So 7 hours after I first (in my entire lifetime of supporting Arsenal) admitted that I think Arsene Wenger has lost his marbles, what happened?
I don’t know if it was sheer luck or tough resolve but Arsenal won at Bayern Munich! We scored early on at the 3rd minute and late on at the 86th minute. We stopped one of the best clubs in the world from scoring on their own turf and we tallied the aggregate to 3-3. We did all that without Szczesny, Wilshere, Sagna and Podolski. But unfortunate rulings of Europe depending on away goals to decide a tie got us chucked out of Europe. Just like that, once more. It was all too little too late. How agonizing.
The game was shown at 345am and as with other midweek game, I try to sleep early on match nights. I went to bed at midnight after watching episodes of Pretty Little Liars (I’m addicted!) and was subconsciously awoken thanks to a coughing fit at 3am. I overslept after and switched the match on 5 minutes after kickoff and was stunned to see the score line.
Bayern Munich 0 – 1 Arsenal
Straight away, I was jolted awake and I thought THERE’S HOPE, AMEN. My heart soared. I desperately wanted us to score another in the 1st half.
One thing was prominent. Our defence wasn’t shambolic. True, we scrambled at clearing dangerous balls at times but ultimately, we cleared them to safety. We did well! Jenkinson was brilliant at right-back. That boy is all of sheer passion. Koscielny, BFG and Gibbs also slugged their guts out.
My poor expectations of Fabianski’s goalkeeping backfired right in my face. I would like to see him play a few games to ascertain that he is a better keeper like he showed at Bayern than he was before. He held the fort exceptionally well at Bayern. Through heavily lidded eyes, I remembered him making a couple of swift and excellent saves that morning. So, I take back my negative statements I made of him in my previous entry. He was good. He may not be Joe Hart or Victor Valdes but neither is Szczesny. However, based on last night’s performance, I think he is on par with Szczesny if he keeps his performance a constant.
And then, second half got underway and I was willing for a second goal as soon as possible. When we hit the 80th minute, the high hopes I have gathered throughout the match time were slowly draining away. And then 86th minute into it, Koscielny headed in a goal. We were thigh on aggregate.
I was extremely disturbed with the stray and loose balls that Arsenal gave away time and again in the match. How lax can the players be? It was throughout the game and it bothered me the most when we had 3 minutes of normal time left and whatever stoppage time that was added. I wanted to fling my pillow at the screen. I don’t know if it was nerves or exhaustion. We clocked on fouls like it was nothing too.
And the referee whom I thought did well, giving out free kicks rightfully throughout the game, in turn screwed us towards the end of the game. There was time wasting from Neuer, damn, that guy was filthy. I have never had a problem with Robben but he was atrocious that night. I understand that time-wasting is to be expected when a club is winning and the end is nearing but the added time always made up for it on the opposition’s end. There was a heavy amount of time-wasting displayed by the Germans and the referee added on a minor 180 seconds of added time. Who was he kidding?!
And so despite the hard work during the second leg, we crashed out from Europe. Same results, just another different season. Just what is wrong with the dynamics of the team? Is it the players or is it the manager? Or the management even? Just what the hell is stopping Arsenal from keeping a constant in their performances and ending up onto that podium with silverware gleaming, being passed from hands to hands of players who deserves it? I have been trying to figure it out season after season but it is like attempting to find a needle in a stack of hay. I can never quite figure it out.
But I agreed with Ramsey. It was a great victory.
What I hope is really, just for the team to defend like that did at the Allianz. My wish is really simple, isn’t it? It was a display of absolute determination and want. Why can’t they defend like that every single game? That’s another problem. We shine bright in a few successive games and then we break the performance, sliding downwards like rainwater sipping into the drain.
Sigh, the woes of an Arsenal fan… pretty much the same season after season.
Guess I have to wish upon the stars in hopes that Arsenal will make it in the top 4 and qualify for Champions League next season.
For now, bring on Swansea!