Tag Archives: FC Bayern Munich

Munich defeat, Referees, Mesut Ozil, Silver Lining, Yaya Sanogo, Coefficients

Munich Defeat

Ok, we lost. 2-0 at home. On the face of it, we should be disappointed. Out of the Champions League 1st knock out stages once again before the second leg has been played. However, where as last year and against AC Milan, we had every right to be annoyed and ashamed, this morning Arsenal fans can hold their heads up high.

Before we went down to 10 men, we showed how good we were, matching Bayern Munich all over the pitch. This Bayern Munich side who are favourites for the Champions League. Who beat Barcelona 7-0 last year. Had Mesut Ozil (more on this later) scored his penalty, had the referee (more on this later) been more consistent, it might have been a different result. Unfortunately, that’s football.

Down to 10 men against a world class side is always going to be an uphill struggle. And we did ourselves proud. You only have to look at ‘distance covered’ by all players to see everyone gave 100%.

Lazy Ozil?

We can hold our head’s up high, and go into our next 3 games confident that we are not just one of the best teams in England, but one of the best in Europe. Hopefully this defeat leads to a similar negative spiral as we had last year (hi AVB!)


Before I start my rant, Sczcesny was right to be sent off. He bought down his opponent denying him a goal scoring chance. For those saying the rule is wrong, is unfair, if you changed it, you would simply see an increase in keepers run out, charging into the man, knowing that the worst that can happen is giving away a penalty. With the rule as it is, it means that keepers at least have to be controlled and make a valid attempt at getting the ball.

The issue with the referee was inconsistency. Last night (and the Manchester City game) perhaps showed that, despite claims otherwise, European referees are no better than their Premier League counterparts. Why was Boateng not sent for giving away the penalty? He denied a goal scoring opportunity. He then later committed a couple more tackles worthy of a yellow card. Dante seemed untouchable, committing fouls at will, yet no booking. Lets look at some stats:

Arsenal: 8 fouls, 2 yellow cards, 1 red card
Bayern Munich: 16 fouls, 2 yellow cards

To quote Manuel Pellegrini, “The referee decided the game. He was on Barcelona’s Munich’s side from the beginning until the end. He was not impartial”.

Mesut Ozil

Firstly the criticism. What was that penalty about? For the second time this season, he has taken a lazy penalty and missed. It is now the 3rd penalty in a row he has missed. I do not know his overall record, but 3 in a row is enough for me. Surely we take penalties in training? Surely we can see who the best penalty taker is? Surely that person should be on penalties? The only rational thinking is Ozil scores everyone in training, or (and more likely) he has it in his contract that he should be taking penalties. Yes, Arteta & Giroud were not on the pitch, but after yet another miss, it is time for someone else to step up.

On the other side, he has once again got a lot of criticism for his performance, which is once more very unfair. People called him ‘lazy’ yet he covered the 3rd most amount of ground in the side. His season statistics show he has been one of the best midfielder’s in the Premier League this season. In my opinion, he could do with a bit of a rest.

With Sunderland at home this weekend, the time for a rest is now. With Rosicky, Cazorla, Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain & Wilshere all fit and raring to go, lets give Ozil a rest. I would line up:

Flamini Wilshere
Ox Cazorla Podolski

With our next game against Stoke 9 days off, it will give Ozil a chance to re-charge his batteries.

Silver Lining

Losing could be good. There could be a silver lining. As I explained yesterday, I would have thrown the Champions League and chucked in the kids from day one. Now we have lost 2-0, we should seriously consider putting out a ‘b’ team in Germany – yes, if you are going, I feel for you, maybe the club should refund all tickets, so you at least get your ticket for free. We have a chance of winning the FA Cup & League. Let’s put our eggs into those baskets and concentrate on those competitions.

Looking at the upcoming fixture’s list, it looks a lot lighter without Champions League football – especially if you ‘remove’ the Munich game from the minds of the 1st team:

Arsenal v Sunderland Sat 22 Feb
Stoke v Arsenal Sat 1 Mar
Arsenal v Everton Sat 8 Mar
Arsenal P-P Swansea
Tottenham v Arsenal Sun 16 Mar
Chelsea v Arsenal Sat 22 Mar
Arsenal v Man City Sat 29 Mar
Everton v Arsenal Sat 5 Apr
Arsenal v West Ham Sat 12 Apr
Hull v Arsenal Sat 19 Apr
Arsenal v Newcastle Sat 26 Apr
Arsenal v West Brom Sat 3 May
Norwich v Arsenal Sun 11 May

Yes, the Spurs, Chelsea, Man City, Everton run of games is difficult, but we can now face them without having the distraction of mid-week football. With the Swansea game required to be re-arranged (plus if we beat Everton, West Ham will be arranged), we will only have 2 mid week games between now and the end of the season. Tiredness should not become an excuse. Losing last night means our focus can fully shift to domestic competitions.

