It wasn’t surprising that Arsenal went down as the beaten team in a home match, despite their record at the Emirates stadium in Champions League matches. A team that only has Jack Wilshere to look at for some sort of creativity for most of the match, and a stubborn and somewhat blind to change manager like Arsene Wenger on the sidelines, can’t expect to get very far.
No longer a genius; no longer a professor. Wenger was never a master tactician or one who read the match very well. He relied on smart players to do it for him, but when you suck the well dry of talent without bringing in serious player to replace those you had to sell, thinking of yourself as a big club, and asking for a huge price at the gates from your fans doesn’t turn you into one.
Wenger used a weird tactic against Bayern Munich, almost a frightened one. Without Olivier Giroud, without wings. I don’t remember a match this season Arsenal managed to win when Aaron Ramsey played as the man on the left flank. Instead of having Giroud, who has formed a very nice bond with Theo Walcott, he left his small English forward to try and play between Van Buyten and Dante instead of trying to work between the centre back and full back, where he’s much more useful.
The presence of Javi Martinez changed everything for Arsenal, as if they weren’t ready for the Spanish DM. Mikel Arteta was forced to try and build Arsenal attacks on his own, while Wilshere and Santi Cazorla were lost behind the Bayern midfield. With no help for an entire half, Arsenal barely made it out of their own are for the first 45 minutes.
Their only goal? A corner that shouldn’t have been allowed. Arsenal had another chance a bit later, but really didn’t deserve anything more from this match, that signaled yet another sign how far Wenger’s vision has taken this club. From undefeated champions in 2004 and a Champions League final in 2006 to a club that might not make it into the UCL for the first time in over a decade, and simply looks in a different class, a lower one, when facing a team like Bayern Munich, or the big boys in the Premier League.
It doesn’t really matter now if it’s the board that doesn’t want Arsene Wenger to spend or it’s his own ego that isn’t allowing him to participate in the game everyone is, which is attempting to buy the best players available instead of looking for “finds” like Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud, which don’t really take Arsenal anywhere. Maybe the board are happy with Wenger and the profits his way of running the club yields. But a football team has to be about more than turning a profit, especially a club with so many fans, that has the potential to be as big as sometimes these fans think it is.
Arsene Wenger has failed, once again. The players? They failed with him, but when you build a side that’s only fifth-sixth best in England, you can’t expect it to reach the Champions League every season, or beat teams in whole different class.