How do you get a spine in a team? How do you get resilience in a team? Success is always built around spine and resilience, because sooner or later the going gets tough; that’s life. More is needed than those two attributes. We need talent, a plan, cohesion, passion etc, etc. But without spine and ability to get up when you have been knocked down, you, me and Arsenal football club will get nowhere.
We started tentatively against Bayern on Wednesday, handing them the initiative and soaking up pressure as much as we could. Boll*ck-on-a-neck Robben scored a very fine goal, which we all knew was coming as soon as Coquelin had been fooled and allowed space for the forever ageing ex-Chav to hit his left-footed bullet against the back of the net. After that we rode our luck and then came back into the game through a badly taken penalty that still made it past Neuer at the third attempt. We even had chances to score a second before the break, but this time it was Ozil and Xhaka, so used to playing on German soil, who lacked the composure to really take the game to Bayern. 1-2 at half time would have been very sweet indeed.
The second half was as bad a performance by Arsenal as I have ever seen. As soon as Die Lederhosen scored their second, in the 54th minute, I knew we would get spanked. And didn’t we all? Without Koz, who had to leave because of injury, we totally imploded. The team were all over the place and their backsides were warmed by their hairy tales. The pitch became bigger and bigger and our men became boys, shrinking more and more as the second half went on. Mustafi and Gabriel had as much cohesion as Hillary and Trump between them and our central midfielders were chasing their own sorry tales. It was woeful and our man of the match, Ospina, was the only one who kept standing up and produced one superb safe after another. But then his name means ‘spine’ in Spanish, I reckon…. Oh spiny one!
In every football team you need a good spine, and a good spine is held together by a strong waist. On Wednesday, our waist of Coq and Xhaka became weaker and weaker and there was nobody to help them either. The total collapse we witnessed was very painful and tells us that we have structural problems that cannot be solved before the summer. It is going to be a bumpy ride from here on. In the summer we need to get ourselves a spade of a spine and stadiums full of resilience.