Last night Bayern beat Arsenal comfortably at The Emirates in the first leg of the draw. Bayern haven’t conceded any goals from open play in 2013, lie on top of the Bundesliga easily, and have set countless records in Germany this season.
Arsenal, on the other hand, have been poor, out of every cup in England, with only the prestigious Champions League left. Realistically, Arsenal were never going to win the Champions League this year, especially after drawing world-beaters Bayern. But this 3-1 deficit is going to be almost impossible to overturn in Germany in three weeks time.
Recently, Michael Mancienne, the teenage English defender who currently plays for Hamburg, and who used to play for Chelsea, talked about Bayern. He said they were ‘too good for the Bundesliga’ and that they had very few weaknesses. He said, their only weakness is that Ribery and Robben do not track back, in fact in the first half Mandzukic had to track back for Ribery.
Now, Arsenal are simply not good enough to walk out every three days and play their game, and win. The quality of players since the Invincibles has dropped, and therefore, Arsenal must set about winning games differently.
Now, Arsenal must set out to play their game, but also stop the other team from playing. Ferguson, Mourinho, all the top managers have adapted and even ‘parking the bus’ worked for Mourinho against Barca for Inter. Wenger, however, has not adapted to stopping the other team playing.
Firstly, Bayern’s main strength is Ribery and Muller (Robben) on the wings. Wenger played Wilshere, Cazorla, Ramsey and Arteta in a 3-man midfield. This meant that one player would be supposedly playing on the right wing, and when Podolski came off, on the left. But none of them naturally play there, and therefore were reluctant to set up camp on the left hand side.
Bayern used this. Their out ball every single team was over to the left hand side, even when Podolski was on (as he doesn’t track back). Ribery played countless curled balls to an overlapping Lahm, and then to Robben, and this is how their third came about. Wenger should’ve seen this strength, or rather weakness, and adressed it. Chamberlain would’ve addressed this, he loves his tracking back.
Secondly, Kroos has been great this season, and has scored a few screamers. Wenger knows Lahm has a good cross on him, and knows Kroos has a wallop of a right foot. Therefore, he must put a man on Kroos on the edge of the box for every cross that comes in. This is how the first goal came about.
The motto is, Arsenal are no longer good enough to play their game alone, and win. They did not stop their opponents play, and were punished for being naive vs Bayern. Wenger needs to adapt like Ferguson, or be replaced. Football and Arsenal’s quality of players have moved on, Wenger’s tactics need to, also.