The Armchair Gooner

An Arsenal blog bringing you news, opinion and humour on a daily basis. Well, I'll try at the very least…

Ozil Out Of NLD, Arsenal Exit Champions League And The Players Rated.

The scene was set (Photo borrowed from @LittleDutchVA)

Morning, folks.

A brave defeat (over two legs). A triumphant exit. A magnificent failure. Those are some of the terms I’m sure people will use to describe Arsenal’s performance and, alas, departure from the Champions League. There can be absolutely no shame attached to falling out of the competition (again) at the knock-out stages against Europe’s elite, but I can’t help but ponder the “what ifs” in retrospect. What if Mesut had buried that penalty. What if we had 11 v 11 for the entirety of both games.

Truthfully, last night was nothing more than a formality. We gave it our best shot, but faced with unsurmountable odds we succumbed to the inevitable. Bayern controlled the game for long periods, as you would expect, but on occasion we ruffled a few feathers and, albeit very briefly, threw the odd cat amongst their pigeons.

As with Saturday’s game at Everton, I thought I’d briefly discuss a few of the players that stood out and then move on as, frankly, I don’t feel all that devastated that we are no longer in the Champions League.

Lukas Podolski

  • I’m a big fan of the German. His left-foot is like a traction engine and he’s arguably the most instinctive and ruthless finisher at the club. He has more than his fair share of indolent moments – Stoke – but when he wants to play and impress he can be massively effective. Last night’s display and rocket-like finish was one of his better in an Arsenal shirt. He looked up for it.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlian

  • Criminally, I neglected to mention him in my review of Saturday’s cup victory. As was very much the case in that game, against Bayern he was a real threat with his bursting runs. Although deployed centrally alongside Mikel Arteta, he was constantly taking-on and beating some very accomplished players in Bayern’s midfield. Of all the talented youngsters we have, The Ox is arguably the most talented of all.

Lukasz Fabianski

  • It’s fair to say there was a point in Lukasz’s Arsenal career where we all had doubts. Monumental doubts. Prone to lapses in concentration and confidence, he hardly instilled the upmost confidence. However, like many have, he’s come through adversity to display signs of why he was rated so highly in the first place. At times this season he has been absolutely brilliant in goal and look as far removed from the much-malgined figure as it is possible to be. His improvisation to stop Muller’s penalty was nothing short of brilliant. It’ll be shame to see him leave in the summer, but he does deserve to be No1 somewhere.

Arjen Robben

  • Breaking the c**t-o-meter as always. Arguably the most irritating human being I’ve ever had the misfortune to lays eyes upon. Wishing injury on a professional footballer is something I would never condone, but I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t have felt an ounce of sympathy had an Arsenal player lumped him into Row Z. No need to state it, really… Every football fan, including Bayern’s, knows what an abhorrent little diver he is.

Now, folks, it’s time to get to the bad news. Mesut Ozil’s premature departure at half time set the alarm bells ringing. You could almost sense the air of “bloody hell, I know what’s coming next” amongst Gooners. Sure as eggs is eggs, it was confirmed by Arsene after the game that Mesut will be out for a while with hamstring trouble – the duration varies depending on which publication you read. 4-6 weeks is the average estimate.

Arsene said afterwards:

“Mesut Ozil has a hamstring problem. It looks quite serious. For sure he’s out for at least a few weeks”

I’d be shocked and upset if it wasn’t so bloody typical of our luck. Without wishing to go anywhere near  debates about player mismanagement and the much-fabled “red zone”, it does make you wonder whether the extent to which we suffer injuries is coincidence, fate or just mistakes on someone’s part.

As someone with absolutely zero insight into how the Club is run behind closed doors, it would be both speculative and arrogant of me to offer an opinion. All I know is it’s bloody annoying that we seem to lose players at vital moments with such frequency. Ozil will certainly miss the NLD on Sunday, and that will put that extra bit of pressure on the return of Aaron Ramsey. With huge games headed our way in the next few weeks, Mesut’s form, despite what moronic journalists in the Daily Mail would have you believe, was just starting to pick up – it was hardly appalling to begin with.

I haven’t linked to the article I’m referring to on purpose. My conscience won’t allow such a feculent bundle of drivel merchanting to receive a single hit on account of me. I recommend you don’t seek it out. You’ll only get wound up by the insipid blathering of a drooling cretin who possesses the same measure of journalistic integrity I have in my penis.

But, hey – let’s not end things on a downer. There is still much to play for this season. In order to keep things more upbeat, I thought I’d finish with this quote from Manuel Neuer after the game that raised a smile:

“I know Podolski & his left foot. I wasnt thinking of saving it, I was thinking of protecting my face”

That’s all for today, folks. Use the comments below to discuss the game, the result and the stand-out players. Tomorrow I will return at the usual time with more. Until then, and as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Category: Match reviews
  • Colin says:

    It is typical as you say to loose a top player just as another returns. I had been dreaming of the Ramsey/Ozil partnership reuniting for the end of the season. They seemed to had been on the same telepathic wavelength at times, and were certainly the driving force behind our great start to the season. Hopefully, Ozil’s injury won’t be as bad as now feared.

    March 12, 2014 at 11:20 am
    • optimist habila says:

      Sad Ramzy will miss Ozil on his return from injury, at least fr a fee werks before the season ends. The duo were almost the best in midfield in the EPL before Ramzy got sidelined.