Yaya Sanogo

Another solid performance in the fledging career of Sanogo. Yes, he might not have scored (better players have taken longer to score their first goal), but he once more did not look out of place playing up against International class players. Would I play him against Sunderland? No. If Giroud’s head is back in the game, he should be straight back in. But in Sanogo, we have a talented player who’s style could be a useful change coming off the bench. Next season, if we buy a striker, I will be more than happy with the enw striker as first choice, Giroud as second, and Sanogo as 3rd. And with his natural ability, he would be pushing Giroud hard.


For those worried that yet another 1st knock out round defeat is going to dame our coefficient rankings, do not worry, it will not, we will still be seeded for next year. To be top 8, you need, on average, 100,000 coefficient point’s. You usually accrue around 20,000 if you make the knock out stages.

The current ‘live’ update of points puts Arsenal in 6th place. With Manchester United unlikely to qualify, that puts us in 5th. The winners of the competition usually get 35,000. That means only sides who are within 15,000 points of us can finish above us.Champions League

Only Porto (knocked out), AC Milan (9th in Serie A), Valencia (not in CL) and Atletico Madrid are within 15,000 points. So realistically, only Madrid can beat us, and they need to win the thing to do so – which is unlikely. Yes, our place could be under pressure in the future with the rise of Dortmund, PSG and Manchester City, but they are at least another season from being near us, and with Manchester United likely to drop out, our place in the top 8 will remain secure, as long as we keep making the knock out stages.

Out of the Champions League, but in with a chance of 2 domestic honours. Back the team. Up the Arsenal.



Liverpool is in the past, time to move on to Bayern Munich

One of the best things about football at this time of year is how games come at you thick and fast (unless you are a Spurs fan). No sooner have you recovered from one game, you have to start getting yourself up for the next. And for Arsenal this year, it is not just that games have come thick and fast, but they have been big games too.

Liverpool, Manchester United, Liverpool and Bayern Munich. In the space of just 11 days. Whilst Liverpool fans will spend this week still cryarsing over a defeat which was never their fault, or attentions are fully on the next game. The Champions League tie against Munich.

Personally, I have quite negative thoughts about this upcoming game. Not due to side itself, but just towards my current feelings towards Arsenal and the Champions League.

Firstly, I am one of the many who have opted out of the game. I did this with a heavy heart. I love The Arsenal and would walk over hot coals to see then play. But with a 3% ticket rise already for next season, going to Bayern Munich at home would have added £100 to my season ticket price next season. Whilst that is affordable, I had to look towards the future.

Were we to beat Liverpool (we did) and then draw an FA Cup quarter final home tie (we did), my season ticket would then go up an additional £50 (approx). That takes my ticket to £150 more than this season. And that what if we beat Bayern Munich? And then beat whoever we draw next? That would mean an additional £300 on top of this seasons price – and also makes the 3% even more unjustified.

I am unable to justify a potential £300 increase so have had to make sacrifices. And that sacrifice is Munich. Will I be going to Everton? Yes. I prefer the FA Cup (more on my issues with the Champions League later). I am just more comfortable missing 1 game – such as Munich – to enable myself to go to further games later in the season. Especially if we get a sexy tie again; an away European trip will be on the cards. I wish I was there, but sadly ticket prices means this fan can’t go.

I am not a massive fan of the Champions League anyway. I find the group games often boring, predictable and laborious. For the group stages, you turn up, on a cold winter night, to watch us beat some Eastern European side 2-0, in a boring game where the result is not in doubt and Arsenal are just going through phases. It is not the excitement that TV makes it out to be.

The knock out stages do add a bit more excitement. Obviously going away is a different kettle of fish. But at home, they have also become stale. The same names, playing each other, knocking each other out. Where as 15 years ago, it was exciting playing Barcelona (albeit at Wembley), it has now become predictable. We would have now played Bayern Munich twice in 2 years. And if we were to get through, there is a high chance we could face Manchester City, Chelsea or Manchester United. Exciting.

