Another disgraceful night against a big team. Arsene Wenger presided over his second 5-1 hammering away to Bayern Munich within two years. There were so many unreal moments, I’m struggling to work out how to form a narrative that reads coherently.
Here are a few of the best stats to start with
- Bayern managed 703 passes to our 185
- Bayern had 24 chances to our 7
- 9 players in Bayern’s team made more passes than our most prolific passer of the night
- Xhaka was our most prolific passer with 25 successful passes. This is a guy who can hit the nineties in a good game.
- Ozil made a pitiful 18 successful passes all night
- Ospina’s passing success rate was 43% on 30 passes
- Coquelin didn’t make a tackle (some places, according to FourFourTwo, he made 2)
- Coquelin made just 6 successful passes all night
- Only one player had more touches of the ball than Ospina
This wasn’t just a bad game. This was an apocalyptic demonstration of terrible management. You can’t say you didn’t see it coming. The warning signs have been there for weeks. Wenger is dead as a top flight manager, I’ve been saying this for 10 years. It is over. He should hand his notice in and the club should make plans for the future.
Things went terribly before we’d even set foot on the pitch. Our starting 11 firstly chopped in a goalkeeper who inspired leaks in the press last week, bad move. Only a manager with nothing to fear makes such an atrocious choice there. He ploughed on with Ozil as a second striker, when the guy is clearly tired, uninterested and woefully out of form. He didn’t play Danny Welbeck. He set up with a 4-4-1-1 in basically a really shoddy attempt at the deepest block of all time.
Where was the fu*king ambition?
We had a positive opening 10 minutes. Then Arjen Robben was allowed the freedom of Munich to drop his not so secret left foot rocket at the top corner. Did no one show Coquelin a video of Robben and what he does? How did we get into a structural situation where basically our whole team was in a straight line trying to defend. Crazy he was given so much space.
We were unbelievably allowed back in. I mean, I didn’t really understand it, Koscielny nipped the ball away from Lewa and was kicked over, not sure the Pole knew too much about that. Sanchez smashed his penalty, Neuer parried it back out the Chilean cooly brought it down with his chest and turned the ball in.
It felt like game on. We had other good oppotunites as well, actually hitting the target more than Bayern in the first half. Xhaka blew a great chance. Ozil fluffed an even better one. Very disappointing in a big game not to make those count.
Not that it would have counted for anything. We were full on Stoke under Pulis. 67 passes and a goal to show for it. We were never setup to sustain.
Things went south straight away. Ospina made a hash coming out for a ball that he shouldn’t have been anywhere near, he faked injury while Koscielny pinged a hamstring. Gabriel came on. Ospina dealt with his embarrassment and carried on.
Then it went to full on ‘3 old curries out of a New Dehli dustbin’ diarrhoea. We were roasted down the right for their second, Gibbs doing nothing to stop a perfect cross finding Lewa who beasted Mustafi and nodded across Ospina. The third came quickly, our whole midfield ghosted by Thiago who picked up a beautiful flick from Lewa and slotted past Ospina.
The embarrassment didn’t stop, and to be honest, I was glad, because I didn’t want to spend 2 weeks talking about luck, hope and a magic night in North London that was never on the cards. The 4th came when Coquelin headed meekly to the edge of the box and no one closed the ball down, Thiago hit a shot that deflected past Ospina down the middle. The 5th was laughable, Gabriel passed to Chamberlain, presumably because Gibbs was so far up the pitch there was no option to his left. Chamberlain took a poor touch, then misplaced his footing allowing Bayern in. Muller was found free and he finished us off with a clean decapitation.
That was it. For me, the seminal moment in Wenger’s season and maybe career. That will hopefully be the final nail in the coffin that has been on spring release. Wenger should retire and duck out. He’ll have to do it, because the paid for board members won’t.
We should go out and throw money at Monchi (Sevilla), Zorc (Dortmind) or Ragnick (Redbull) so we have a world class sporting director. Then we should ask Allegri to name his price. I’d love Sarri, Sampaoli, Tuchel or Hassenhutl, but we need a steady hand. Not a risk. We need a winner who can manage a dressing room and bring a new brand of thinking and quality to Arsenal.
Wenger is over.
So are some of the players. Mesut Ozil was disgraceful. Zero interest in running, zero interest in helping out, zero interest in being an example to his team. Sell him, he epitomised all that is wrong with Arsene Wenger.
We need a clear out of some of the others too. Shift on Kieran Gibbs, how the hell a disgrace of a bottle job like him ended up with the armband is beyond me. It’s shambolic. Shift the hangers on like Priromac, Colbert and Peyton.
Chamberlain threw a paddy when he went to close down Vidal. It looked like the frustration might have stemmed from Ozil not doing his job or the team not pressing. I don’t care what it was, it was 2 weeks wages for me. You NEVER stop working for the team. Unbelievable.
Our keepers need a refresh. Ospina and Cech aren’t good enough. Don’t even think about bringing our Roma loanee back to the club, he’s done.
We need a pressing philosophy and a group of players who are programmed to do it for 90 minutes. We need to have tactical fluidity built into the DNA. We need to have a plan for every single game and to lean in hard to the infrastructure we have in place at the club and replace the bits that don’t work, like the scouting group.
We also need to ship out the members of the board who have overseen stale football for young, fresh, football smart bodies. People that can help the club, not feed off it. It’s not acceptable to keep the old guard in if they’re offering no value whilst taking huge salaries to be patsies. It’s not on.
Finally, we all need to take a deep breath and look to the future. It’s going to be incredibly positive. What’s going on is a minor blip that can be fixed with some smart hiring policy and a well thought out succession strategy that is put into place with immediate effect.
Let Wenger have his swan song. Then say goodbye. Don’t put him upstairs unless it’s as an ambassador.
Arsenal need a new start. Let’s hope Wenger shows true love for the club, and does the right thing by not renewing.
Next up, Sutton. Before then, listen to the damn podcast.