by Darren Walsh
Phew, Gordon Strachan is here to speak some sense on this Wenger business. Unfortunately he instead complains about the clichéd questions Wenger got in his last press conference, the type every manager gets. Well there’s my hopes dashed.
One of the questions asked was if he had been offered a new contract, which he got surprisingly mad at: “So Arsene, is it true the board want you to stay and have offered you…” “WHAT A DISGRACEFUL QUESTION!!!”
Flares going off in the Munich end, Arsenal fans singing loud and we have a good European game atmosphere.
A few openings on both sides, and a nice goal for Tony Kroos after 7 minutes. Makes something of a poor cross and stays over the ball for a half volley into the net.
Andy Townsend seems surprised by Bayern’s ability to regain their defensive shape on counter attacks. Well they’d hardly have such a record if they couldn’t achieve that basic part of the game now, could they?
Finally, the fifth official makes himself useful! He’s helping the ref readjust his microphone.
Last ditch clearance by Vermaelen which concedes a corner. Van Buyten is free to head at goal which is saved, but Mueller is on hand to put the rebound away. It could not be a worse start for Arsenal, compounded when Sagna gets booked for a bad challenge.
German fans are singing “Football’s Coming Home”. The ultimate insult.
Arteta with an uncharacteristic late tackle. Heads are being lost.
Kroos is playing better than any time I’ve seen him before, which admittedly isn’t every week. His change of pace while dribbling is mesmerising the defenders.
Clive Tyldesley is not taking this well. He’s pleading for Arsenal to do something positive, much like a schoolkid asks to stay up at night just a bit longer.
“Arsenal just need one good thing to happen.” Sorry Clive, those meteor things doesn’t happen THAT often.
Walcott and Dante both with high feet for a ball; Walcott just about touches it first and Arsenal get the free kick though, something that the Brazilian can’t quite believe.
Two mentions so far of forthcoming Europa League games; a sense that it’s time already to look forward to them, ITV?
Sagna seems to ask, judging by his hand motions, whether the ref needs glasses. Got away with it though.
“One or two shoots of hope now” says Tyldesley as Podolski gets caught in possession.
Mandzukic really IS replacing Gomez in every way; he’s just missed a free header from six yards out.
Plenty of encouraging shouts from the home support as the players trudge off at half time; that is to be admired.
Things are getting tetchy in the studio. Adrian Chiles seems to want the first goal classed as lucky due to the poor cross, while Lee Dixon is looking at defending midfielders being too deep. Chiles may just go off the edge tonight; he wanted a match that quietened the Wenger criticism, instead we’re seeing the death knell of his reign. It also can’t help that he has had to listen to Dixon shouting in his ear for 45 minutes.
Strachan invokes his experience of managing relegation bound teams in talking about Wenger’s predicament, but he uses the pronoun “We”. Gareth Southgate raises an eyebrow. We haven’t forgotten your brief managerial career you know, Gareth.
Arsenal finally get that stroke of luck they needed. From a corner that should never have been, the delivery is somehow allowed to bounce and Podolski nods in with an all at sea Neuer appealing for something that I can’t spot. The ex-Bayern player will enjoy that goal immensely.
The referee always makes a really stern face when he books a player. He may as well tell them to go away and think about what they’ve done.
Wilshere charges towards goal; Andy exhorting him with a “GO ON!” It comes to nothing though.
Giroud with his first touch off the bench, powerful shot but straight at Neuer, luckily for the German.
For me to believe that Bayern are really that good, I need to see a reaction to what Arsenal are throwing at them. Are they a great team, or are they made to look good because most teams give up against them at 2-0 and just try to keep the score down?
And there is the reaction, as once again Bayern attack down the right wing and find Mandzukic who bundles in.
After a good response this half, that really may have knocked the stuffing out of Arsenal. Bayern are passing the ball much better now.
It could be more if Mario Gomez had an ounce of composure. He thrashes a rebound miles over the bar when he could have passed, or even just shot without panicking.
It’s petered out now, mostly Bayern possession. No real booing from the home fans at the whistle, just a quiet acceptance that the better team won.
We get a quick word from Chiles before the break, who quotes Lee Dixon in brandishing the performance “unacceptable”. He also implies that there were much less family friendly words that the ex-Arsenal man used during the half, which has led to my great idea: a red button feature where we can listen to stalwarts of each club instead of the usual commentary. Why has this not been done?
So that’s it. And I really mean that too. I’m sure some people will talk themselves into something amazing happening in the second leg when it’s played in a few weeks. Now? Optimism is pretty thin on the ground.