Author Archives: enigma106

Bayern 5-1 Arsenal: Another Capitulation Yet Again in Europe

Team v Bayern Munich

Match ReportMatch HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

At half time, it was actually 1-1. The Gunners went into the break on the ascendancy, getting a deserved equalizer as well as two good chances late in the half that should have punished Bayern. We knew what was expected of us – a committed defensive performance and counter attacking football, as the team selection showed, with Alex Iwobi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain producing some guile and width from the flanks to support Alexis Sanchez. I among other Arsenal fans was hoping for Mesut Ozil to have a good game as well as a strong performance from a well-rested Granit Xhaka.

The opening goal was quite avoidable and Francis Coquelin has to be blamed for allowing Arjen Robben brace himself up on his left foot before executing a sweet curler past a hapless David Ospina. Bayern dominated the game as expected, threading pass after pass and the Gunners looked so weak without the ball but when they sprung on the break, it was too devastating effect. Alexis Sanchez used his pace to evade Javi Martinez and got fouled right on the edge of the area. Ozil’s resulting free kick was tame but Manuel Neuer fluffed his lines and made a poor save but after a couple of ricochets, the ball went wide.

Arsenal got an equalizer when Laurent Koscielny was fouled in the box by Robert Lewandowski. Alexis stepped up and fired a poor penalty that was parried by Neuer but Alexis showed some determination to get a second bite at the cherry, leveling the contest for the Gunners. Granit Xhaka was clean through at the edge of the box after some good work from the Ox but his shot was fired straight at Neuer. Late on, Alexis found Ozil on the edge of the box but his shot was fired an angle and the German goalie was equal to the task.

Level at half time, the result favored Arsenal but the second half began on a very sad note with Koscielny suffering an injury, so he had to be substituted. In came the erratic Gabriel Paulista and just four minutes after Koscielny left the pitch, Arsenal conceded the second goal. Kieran Gibbs was left exposed on the left and a lofted cross was floated into the box. An aerially dominant keeper like Petr Cech would have gone to anticipate the ball and command his area, but in Ospina, you get the opposite. Ospina showed some indecision and stayed on his line as Lewandowski beat Mustafi on the air to head Bayern to the lead.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Gabriel was ball watching as Lewandowski teed up Thiago Alcantara whose one timed drive was drilled past Ospina to make it 3-1. All the good work in the first half was undone. The team offered nothing going forward and Ospina had to be at his best to prevent the game from having a tennis scoreline. However, the much talked-about zonal marking was on the spotlight as the Arsenal defense were in sixes and sevens in trying to clear their lines, leaving an unmarked Thiago on the edge of the area whose shot was deflected via Xhaka into the net. Ox rounded a terrible night at the office by losing the ball in Arsenal’s danger area, which allowed Thomas Mueller to score his first goal in ages.

Bayern 5-1 Arsenal. An exact replica of the mauling the Gunners received in November 2015. After the game, Koscielny said that he didn’t know what went wrong but Wenger answered the captain, stating that the team lost their organisation and looked mentally jaded. He sure has a way with words. Simply put – Arsenal was cow dung and are out of the Champions League for the seventh season in a row.

This just goes to show how weak this team’s mentality is, especially at ‘big games’. It’s more concerning to know the team continues to struggle at away games, especially against big sides and this is quite embarrassing. As expected, there will be meetings and the players would start making some much fuss of how they’d bounce back and get better in the media.

We really have to get things right against Sutton United, since the FA Cup is the only realistic target.

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Bayern Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

Image result for bayern 5 arsenal 1

Arsenal’s last trip to Allianz Arena was horrible

Did you guys see what happened last night?

So we were paired in the same group with Paris St. Germain and they literally ran us ragged in the course of both legs (we still drew both games heh!) but they gave Barcelona a footballing lesson at the Parc des Princes and I don’t see the Catalans coming back from that resounding defeat. Hell, if PSG decides to forfeit the game, they would still win on aggregate. Elsewhere, a profligate Borussia Dortmund lost by a lone goal to Benfica but it’s a deficit that can be overturned in Germany, provided they find their scoring touch again. The German side was uncharacteristically wasteful, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being the waster-in-chief.

The Gunners reward for winning their group is a clash with Bayern Munich, a team they have become all too familiar playing with. The Germans have edged past Arsene Wenger in recent meetings, knocking the Gunners out on two Round of 16 occasions, as well as the 5-1 demolition in the group stages last season. In Arsenal’s five trips to Germany, they have managed one win, one draw and three defeats.

