerin quick enough for Robben and Kimmich’s shot blocked out for their corner…

  50. retsub1 says:


  51. retsub1 says:

    Bring on Sutton

  52. 17highburyterrace says:

    Now they bring on Mueller… Didn’t he win the golden boot at the WC?

    Agreed Kev, very tough match for Xhaka and Le Coq…

    Ugh…Terrible giveaway by the Ox at the top of our box and Bayern patiently put it in for their 5th…

    End of the line for this team, I hate to say…

  53. Simba says:

    What a joke? Who is better Chambers or Gabriel? Holding or Mustafi? Hayden or Chamberlain? Rabbiot or Xhaka?

  54. allezkev says:

    Thing is 17tino, Xhaka was fit, but was he match sharp?
    I don’t blame him.
    Coquelin had lost his edge, confidence perhaps?

    Tactically Bayern are streets ahead.

  55. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ozil pushed off the ball, no call… Giroud can’t bring down a long pass…

    Full time…

    8 changes for Sutton (Ospina, Ox, Gibbs to start, maybe?…) but they’ll be up for it, I fear…

    Should be fun times when we play again at the Emirates in March…

  56. Simba says:

    Ozil is super lazy and Sanchez selfish. They can not inspire the team definitely maybe we sell Ozil we get Reus and we sell Sanchez and get a striker like Lukaku

  57. allezkev says:

    Ospina let in 5, but he wasn’t to blame for any of them, and I thought he made some great saves.

  58. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey, there’s Simba…Long time…

    # of comment writers here could increase… 😀 😦

  59. 17highburyterrace says:

    In these situations, when my wife and son come home, I always say…

    Arsenal one (pronounced “won”)…


    Bayern 5…

    If you cannot laugh you’re gonna cry…

  60. retsub1 says:

    Very few players can say they played well, Ospina maybe. I don’t think we can single out individuals, we were simply crushed by a far better side. Using Ozil as an example, had he been playing for Bayern I am sure he would have been brilliant.

    As you say 17ht maybe this team has ran its coarse.

  61. Simba says:

    Hi 17Highbury its mess there

  62. 17highburyterrace says:

    This is a (very) sad thing…

    If AW can get this team up for a top 4 finish and a trip to Wembley (a semi seems more likely than a final…) it would be a miracle…

    Totts, Pool and both Manc Clubs (not to mention Chavs…) are all ahead of us on the “tear down and rebuild” thing… Ours, I fear, begins in the summer…

  63. Pony Eye says:

    One little point. The fact that Sanchez has successfully bullied everybody to become the penalty taker tells us a lot. He is the poorest penalty taker I’ve ever seen.

  64. retsub1 says:

    The sad thing is 17ht I think we probably will make top 4 and do well in the cup. I am sure some of the squad players such as Maitland Niles, Perez, Wellbeck , Holding etc will be hungry enough to get us there. Plus the likes of Spurs, Liverpool usually go flat at the end of the season.

    Trouble is, it even pretty much the same story year after year.

    With the greatest respect to Wenger, I think at the end of the season he should probably stand down. Its easy to say that now, but I would hate to see him go out being unpopular. He will go down in history as Arsenal greatest manager and shouldn’t spoil it now

  65. Frozen says:


  66. retsub1 says:

    P E re the penalties agree with you totally. Sometimes they are so bad they are good

  67. 17highburyterrace says:

    retsub, I think we’re looking at most of the over age 26-27-28 year old players ALL wanting out, hoping for an easier and/or richer final contract… As good as some of the up and comers might be AND as fine as Wenger is in taking the criticism (for the players) it is very difficult to play when none of your games are played in a supportive environment. (Which could be an argument for Bould in…) I think getting up for 4th (or Wembley…) given that 5 (on the up…) teams are competing for 3 places is very (very) difficult. Like I tried to say, the supporters at those other teams have already re-calibrated their expectations and believe that some CL football could be a nice reward or a bit of fun…

    Mind, I’m not blaming the customers. If you pay your money and you don’t like the product, you most certainly have full rights to complain (or walk away). Getting behind a new manager (and a new set of players) will be a good time for many Gooners. Wenger, IMO, has been working in an increasingly difficult situation for a long, long time, but I salute him for fighting the good fight and marrying his fortunes to those of the club. I’m sad that it’s not a happier ending but that’s often how these things go.

    I haven’t really been following the “succession” talk on Arseblog (or anywhere else) but it doesn’t seem that the club is terribly well set up for the near-term future. With the stadium (and plenty of wealthy types in or near North London…) it’s a money maker, however, and, longer term, the club should be competitive even without a “sugar-daddy” owner.

