If you were unable to find a way to follow the match at work yesterday, you may not know this, but Arsenal beat Bayern Munich 2-0. As with most wins, there were a lot of good things to applaud. Unfortunately, this win was tinged with one particularly depressing moment. So without further ado, lets take a look at The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from the massive win over the German champions.
- See: this.
- Arsenal's back four of Héctor Bellerín, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, and Nacho Monreal. Bayern came into the fixture having scored in every competitive match since May 9th of this season. It took a herculean effort from Arsenal's backline to break that streak. Once again, Per showed that his lack of pace is more of an imaginary impediment than an actual one. Koscielny was very good overall and managed to recover admirably on the two occasions Robert Lewandowski initially got the best of him. Monreal once again provided a steady performance and kept Thomas Müller on the periphery. He also played a vital one-two with Alexis Sanchez that led to the early Mesut Özil chance and played the cross that Theo Walcott would have scored on, if not for a fantastic reflex save from Manuel Neuer. Bellerín was beaten, badly, it must be said, on a couple of occasions by Douglas Costa in the first half. However, unlike last season against Borussia Dortmund, the young Spaniard never lost his confidence. He performed much better in the second half and created the second goal through sheer determination, pace, and stamina. Considering the fact progression to the knockout rounds may involve goal difference, that goal could play a huge role in Arsenal moving forward in the Champions League.
- Mesut Özil. We mentioned in the Manchester United issue of this series that Özil's performances in big matches have often been questioned. Here again, the German dispelled those critiques with a fine performance and a goal. It was sweet redemption for Özil considering the nadir of his time with the Gunners was in this fixture two seasons ago when he was forced to play left wingback after the dismissal of Wojciech Szczęsny.
- The Theo Walcott/Olivier Giroud Tag Team Combo. While Theo did not score or assist any goals yesterday, he was key to our dangerous counters in the first half and was unlucky to be kept off the scoresheet. Instead of pouting about his demotion, Giroud has clearly used it as inspiration to work harder and once again got a goal yesterday. It is clear that for the first time in a long time, Arsenal has at least two viable center forwards.
- Alexis Sanchez's square passes/dribbles deep in his own half. Please stop doing that, Alexis. My heart cannot handle it when you do that.
- Manuel Neuer's error on Arsenal's first goal. Thanks for that!
- Aaron Ramsey's hamstring injury. What a bummer that was. Have to imagine the Welshman will be out a few weeks. Considering the injury issues Arsenal already have, the squad is extremely thin going forward.
- Arsenal's Capital One Cup lineup vs. Sheffield Wednesday. You have to imagine Arsene will play a full-strength squad versus Everton at the weekend which means a bunch of players will be rested next week in the league cup. Get ready for the return of Flamteta, Mathieu Debuchy, and Joel Campbell! On the bright side, it seems quite likely we will see the senior debut of Alex Iwobi.