BAYERN MUNICH 1 ARSENAL 1
For the second time in twelve months The Arsenal have been knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich in the Last 16. But also for the second time in twelve months The Arsenal came away from Munich undefeated, after a 1-1 at the Allianz Arena.
Due to time zones (and the need to commute to work) I didn’t get to see all of the game, just the first half live and the match highlights on Arsenal Player. Our goal was a quite fabulous thunderbolt from Podolski and Fabianski made a quite excellent penalty save at the death. And of course I saw further evidence that Robben is one of the biggest cheats in the game, but that was never in doubt anyway.
Asides from that I don’t feel like there’s too much else to add. We gave a performance that was full of pride and fight, and I thought Oxlade-Chamberlain was immense. But much like last season it was the first leg that killed the tie, but with the circumstances being somewhat different. Last year there was a notable difference in ability, with a raw and naïve Arsenal being picked apart by the ruthlessly excellent Munich, who as we know went on to win the treble. This year, however, the tie was decided by one moment – Wojciech Szczesny’s red card.
For the minutes of the tie that it was eleven versus eleven we held Bayern to 0-0 and 1-1. Not many teams in Europe can claim to have done that this season. It speaks volumes for the progress we’ve made in the last 12 to 18 months. Many will say it’s another European failure, but for me there are clear signs of improvement and if we can draw a kinder group stage in future, to avoid the big guns so early, then who knows what could happen.
NORTH LONDON DERBY
For now though we must get back to focussing on our league campaign to make sure we qualify for the Champions League once again next season. And what better way to re-focus than a trip to the old enemy for a North London Derby? Having beaten them twice at home this season I’d very much like to make it three out of three on Sunday. Regardless of title challenges and a tough run of fixtures, these are games you’re desperate to win and hate to lose.
Early team news isn’t encouraging with Özil expected to be out for up to four weeks with a hamstring strain, Ramsey’s return has suffered a small set back, and both Gibbs and Monreal will undergo late fitness tests – fingers crossed at least one of them can make it back in time! Here’s hoping for three points, up The Arsenal.
There seems to have been a lot of noise this season about media bias. Earlier in the season people were getting upset that many journalists and pundits weren’t taking our title challenge seriously enough. This week the outrage from some quarters reached fever pitch as our progression to an FA Cup semi-final and draw in Munich resulted in much harsher headlines than City losing to Wigan and Barcelona. What clearer evidence could there be to demonstrate the blatant media bias against Arsenal?
I on the other hand would like to ask a different question – who gives a shit what John Cross, Neil Ashton, Jamie Redknapp, Alan Hansen, or any other journalists you dislike have to say?
Tim Stillman discusses this very topic in his weekly column “Opinion, Reaction, Clicks and Trolls” over at Arseblog.com. Tim is as eloquent as ever, hitting many nails on their head and raising many good questions as he openly assesses all of the possible angles to this debate.
But rightly or wrong I’m far more narrow-minded when it comes to this topic. I have my views and my opinions on The Arsenal and share many (if not all of them) on here and on twitter. I also have my preferred blogs, podcasts, media sources, and journalists for my fix of views and news, whether it be Arsenal related or other topics of interest to me. And as a result I enjoy Arsenal coverage.
I follow people, such as Tim, who talk with intelligence and sense. I follow people who discuss Arsenal in a positive fashion, but also with constructive criticism or concern when it is warranted. I follow people who make Arsenal and life happy, and fun, and enjoyable. People say that the beauty of twitter is that you can follow and unfollow who you choose. At some stage they’ll realise that’s just the beauty of life. If you don’t like a certain journalist, or newspaper, or sports show then don’t listen, read, or watch.
And even if those who do care are right, and there is an Arsenal bias from the media, I ask you again…who gives a shit? Arsenal against the world. Cannons facing outwards. And this weekend aiming at dirty lillyshite cockerels. Just the way I like it. I love you Arsenal, I do.