    Only time will tell…

    In the meantime, there’s Sutton away and then a 2 week break. I’ll actually be on my way to the airport for that one and then out of the country for most of that time.

    Sadly, however, I may have an internet connection… 😀 😦

    Frozen, I had a boss once who liked to use the term “woof ticket.” I think I get it now…

    PE, I couldn’t agree more about Alexis and the pen…It did, however, put him in a good position for the put-back which was a great piece of skill after the nearly whiffed first touch…

  68. retsub1 says:

    grrrrrr i want to kick the dog and let off steam. had a quick trawl around the other blogs and various players are getting the he was to blame treatment. I don’t buy that, its aa team game and I can’t think of many who had a good game. A lot has been made of Kos going off, but if Lewandowski had have been as clinical in the first half it would have been over by half time.

  69. allezkev says:

    That’s true Retsub, but both Xhaka and Ozil had good chances to send us in ahead at half-time.
    At this level against such opponents you need to take at least one of those.

  70. Frozen says:

    Never heard the phrase paired with “ticket”.. What line of work are you in?

    You’ve outlined much of what I expect to come next, 17. Not too sure how to feel about it all to be quite honest. Maybe when Im at the laptop i’ll have more to say.. For now, just woof

  71. njk84sg says:

    Somehow we kept the German team quiet in the first half. What happened in the second?

    I didn’t watch the game after half time, and mistakes should be kept to none or minimal in big games. Now everyone is all sorts of things, but why is Welbeck not playing?

  72. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey Frozen… (Still awake probably here in the Pacific Time Zone)… I think “Woof Ticket” is an “urban” expression (read: African American)… At the time I was working for a community-based not-for-profit organization in Oakland…

    Nowadays I’m more of a house-husband/stay-at-home dad/carpenter/builder-guy… but I probably need a new career as my kid is getting older and (I fear) my Arsenal blogging life might become a bit more subdued. I’ve only been a supporter since 2006 (when we lived for a few months at my screen-name) so I’ve enjoyed seeing the development of the club (and English football more generally) under AW’s influence. For many Gooners these have been barren years but I’ve seen steady improvement…at least in light of the direction the game has gone…

    What about you? How long a supporter? What do you do up there in Washington?

  73. Frozen says:

    Right on. Oakland sure is an interesting city.. A couple months ago I flew down for the first time to catch my sisters PT school graduation ceremony. Couldn’t have been more than 5 minutes on the BART before a couple sitting next to me was robbed of their luggage just moments before the doors closed. Welcome to Oakland, I thought.
    Her fiancé did a similar gig and I’m actually thinking about becoming involved in the not-for-profit world once I finish up here in Bellingham. Seems like California isn’t a bad area for that sort of thing?

    And that’s an interesting journey– what brought you to London? Let alone a few blocks from the new stadium? Fate, surely..

    As for me, I suppose I’ve been a bit spoiled as far as Arsenal fans go. I only started following the club closely (religiously) in 2012, after my freshman season of college ball culminated with an unfortunate injury and I needed something to fill the void. I think it was an Invincibles documentary that initially did me in. I decided football would never get any prettier– but if it did, then it would be at the hands of Arsene Wenger. Young and naive, perhaps..
    The Van Judas saga hurt but in terms of the “barren years” I can’t pretend that I’ve endured similar amounts of misery as most around these parts.

    Currently I’m just splitting my time at the university and a local ice cream parlor, where they pay me to make frozen desserts.. Life is strange.

  74. 17highburyterrace says:

    Just checked in…Still awake here in our time zone watching some Oakland basketball… Frozen, when we say “ball” that’s the sport to which we refer…Is that what you mean or did you play soccer there at your school–Western Washington U., I assume? (I’m not at all a “religious” Warriors fan but they sure are easy on the eyes…)

    My wife has a lot of family in Washington…Her parents are in Olympia, aunt and uncle near Port Angeles, cousins in and near Seattle, etc., etc. She went to college at UPS in Tacoma. She was an English teacher (now an administrator) here at the community college in Tahoe and there was an international study program that brought her (us) to London. The location of our housing was pure luck. The stadium had just opened and supporters would stream across the Highbury Fields on match day. From our place it was a series of pathways that made it only a couple of hundred yards to walk there… At that time the economy was cranking and there was a lot of enthusiasm for the team so tickets were just about impossible to come by…. As such, I learned the game in the nearby pubs and from the (early) internet coverage (Arseblog, mostly). In truth, it took me a little while to figure out all the different competitions (including the international breaks that autumn) and generally WTF was going on. Supporters were very down about losing Pires, Bergkamp retiring, Henry and Ljungberg (and RVP) being injured and not very convinced by new signings like Hleb, Adebayor and Rosicky nor the Cole for Gallas swap with Chelsea. Losing matches at places like Fulham and Sheffield United didn’t help… It all seemed pretty fun to me, however…