Since Carlo Ancelotti took over from Pep Guardiola, the Bavarians haven’t been commanding in Europe, losing to Atletico Madrid and even minnows, FC Rostov, which earned them a second place finish. They struggled to beat Inglostadt last week but that victory sent them seven points clear of this season’s Bundesliga surprise package, RB Leipzig. Ancelotti will be hoping for his big guns in attack to turn up but in Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller, they have a considerable threat even though both forwards have found it hard to get on the scoring act in recent weeks.

On the injury front, Bayern will be without Jerome Boateng that is still nursing a shoulder problem but they will be boosted with the fact that Franck Ribery has been passed fit to feature for the first team.

Predicted Lineup: Neuer; Alaba, Hummels, Javi Martinez, Lahm (c); Kimmich, Thiago, Vidal; Robben, Lewandowski, Mueller.

Wenger has already confirmed that David Ospina would remain in goal despite the quality of the opposition, stating that the team is where it is because of Ospina. His performance against PSG away was out of the top drawer and he has gone on to put some impressive showings in this season’s Champions League. Granit Xhaka come be in line for a return against German opposition and he will be pretty familiar playing at the Allianz Arena from his Borussia Monchengladbach. It seems like he would start but the manager will be hoping for a better performance from Mesut Ozil. The German has been in shocking in recent weeks and I am hoping he will pick up some form.

Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey are still out injured, while Per Mertesacker and Matt Debuchy aren’t match fit enough for selection. Nacho Monreal returns to the team after getting a breather against Hull. It is believed that Lucas Perez has picked up a knock as news surfaced that he didn’t train with the squad.

Predicted Lineup: Ospina; Bellerin, Koscielny (c), Mustafi, Monreal; Xhaka, Coquelin, Ozil; Iwobi, Sanchez, Walcott

It’s going to be an interesting game and I only hope the Gunners get a positive result.

We have had our fair share of negativity this season.

Sayonara.

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Bold Predictions for the Champions League Round of 16 Fixtures

Champions League trophy, Coupe des clubs Champions Europeeens during the UEFA Champions League final match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid on May 28, 2016 at the Giuseppe Meazza San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)

Yes, it’s been a while since I published a post on this blog and to be honest, I really missed writing about Arsenal and football in general. A whole lot has happened since my last article on the blog and of course, Arsenal just had to Arsenal their way out the Premier League title race, leaving the FA Cup and the Champions League as the only realistic targets in what could prove to be Arsene Wenger’s final hoorah with the club? That’s just me echoing what Ian Wright said. Somehow, everybody seems to know a lot about the manager and his future these days.

Enough about that, let’s move to the article of the day! Champions League football is back again as we neutrals brace ourselves up for some wonderful football from Europe’s 16 best clubs. The group stages saw some shocks and surprises, especially with some ‘big’ clubs finishing in second place but the draws were made and we know what to expect in the next two days.

Without further ado, here are Gooner Daily’s bold predictions for the Champions League Round of 16 fixtures.

Tuesday’s Fixtures

Paris St. Germain vs Barcelona (Parc des Princes)

PSG’s reward for failing to win their group was a clash against Barcelona and like Arsenal, I’m sure they’d get pissed off with the prospects of playing such a team with Barcelona’s caliber. PSG is one of the strongest teams in Europe and their striker has one of the most enviable goal scoring records in the last. Both teams come into the game with good form as well as good football on display, so I i will not be surprised if this match ends in a draw

Prediction: PSG 2-2 Barcelona

SL Benfica vs Borussia Dortmund (Estadio da Luz)

Benfica is running away with the Portuguese Super Liga with just two losses in 21 league but they are facing a fearless Dortmund side that have been worth their weight in gold in the Champions League this season. Dortmund hasn’t been in good form in the Bundesliga though, with just two wins in their last seven, dropping them to fourth place on the log and they would still be gnashing their teeth following a rather surprising loss to Darmstadt 98 last weekend.

Kostantinou Mitroglou and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would be looking to lead the lines fo rtheir respective clubs, but I feel both teams have enough in the tank to edge out each other to a stalemate.

