Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Back Despite a Lack of Popular Demand...

the Zombie Blog Plods On...

Glorious Failure. Arsenal have made an art of it in the last two seasons of the Champions League. Last year they were out after that atrocity at the San Siro, where they lost 4-0 to an ordinary enough AC Milan team.

Then they resurrected the tie with a storming first half showing at the Emirates, building a three goal lead. Milan held on grimly; Arsenal were able to exit with their heads held high.

Bayern came to the Emirates and plundered a 3-1 advantage this time round; again, Arsenal launched an unlikely comeback in the return leg to make a tie of it.

Giroud's early goal made Bayern nervous and unsure of how to approach the rest of the game. In truth, they were largely untroubled for the remainder by an Arsenal side who seemed- belatedly- to have taken a more measured approach, perhaps in appreciation of the fact that an open game might have led to a massacre.

The opener did not lead to a storming fight back but there was always a glimmer of hope and it became even more than that when Koscielny headed in with a few minutes to go. Another Arsenal goal and they would go through!

But the Gunners did not muster any pressure at all in the closing stages and Bayern held on.

Glorious Failure again and it reinforces the sense that this Arsenal team perform best when the pressure is off. They don't deserve all that much credit for giving themselves an absolute mountain to climb in each of the last two seasons with criminal first leg showings.

There was too much talk of Bayern as the uncrowned kings of Europe after a first leg in which Arsenal gifted them goals and barely mounted much of a response. They will get a proper test starting tonight against Juventus in what is shaping up to be the most intriguing Champions League knock out phases in years.

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