    In the current political climate, I think the non-profit sector is going to explode here in California as (many) rich folks would prefer to donate so they don’t have to send the money to Washington (D.C.)… Just like with the Arsenal, however, my crystal ball into the future is just my own speculation and opinion…

    Do you get your screen-name from your current job or from somewhere else?…

    Anyhow, thanks for the personal background info…

  75. Frozen says:

    Ha ha yes I probably should’ve been a bit more specific. I’m afraid I, along with most of the footballing (or soccering) population (Peter crouch excluded) , am a bit vertically challenged for that sort of college ball. And indeed, the warriors are a lot of fun to watch. Even a bit arsenal-esque at times. Especially in the finals last year.. ha!

    Sounds like your good taste reaches beyond football. Washington truly is a lovely place, as I’m sure you’re wife has told you. Feels like a more developed version of my home town Anchorage, Alaska — the initial inspiration for my username, but I like the alternative

  76. njk84sg says:

    We have always struggled when someone in the team gets injured. Why didn’t we bring in Holding?

    For me, Gabby gets the most flak due to him being the person that gets subbed in more often than the others and the team wobbled for a while in those games. Wenger should have realised that but somehow either he does not have other choices or he just threw caution to the wind. And 3 goals after that is just embarrassing.

    Would’ve used stronger words if it was in the morning but it is evening here so a little tired and saw the ratings from Arseblog. A little deceiving of what the team achieved in the first half but a game consists of 2 halves.


  77. retsub1 says:

    J K. I don’t think it would have mattered who came on (unless it was Adams and Campbell). I and I think most people would agree that we didn’t deserve to be level at half time. I don’t think we even got a kick for the first 20 minutes. As Kev pointed out we could even have been ahead at half time, but had Lewandowski shown the same killer instiinct as he did in the 2nd half we would have been muellered ( if you will pardon the expression). We are simply not on the same level as Bayern and we’re always on a loser last night. That said it shouldn’t have been that bad and maybe it is time for a clear out.

    As some wise arse pointed out we finally achieved Barcelona form

  78. njk84sg says:

    If we kept Lewandowski quiet for a while longer we would have drawn the match or lost by one goal, which matters as we are home in the second leg.

    If you haven’t watched the previous games (I think you had) where we had someone injured, Gabby came on and we went a little wobbly for a while before getting used. Holding is mentally stronger and he should not have suffered the same fate as Gabby.

    I know where you are coming from, the whole team is not helping one another out, especially the midfield areas when we were being pressured. That meant large gaps appearing, in the quarter area of each side. Maybe we should go 3-5-2, like Chelski.

    3-5-2 formation is good and it seems like Chelski nailed that formation.

    We have the following personnel fit for those positions:
    RCB: Mustafi / Bellerin
    CB: Kos / BFG / Gabby / Holding
    LCB: Nacho / Gibbs

    RW: Perez / Theo
    RCM: Elneny / Ozil / Iwobi / Ox
    CDM: Le Coq
    LCM: Xhaka / Ozil / Rambo / Santi
    LW: Welbeck / Iwobi

    RCF: Alexis / Perez
    LCF: Ollie / Ozil

    This formation is open for comments, and what changed is a compact midfield area, which at any time we can have 2 persons marking the same player and not leave too much space.

    Note that I had a few spots for the same player, as I feel that they can work well in these positions.


  79. Goonereris says:

    That was an embarrassing display and outcome. I could only watch a bit of the 1st half, only to return to hear the final score (I have this superstition about not checking the score till I get home, you see) was a whopping 5-1!

    I am afraid the manager may no longer be commanding the respect of the players and cannot motivate them any longer or, they will put up more of a fight. How else can this be viewed? Bayern are a better side, no doubt, but it was clear we had and showed too much respect for them, maybe owing to years of losing out to them. However, I am not sure even United will allow them just make a fool out of them as our boys did last night, because the manager will have a plan for each player and every possible scenario. We didn’t show that we trained for that game; that was a Bayern team that’s not so high on confidence and we should have shown more composure when with the ball and without it. Welbeck would have done a better job supporting Gibbs against Robben, so the question then is why isn’t he playing these games? I think we will fall just short again in the reverse fixture, but worry more for the lasting effect of the damage this defeat will have done to the players, in the run-in to the end of the season.

    I wouldn’t wish for Wenger to leave in the season we finish below 4th and below Spurs. But I don’t know just how he will repair the shambles we are looking at this time.

