Typical Arsenal isn't it? backs against the wall, all and sundry writing us off against the form team of European football (probably) and we rise to the occasion and stuff Bayern right in their Munich.
I hold my hands up, I was one of those who wouldn't have minded a courteous exit and then full focus on the Premier League but after a game like last night I fully deserve an old fashioned slap across my chops.
As expected Bayern Munich had most of the ball and they truly are exceptional in possession, we tried to press them but they popped the ball around us and started finding gaps in our defence. Arsène rightly intervened and switched our approach, making us more compact and hit them on the break.
I need to watch it again to work out exactly when this happened but about half way through the half until half time we cut Bayern in ribbons on the break with great passing between the lines from Cazorla and the speed of Alexis and Walcott. We really had the chance to Manchester United them the way we did the red devils only a few weeks ago but a combination of Manuel Neuer and powder puff Theo Walcott finishing meant we could not get the needed goals. That Theo header? Not his strength but you gotta be putting that away fella, hopefully some work on the training ground and a few Ian Wright videos (do they still do videos?) and he will get there.
While Theo really ought to have scored we have to credit Neuer with a world class save.
Bayern created a few half chances before we started to click in the final third but Petr Cech was equal to everything thrown his way. Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker were exceptional in the way they completely neutralised the most inform striker in world football today, Robert Lewandowski.
Douglas Costa was a right handful down the Bayern left and his speed and skill gave Hector Bellerin more to do in 90 minutes than he has had to do defensively all season so far. But young Hector would have the final say.
Theo Walcott had another probing, stretching display and he worked hard off the ball but he really needs to improve his shooting rather than his finishing. He worked himself into several good positions last night but he is trying to side foot shots from too far out it seems. I would like to see him trying to whip a few shots towards the far corner rather than the standard side footed effort.
Giroud came onto the pitch for Theo in the second half as is the way these days and as @Poznaninmypants said on a previous Arsenal Vision Podcast, they seem to be the perfect strike partnership just not at the same time. Theo tires out opponents for Giroud to battle with and the same vice versa.
I thought Giroud made a big difference when he came on and as Arsène said, he allowed us to play up to him and play in the Bayern half of the pitch. This piece of play was just joyous. (thanks to
Neuer had saved Bayern in the first half but was at fault for our opener. The German came flying out of his goal to get to a Cazorla free kick and had lost flight of the ball as Koscielny challenged for it and Giroud came in around the back to get some sort of contact to put it into the net. I still cannot tell whether it was his head, chest or hand that deflected it in. Who cares. 1-0.
Bayern pushed on to get back into the game but in stoppage time a pass inside their own half was remarkably intercepted by the flying Hector Bellerin, the Spaniard channeled his inner winger and scooted around the second man as he burst into the box, his cross found Özil at the back post who side footed against the diving palms of the keeper before Oxlade-Chamberlain kicked over the bar from 3 yards out (what a miss by the way) but for once the 5th official had made a positive contribution to the game and awarded the goal correctly as it fractionally crossed the line. Credit where it is due Mr 5th Official.
2-0 and a famous win rivaling the Barcelona result of 2011 at the Emirates.
More than anything else I hope this result gives the players a huge boost in confidence for the Premier League campaign. We are in great form, in fact we are the form team of 2015 and we have a good run of fixtures. It is a great chance to go on a winning run.
The one negative of the night and it is quite a downer, is the injury to Aaron Ramsey. It looks to be a bad hamstring so he could be out for quite a few weeks. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has needed a run of games to rid him of the rust he has shown on occasions, maybe this is his chance to do just that.
Arsenal 3 Manchester United 0
Watford 0 Arsenal 3
Arsenal 2 Bayern Munich 0
I must say, this is pretty enjoyable. Podcast tomorrow.