Arsenal 2 Bayern Munich 0
Last time Pep Guardiola and Bayern Munich came to the Emirates we took part in a spectacular card display and started off like a runaway train, until a missed Mesut Ozil penalty and a Wojcech Szczesny red card derailed us. Bayern ran out 2–0 winners and we our Champions League hopes for the season all but died.
This time couldn’t be more different.
I was running late. Roadworks on the North Circular meant my Sat Nav forced me through North West London to try and meet Edd. He was faring much better having left work early and duly rang me at 6.30 to let me know he was already at Bounds Green and so off to the pub. As I wound my way through Acton and Neasden I realised I was probably going to miss the card display and expected to meet Edd up in the seats. Luckily for me, he waited at the pub and we met at Bounds Green and headed to the stadium. We missed the first 4 minutes, much to the fake tuts of the couple of the end of our row, and took our seats. Upon which we found our souvenir plastic bags — since they were empty we figured someone had stolen our flags / cards, before discovering at half time that it was the bag itself which was used for the display.
We noticed their wasn’t the atmosphere the previous game with Bayern had created. And we soon realised this was because Arsenal were playing a different game — sitting back, allowing Bayern the ball and looking to hit Walcott and Alexis on the counter. Bayern were good, obviously, but they didn’t seem that threatening to be honest. Cech made a couple of very good saves but around half an hour in our urgency picked up a little, the efforts to hit on the counter became more determined, before morphing into Arsenal pressure.
Edd compared it to the Bruce Lee film Game of Death, where Lee picks his moment — “now” — and I said we needed to try and make this spell count. We nearly did, a Walcott header which Neuer saved superbly, before Rambo missed what looked like an opne goal on the rebound. At half time over pizza, nuggets and Bovril we realised it wasn’t — 2 defenders were on the line to cover, Ramsey had to aim for the far corner.
The second half was identical. They pinged it about nicely, created a couple of decent chances and we waited. Rambo pulled a hamstring. We thought the Ox was a blessing and a curse — more pace, but his defensive mistakes could be costly. Edd was worried we wouldn’t pick it up this half and that if we didn’t we’d have bottled it, settling for a draw.
A Coquelin screamer was inches wide of the top corner, and that seemed to be the signal to up the pressure once more. Giroud came on to try a different type of threat. Santi stuck a free kick “in the mixer”, Neuer was nowhere — I think the defence hadn’t worked out what to do about Giroud yet — and Oli was on hand to bundle it home by hook or by crook. Cue pandamonium in the stands. The atmosphere which had been building along with our pressure, exploded and we desperately urged the boys to keep it together.
In injury time Hector broke and powered into the area. Somehow Neuer kept out Mesut’s volley, and the Ox managed to miss the rebound by putting it over. We all had our head in our hands before we noticed Mesut running to the touchline. We’ve done it, we’ve beaten Bayern, 1–0, nice one! wait, he’s knee sliding, that’s a bit over the top for celebrating a win….. oh wait, shit, it was a goal, 2–0. 2 fucking 0.
Pretty much as many people stayed til the end as I can remember (some obviously had better places to be as usual) and cheered the boys on their lap of honour.
Epic night, one of the best in my 3 and a half years as a season ticket holder. On to Everton.