  80. Simba says:

    The problem is Arsene he makes crazy decisions and is too soft on players. He must learn from Pep & Jose who make unpopular decisions with a target goal in mind. Dropping players like Yaya, Smalling, Mata etc is not easy but a coach must be bold to achieve. It can backfire but a good manager must be prepared to implement plan B if it happens so. He is too lenient to players like Ozil, Ox and Gibbs who are very capable but know they will continue to earn & play despite not contributing enough to the team. Ozil is supposed to be our Bergkamp the magic man but he is just nowhere near that. We actually got better football from the likes of Nasri and Rosicky than him.

    Why does he loan good and committed players like Joel Campbell & selling Afobe leaving us with mediocre players like Sanogo? You only wonder. Is the Ox better than Welbeck and Perez? The final buck lies with the manager because had the team been winning the accolades will go to him. Club football is all about managers where you buy and keep who you want unlike national teams where you must do with what you have. So Arsene is to blame for poor decision making, hesitancy in the market and leniency to under performers.

  81. allezkev says:

    The thing is Retsub, we aren’t as bad as 5-1, although I agree with you about Bayern being on a higher level, both tactically and mentally, all that said, the way we capitulated when it went 2-1 went beyond the loss of Koscielny and spoke of a deeper worry of the character of the side.

    I mean Retsub, we’ve seen many an Arsenal team, reduced to 10 men by a harsh sending off, fight back and win that match, it was something we was proud of, the spirit of our team.
    Where has that spirit gone?

  82. retsub1 says:


    Your so spot on with your sending off analogy. It used to happen a lot and the team always pulled together to come through. I remember one game at Anfield, when either Pires or Ljunberg got sent off and we came back and one 2 – 1. In the final against Barca when Lehmann was sent off, the 10 left held strong and nearly pulled it off. I do think this team lacks a real leader and it isn’t Gibbs!!!!!

  83. Goonereris says:

    Just watched the game in full. There are so many things wrong with the mind set and attitude of the team at the moment. We needed to fight last game but the manager thought he should leave out players that show fight in games and respect the shirt. Well, he knows his players better but fans watch their body language.

    Did anyone notice how many players we had waiting at the edge of their box, waiting to pounce on rebounds, for the Alexis spot kick? Just 2 and only Ox looked prepared to seek out any rebound. Once Alexis got the rebound, the sheer number of the red shirts around him could have sank hearts but for Alexis’ calm head. That was telling. Don’t they get told you make your own luck in such circumstances?

    Anyways, we’ve got to look forward. Things cannot be the same in the dressing room after that chastising defeat and the fan base has every right to be gloomy after being beaten so badly by a team we should be stating how much closer we’ve gotten to, in all ramifications.

  84. allezkev says:

    Retsub, are you thinking of the 2-1 win at Anfield when Van Bronckhorst got his marching orders?
    That was a great team/squad, who if I recall, won the Double that season.

    I remember being at White Hart Lane in a game where we had two players sent off, Keown and Ljungberg I think. Tim Sherwood got away with a clear elbow to side of Petit’s head, Manu went off, probably with concussion.
    It seemed a bit of a stitch up by the officials and we lost 2-1.
    But what sticks in my mind was the fighting spirit of the 9 Arsenal players, who had the Spuds 11 desperately hanging on, and they celebrated like they’d won the league at the final whistle.
    But I was so proud of our team that evening.

  85. retsub1 says:


    Yep I think that was the one, didn’t he get a second yellow for a supposed dive?. I remember a sense of injustice

    I think that was the game the Pires got a cracker from outside box .

    You are right about the sense of pride, I think it went a lot deeper then

  86. njk84sg says:


    My last comment was a reply to yours.

  87. retsub1 says:

    J K. Apologies I don’t quite understand your meaning. Which last comment are you referring to?

  88. njk84sg says:

    The reply about Lewandowski yesterday at 13:31.

  89. retsub1 says:

    J K apologies once again, I miss understood what you meant when you said your last comment. You are referring to your whole note, whilst I took it as your last sentence.

    Kos was obviously a big loss to the side, but I am not sure that Gabriel was the whole problem. Mustafi looked totally lost for most of the game. I don’t really understand why Gibbs was playing. Monreal may not be playing as well as he was last season, but whilst not a superstar he is unlikely to let the side down. Gibbs had only played one game and not particularly well IMO. Then he was made captain????

    I think Holding is a great prospect, but could he have coped with Bayern? I am not sure?

    It’s all to easy to pick on individuals after a games, particularly when the whole team failed to produce, but many people will wonder about the team selection.

    I could argue both sides for Ozil, but more obviously IMO was this to bigger a game for Iwobi? Why did Gibbs play instead of Monreal and why was a clearly out of form Coquelin selected ahead of Elneny?

    Lastly and most importantly what has happened to our Glorious leader (I am talking T A not Wenger).

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