Proud to, proud to be, proud to be a Gooner 14 March, 2013Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
What an extraordinary night that almost was. I was one of the naive many going into this game hoping that things didn’t turn ugly, in no way did I expect what I saw. As the game drew closer yesterday I went back to thinking that anything could happen and we had nothing to lose, although the niggling thought we could get well and truly stuffed was still there.
My worries in my last post were about the strength of team we were going to field out there. In the end it was only really Wilshere & Sagna missing due to injury and Vermaelen & Szczesny dropped through form. Their replacements came in and put in a fantastic display in what was a very difficult job.
The ever-present optimist in me deep down thought that an early goal might set this up to be an interesting tie and we couldn’t have asked for anything more. A quick move out of the midfield and Walcott was suddenly in space in the right. Whether he shot or crossed I don’t know but it was a dangerous ball and Giroud managed to guide it under the crossbar. 1-0, is this really on?! It showed Bayern Munich we weren’t just there to make up the numbers and it stunned their home crowd, all you could hear for the rest of the game were the 3,500 strong Gooners and it was brilliant.
From there, we needed to be professional and hold the lead for a bit. We did just that, I maybe would’ve liked another before half time if I’m being greedy but 1-0 up at the break was a great start. We still had a lot to do in the second half and as time ticked on I was begging on the edge of my seat for another goal. To be honest though, we didn’t see many attacks. I haven’t seen the stats but we didn’t spend much time in Bayern’s box at all and I can’t remember Neuer having to make a save. I’m full of praises for last night’s team but if I had to criticize one element I’d maybe say we weren’t quite dangerous enough. Then again, that’s not exactly easy against that defense. There was a great chance though when the ball broke to Walcott and he looked to be clear on goal but was flagged offside. Wrongly, as the replays suggested but that was just our luck from the officials last night.
It looked as if we weren’t going to do it then with 5 minutes to go Koscielny slammed in a header from a corner and it was well and truly on! I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t even celebrate I was just in shock, staring at the TV shouting words that couldn’t form a sentence if they tried. As you would, Bayern were time-wasting horribly and the shocking referee did nothing to help us out on that one. In the end we came so close to what would’ve been one of the most memorable results in our recent history but it wasn’t to be.
After a couple of minutes when it had sunk in all I could feel was an overwhelming pride. A pride for everything to do with Arsenal Football Club, even though we had just got knocked out I had a beaming smile as I watched the players go over to clap the fans. Those fans though, they did us proud as they always do. I was gutted I couldn’t join them in voice and numbers, they sung all game, all day and all night so credit to them. I loved it watching on TV seeing the silent Allianz Area except for the roaring of Arsenal anthems.
I’m so proud of that team last night too. I’ll hold my hands up and say I was wrong about them in my last post. I was worried Bayern were going to walk all over them but they absolutely bossed it. It needed to be a strong defensive performance and it turned out to be one of, if not the best display by them I’ve seen this season. Watching Gary Neville’s dissection of the Tottenham game you realised how all over the place we were, last night he was commentating and he was lauding the improvements. You could see it yourself though, the line was tight, the interceptions were strong, the full backs be positioned perfectly and as a unit they were tremendous. Bayern might’ve recorded a few shots but I’d say 75% of those were outside the box, last resort efforts.
I’m so glad to have Gibbs back for this run-in. He seemed to pick up a knock in the first half so I would imagine he’ll be rested as a precaution this weekend but he’ll be vital for us. Jenkinson on the other side is a credit to this club and has carried on where he left off at the start of the season. If Sagna moves this summer, I’m not worried at all – we’ve got Gooner Carl. Koscielny did great with Mertesacker too and if that’s not the pairing on Saturday then I don’t know what’s going on. Vermaelen has looked all over the place this season and Laurent showed last night exactly why he should be starting. Fabianksi too, everything that was asked of him he did without even the hint of a flap. I can only remember one really good save down low to his left, the rest were all relatively near him but he had safe hands last night. The four in front of him did a lot to help him, forcing Bayern away or to shoot high and wide from range. He should probably start on Saturday, if he doesn’t he’s got every right to be pissed off and I wouldn’t blame him if he left on the back of it. Either way, Szczesny needs to show improvement.
The midfield didn’t stop running all night. Rosicky, Arteta and Ramsey worked their fucking socks off and I love that. It was an experienced display from the three and it’s made me feel a little bit better about Jack’s injury. I hope it means a few more games for Tomas as he’s just been excellent the past two seasons when he’s had his chance. Up front, as I said we were lacking a little bit in creation and didn’t really seem that dangerous but they did quite well with what they had. Theo was maybe slightly better but too anonymous again, Giroud was kicked all over the park but I thought did well apart from a couple of ridiculous decisions. Cazorla the pick of the bunch as you’d expect, but Bayern expected it too and had him well marked.
A big shout out must go to Arsene Wenger though. He showed balls dropping our no.1 ‘keeper and captain and the guys he brought in showed why they should be getting more games. It must been tough to inspire a team for a match like last night’s but he bloody did it and nearly achieved one of his greatest European results. I wish it’d come off for Arsene, it would’ve been great for him. The task is now to see if he can reproduce that of his players at Swansea. For years that’s always been our problem, reproducing form like that and if we can do it we’ll gain 3 points on Spurs I’m sure of it.
That must be the focus now, to take this great 2-0 win against the form-team of Europe and apply it to our final 10 games. Did we enjoy the drama of last night? Sure we did. Do we want to be in that competition again next year? Fuck yeah we do. So go out and earn it Arsenal. You’ve shown us you’ve got the quality capable of it, lets go out and get as many of those 30 points as physically possible. The Scum are going to drop points, I know it. Lets be right at their heels ready to right that gap again.
Come on Arsenal. I bloody love ya.