      March 13, 2014 at 9:47 pm
  • Rohan says:

    Giroud didn’t have a great game, but i feel like if he had been at his bouncing board best, the Ox could have used him to play off a few one two’s and maybe, just maybe have unlocked the final line of defence, a situation where we struggled, rather than be in a position where he could be brought down every now and again. Also, i feel like you neglected to mention the BFG. He was a rock, winning every aerial duel and stopping attack after attack (dat bicycle). Great performance COYG!

    March 12, 2014 at 11:38 am
  • Dave B says:

    Nothing wrong with your write-up. I admire your prose – many bloggers don’t use the English language correctly and often make puerile spelling and grammatical errors. Keep up the good work.

    March 12, 2014 at 12:44 pm
  • Admir says:

    Robben… I would like to see Pepe sticking his studs in Robben’s face and then Robben receiving a yellow card for diving despite putting his broken teeth under referee’s nose.

    March 12, 2014 at 1:28 pm
  • Botafoguense says:

    Nice piece today mate. Loved the idea of a cat, or more specifically a big ox shaped cat, running amok amongst Bayern’s midfield pidgeons :D Sad to see Özil out but at least we have Santi to fill in (a position that i personally feel he functions better in), and who knows, perhaps Podolski to be reinstated more frequently on the left wing. With the addition of Ramsey alongside Arteta or Flamini we look for once to be prepared for such a notable absense.

    March 12, 2014 at 1:43 pm
  • Joy says:

    No hard feelings for me on our exit at all. I always new we ‘ld give them a run for their money over there in Germany. Now, since we all now know that their Allianz arena is no longer a fortress for them against us, all we need to do, is no let ‘em score goals at our emirates.
    Attentions back to the PL guys!
    Up next are the scums. We are definately unleashing all the aggression on ‘em. Right folks?

    March 12, 2014 at 2:42 pm
  • nijjy says:

    not disappointed as it was expected. I among many strongly suspected he was only going to start his strongest team, and so he did. if he’d started a weak team, got trashed badly, he’d have been criticized. and with wenger, you never say never and i don’t really blame him. i thought we slightly made bayern nervous after poldi’s equaliser and if we had nicked another one around the 80th minute mark, they’d have been very very nervous indeed.

    anyhow, looking forward we have a daunting list of fixtures. many fans have almost already gave up arsenal’s league title chance and handed it to chelsea. i’m not one of those fans. yes, it looks exceedingly difficult now, but if we can beat spuds, everton and either one of chelsea or city, we still stand a chance. i don’t see no reason why we shouldn’t take each game as if it’s a knockout match against bayern munich. after all, last season, we faced a similar situation albeit for a top 4 finish.

    regarding injuries, really frustrating isn’t it? arsenal currently has 10 injuries with varying recovery periods- gibbs, monreal, diaby, kallstrom, ramsey, ozil, sanogo, bendtner, wilshere, walcott. that’s the highest for any team in the league, by contrast, our nearest competitors, liverpool, chelsea and city have a couple or 3-4 injuries. but what’s also significant in arsenal’s injury record is that we’ve been missing key players during key periods. ramsey, wilshere, walcott and now ozil are all game changers when at their best.

    maybe it’s luck or whatever, but we’ve seen very little rotation this season. ramsey’s injury was because of overplaying, while giroud has been an ever presence all season. the reason: i don’t think wenger trusts his squad enough, specially players like poldi and bendtner.

    but not everything is doom and gloom. we have a wonderful chance to win the FA cup. ramsey and kallstrom (yes!) are on their way back. chamberlain is really on song right now. but we really need poldi, cazorla and rosicky to step up again to see us through to the finishing line ahead of the others.

    March 12, 2014 at 4:32 pm
    • fazjac_debra says:

      Good piece on a really good piece except, I agree with Rohan, for leaving the BFG out. Always happy when someone puts words to my feelings.

      March 13, 2014 at 7:50 pm
  • LeBigMac says:

    I know it’s probably too late to get this message across now but I honestly do hope it is seen, because it is an abhorrent use of hate time if ever there was.

    I am a very happy go lucky kind of guy. I read this blog and a couple of others, I reply to this one because it tickles me on occasion and it’s irreverence shows the lighter side of the love for the game.
    I am not racist or sexist, not homophobe or other. I was brought up in a very strict house hold by a father who had worked in the shipyards of Scotland and a mother who loved unconditionally regardless.

    I admit over the years my views to such things have changed. I live in the home counties – Middle England as some call it. I have witnessed bullying at a level that makes ones teeth curl. I have protected friends from strangers, I have protected strangers from friends, in simple truth, I have tried to live my life in a way that I wish to be treated as I treat others yet last nights game really brought home something that made me sad to the very core.

    I am proud of my club and its cosmopolitan attitude. I am proud of inclusion and the (to my knowledge) complete lack of hatred on our old terraces and our new but I am completely appalled at the banner that was shown at the Allianz last night by the cretinous idiots who think that the Gay Gooners are a point of ridicule.

    Thoroughly amazed that this goes almost unnoticed yet utter crap such as the Mail spouting on Mesut Ozil’s (the co target of the ridicule) form and value for money gets centre stage.

    It just goes to show that no matter the story, it can always be tempered/censored by the powers that be.
    Incensed and saddened.

    Maybe you might raise this issue at some point James, because I honestly thought this was the 21st century….

    March 13, 2014 at 1:43 am
    • fazjac_debra says:

      I hope many many people read your post as well. That really was abhorrent and the media passed it by to flog Arsenal, utterly insipid!

      March 13, 2014 at 7:55 pm

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