Once again Arsenal’s Champions League quest is likely, or certain, to end at the round of 16 stage. Despite holding our own in the opening half, an injury to Koscielny early in the second half triggered an embarrassing capitulation and a 5-1 loss at the Allianz.
Robben’s early goal was so obvious and predictable, it surprises me that he is so unstoppable, despite the fact he only seems to pull off one move (cutting in onto his left). At this point we did well to cling on, and got extremely lucky with the penalty, and Sanchez’s eventual goal. Although we only had 21% of possession, most Arsenal fans probably went in to the half time break feeling pretty content. I’m sure most would also agree that a Bayern goal was pretty inevitable at some point.
Koscielny’s injury was a huge blow, but not an excuse. Without Koscielny we had no leaders on the pitch – shown when Gibbs got given the captains armband. Gabriel is not a Champions League quality defender, and was at fault for at least two of Bayern’s goal. The embarrassing thing is how Bayern didn’t even hit fifth gear, they we cruising in fourth with no issues or potential comeback from us.
Arsene Wenger is an Arsenal legend. He has forever changed not only the club, but the English game. He revolutionised the modern game, but since moving to the Emirates we have had the same reoccurring issues of no leadership, a fragile defensive underbelly and no capability to maintain a title charge. In big games we still struggle to dominate, with some rare exceptions, we still struggle to kill off weaker opposition in the way Chelsea do and more recently seem to have a mental block when it comes to the Champions League. Arsene should leave the club at the end of the season, we need a new chapter in the Arsenal story, that builds on the foundations left by Wenger.
I’ve seen arguments that Arsenal shouldn’t compare themselves to a club like Bayern Munich or Barcelona, which I think is ridiculous. What was the purpose of moving to The Emirates if we can’t compare ourselves, or challenge, clubs like Bayern, Real or Barca. No longer can using the stadium as an excuse be upheld, the aim set by Ivan Gazidis was by 2015 Arsenal could compete with Bayern Munich, two years on and we’re still miles behind a weaker Bayern side than we have faced in years gone by. It genuinely makes me upset that Wenger should leave, he will forever be a club legend, but his tactics are out of touch – a new era of football is beginning, a more direct approach used by Chelsea and Real Madrid. Tika taka and possession based football, that Wenger relies on, is coming to a close, this is best shown by Real who have gradually clawed back at Barcelona and look to be set for a La Liga title this season. Wenger shows no signs of adapting or switching his philosophy, in some ways you can respect that, possession football has been extremely successful for him and Arsenal, but a change is coming.
Wenger isn’t solely to blame. Arsenal is rotten from the top to bottom, the directors are a set of dinosaurs that are out of touch with modern football. Silent Stan is the an appalling owner, hardly investing into the squad that is crying out for a facelift. Change is required, the board are too lenient with the manager who can get away with anything. The club should refund every fan that went to Munich, its a disgrace the amount of times our loyal away support have travelled to see their side be humiliated, the 8-2 defeat against Man U, 5-1 against Bayern (TWICE), AC Milan 4-0, Bradford, or the season where we lost to Man City 6-3, Liverpool 5-1 and Chelsea 6-0 IN ONE SEASON ALONE!
There is no chance we will come back, as I’m sure everyone accepts. Our focus needs to switch back to the Premier League and ensuring if a new manager comes in Champions League football is secured.