Prediction: Benfica 2-2 Dortmund

Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs Atletico Madrid (Bay Arena)

Bayer Leverkusen’s form has been indifferent this season and they find themselves languishing in ninth place, which is a far cry form a team that are perennial qualifiers to the Champions League. Atletico Madrid, on the other hand, will be hopeful to better their current record in the competition, which stands at two final appearances in the last three seasons.

Antoine Griezmann has been the subject to speculation of a big money move to England next summer but that news will continue to generate momentum as the campaign progresses but Diego Simeone’s first task is to ensure his lads qualify from the two-legged affair with some German machines.

Prediction: Leverkusen 0-1 Atletico

Manchester City vs AS Monaco (Etihad Stadium)

Manchester City has gone through some rough patches this season with Pep Guardiola feeling the heat of becoming a Premier League manager. With five league defeats this season, including the 4-0 mauling in the hands of Everton, their title challenge is fading but in Europe, they have a different challenge in the form of AS Monaco. The club from the Principality is currently leading Ligue 1 and in their captain, Radamel Falcao, they have a player reborn with 22 goals this season (16 in Ligue 1). Man City can take some solace in the fact that Falcao struggled in England but they will also have to contend with the threat of the wonderkid, Kylian Mbappe, fresh from a hat-trick against Metz last week.

The goals have been distributed evenly for City but with Sergio Aguero regaining his place following an unfortunate injury for new hotshot, Gabriel Jesus, the Argentine forward would want to prove himself to his boss by banging a couple past the French outfit.

Prediction: Man City 2-1 Monaco

Wednesday’s Fixtures

Real Madrid vs Napoli (Estadio Santiago Bernabeu)

Real Madrid are on the ascendancy in La Liga, battling hard with their arch rivals, Barcelona, at the top of the La Liga table but they have to be weary of Napoli that are currently third in Serie A. Gonzalo Higuain’s departure caused a huge void in attack and it seemed to have been curtailed with the arrival of Arkadiusz Milik, but his long term injury affect the Italian club, even though Dries Martens and club captain, Marek Hamsik, have been coming up with the goods with 31 goals between them. Both players scored hat-tricks in the recent 7-1 demolition of Bologna but they will have to be mindful of the fact that Real Madrid houses the world’s best player and one of the finest attackers of his generation, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo scored only two goals in the group stages and Madrid ended up with a second placed finish, but they would be happy to have been paired with Napoli. The Italians are good on their day, but the class and quality of Los Merengues will shine through on the night

Prediction: Madrid 3-1 Napoli

Sevilla CF vs Leicester City (Estadio Sanchez Ramon Pizjuan)

Leicester City comes into this game in the worst of forms and I can’t see anything more than a resounding Sevilla home victory. In their last seven Premier League games, Claudio Ranieri’s side has drawn one and lost six consecutive games, and to add to their woes, Leicester has failed to score a league goal in 2017. Last season, Jamie Vardy scored 24 and Riyad Mahrez scored 17 as the Foxes upset all odds to win their maiden League title. Their defense of the crown has been shambolic, and even though they managed to hold unto Vardy and Mahrez last summer, both players have scored only eight goals in the league (Vardy five, Mahrez three).

Sevilla’s Wissam Ben Yadder and Luciano Vietto have been banging in the goals regularly and in former Gunner, Samir Nasri, they have a potent creative force tha has managed to get on the scoring act himself.

Prediction: Sevilla 3-0 Leicester

FC Porto vs Juventus (Estadio Dragao)

FC Porto have been chasing SL Benfica in their league and are currently on a five game winning streak but they are set to lock horns with the undisputed kings of Italian football, Juventus. The Old Lady paid over the top to secure the services of striking sensation, Gonzalo Higuain, from Napoli and he has fired 21 goals for his new team, with three coming in the Champions League.

Juventus remain one of the unbeaten sides in the competition and I expect this to remain when they take on Porto.

Prediction: Porto 1-2 Juventus

Bayern Munich vs Arsenal (Allianz Arena)

As an Arsenal fan, it has become quite frustrating being paired against Bayern Munich. In the last six games with the Bavarians, Arsenal has always finished second best and that 5-1 drubbing in the Gunners last’ meeting in Bavaria. The Gunners will also have to bear in mind that Bayern creates the most chances (14) almost every game week with the likes of Thiago Alcantara, Thomas Mueller and co.

The Gunners are going through a shaky spell at the moment with one win in three but this would be one hell of a challenge for the Gunners to come out from this game with anything. Maybe the odd away goal.

Prediction: Bayern 2-1 Arsenal.

 

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