The Champions League is about money. Not success. It is geared towards TV companies getting enough high profile games that they’ll pay through the nose to be the preferred broadcaster. This money then filters through to the clubs.

Arsenal would have already earnt around £30-£40m from the Champions League. Unless we win it, that figure will not rise dramatically. I am of the opinion that we should ‘take the money and run.’ We have more chance of winning the Premier League and FA Cup. Let’s go and put out the kids in both ties against Munich, get knocked out, but leave the first teamers fresh the domestic battles.

With games coming thick and fast, you need to shuffle your squad. You need to prioritise. For me, the Champions League is the least important this season. Let’s throw the game. Stick out the youth team, say to UEFA “thanks for the money, but we’re out” and concentrate on winning the double – which is most certainly on.

I am sure when we beat Munich 3-0 at home, my opinion will change. I will regret not going. Until then, I will be happy enough that we have something to look forward to this week, whilst fans of other clubs are still harping on about the weekend’s games (or whenever Spurs last played).

Up The Arsenal.


Are big clubs using MLS to get around FFP?

Originally posted on YOUAREMYARSENAL.

It may seem odd to report on Financial Fair Play on an Arsenal blog without a focus or direct link to the club. But news this past weekend caused me and others to take notice and well, on first blush it presents the possibility of a worrying trend to circumvent FFP.

Reports have come out this past weekend saying that Bayern Munich are looking to support an MLS side at some time in the near future. This follows the news that Manchester City have formed New York City Football Club, who will enter the MLS in 2015.

A lot of people, especially in the states, will be delighted with these two potential link ups, as it supposedly highlights the growing popularity of the MLS and the possibility that more link up’s with some of Europe’s elite clubs will occur. These link-ups will see the European sides hopefully help the MLS sides financially, assist in improving the coaching and development of youth players, and lead to potential loan deals of youngsters from Europe to America. All of this having the knock on effect of increasing the level of quality on show. Perhaps most importantly, it will also see an increase of European sides playing in America against their ‘partner club.’

Whilst on paper, this looks all well and good – Manchester City for example have invested $100m into the league to ‘buy’ into their MLS franchise – I see it as a worrying danger to the future of European football, as clubs can potentially use the MLS clubs to circumnavigate the Financial Fair Play rules.

They way I see it working is as follows: Manchester City (for example) want to buy a player, lets call him Lionel Messi. Now Manchester City’s owners have the money to buy Messi, however, a £100 million transfer fee will put them in breach of UEFA’s regulation’s. So rather than buy him themselves, they buy him through their MLS franchise, who then immediately loan him to the European side for the length of his contract.

Manchester City then get a player of real quality, but at no cost, allowing them to balance the books when it comes to FFP.

I’ve provided an extreme example. Yes, MLS has stringent player contract and payment models but you get the point. A player of quality could be had and loaned to the bigger club without it violating any rules. Conversely, in England were the size of squads are being restricted, the MLS seems a great place for a club with unlimited fund to buy loads of talented young players and offload them without the club taking any hit.

The broader problem is that this has potential to expand to leagues outside the MLS, it can happen with any league throughout the world, outside of Europe. Whether it is a link up with an American side, an Asian side, an Australian side or a South American side. They would all act as the middle man, absorbing the cost of the transfer into their accounts – which is then written off by their owners – and allowing the European side to stay with UEFA FFP rules.

It’s not all too dissimilar to what already happens throughout the business world. For example, Starbucks use second tier companies based in tax havens to ‘buy beans’ to ensure their UK business does not make a profit, therefore avoiding UK Corporation tax. This method could work in a very similar method, with football clubs using sides outside of Europe to write off expensive transfer’s.

The MLS has very strict financial rules with regards to wages, however, these will also be circumnavigated as the European club will take the wage. I am also sure the MLS will turn a blind eye to being accomplices to this loophole if it ensures the League see’s a bit of the oil money currently in Europe. $100 million a franchise buys a lot of friends.

How these link up’s between European and MLS sides actually works will still be a case of ‘wait and see’ but the speculation of the scenario above, that European clubs will use them as an FFP avoidance scheme has real potential and should be a worrying sign. But we know it won’t – so long as everyone gets their palm greased.

This article was originally written and published by Keenos for our American friends YOUAREMYARSENAL.