Ten Thoughts: Bayern Munich 5-1 Arsenal

To quote the great American poet Bizarre: "My DJ's in a coma for letting the record skip....letting the record skip....letting the record skip....."

Yep, I'm at the point where I'm amusing myself with D-12 lyrics because, really, what else is there to do? What's the point of even getting mad about this stuff anymore? I just said on Twitter that I have literally no anger left, and I mean it. Even the most optimistic Gooner had to have given it a 50-50 shot of this happening beforehand, right on down to the manner in which it did.

Late-Stage Wenger's Arsenal has a single epitaph: High-end football, but *predictably* so.

1. I'm going to do all 10 thoughts, but this is the only one that matters...the genesis of everything I'm going to say in the other 9: This is all - ALL - on Arsene.

I have honestly tried to not harp on the subject too much this season because, well, we all know it's the case, and we all know it's not going to change. I half-expect him to sign a two-year extension tomorrow because, really, do you see this board as capable of sourcing a replacement? I sure as shit don't.

Everything from the team selection to the substitutions to the tactics and pre-match preparation were all wrong and/or inadequate. More than anything else, a few comeback wins over mid-table dreck does not and has never indicated this fabled mental strength he loves to go on and on about. Our resistance, such as it was, lasted exactly 11 minutes. Even when we were given a gift for the equalizer (more on that in a second), we fell to pieces at the first inkling of adversity - that being when Laurent Koscielny hobbled off injured in the 47th minute.

By way of contrast, look at what Benfica did yesterday. Keep in mind that this is a club with almost no competition in their domestic league - even Porto and Sporting are desperately out of sorts this season - and who have just sold several key players within the last two transfer windows. They are mostly kids who will in turn be sold in the next few windows (Ederson, Andrija Zivkovic, Victor Lindelof, etc) or cast-offs from other places (Kostas Mitrogolou, Jonas, Raul Jimenez). You would be forgiven for thinking that they could just take their beating, shrug their shoulders and then go back to tonking whatever Pacos de Ferreria is.

But, man, they fought like absolute demons for every second of every minute of that game. As poorly as Dortmund played, they couldn't be faulted in the effort stakes, either. It was a real, proper, blood-and-thunder European tie and to be honest with you, I was wracked with jealousy watching it. Goddamn, imagine an Arsenal team with as much talent as we have fighting even 1/10th as hard as the Eagles did yesterday. We'd fucking rip teams apart...good teams, too.

One other contrast: Barcelona played just about as poorly as we did today, and they're about ready to fire their coach - maybe into the sun, with a rocket. As much as I loathe that club with every fiber of my being, they are doing what any sane, rational club would in that case. Take the game, analyze it, determine that it's not good enough, and take tangible steps towards correcting it...or, hell, at least *trying* to correct it.

Here's the thing, and this the last I'll say of this, I swear. It is absolutely possible to simultaneously believe that Arsene Wenger is a legend of the club, one of the best managers of all time, and that we're lucky to have had him......and ALSO that his time is up, the sport has passed him by, and we have been crying out for a change for at least the last 4-5 years. He's clung on far, far, far too long and I'm sorry that it's gotten to this point.

At this stage, I hope we can somehow win the FA Cup again to send him out on a high note, and then have him ride off into the sunset. He's always been a stubborn man and for the most part, that quality has served us exceptionally well. But, Father Time is undefeated, and this is quickly turning into a 10-8 round.

2. Now, let's talk about the referee for a second. By my reckoning he only got one major decision wrong, but it was a doozy. It wasn't any of the handball decisions that Munich were screaming about - there were three that I remember and each one was unintentional ball-to-hand stuff. No, the one he got hilariously wrong was the penalty he awarded to us. I don't know in what universe that's a foul - it's two players both trying to play the ball at the same time. Munich were absolutely incandescent at the call, and rightfully so. I'd have burst a blood vessel in my brain if that had gone the other way.

That's the frustrating thing. We were given a gift from the heavens to make it 1-1 in Munich in the last 16 of the Champions League. So many times, something like that is the catalyst to go on and even win it from there, or at least give it a right old go.

Us? It's just a brief intermezzo before we went back to our ongoing production of The Comedy of Errors.

3. Oh, one last thing about that. Alexis, mate, we love you but maybe you shouldn't take the penalties anymore. The goal was so Alexis, though. He missed the penalty (it was another utterly dreadful one, too), missed the easy follow-up chance, then belts a seeing-eye goal through about 8 guys + the best goalkeeper on the planet from an impossible angle.

This match was brutal to watch, but that bit was fun.

4. Before we go on, let's take a moment to show some love to David Ospina. What a performance that man put on today - in my eyes, he's literally the only Arsenal player except perhaps Alexis who can even remotely hold their head up high in the aftermath.

He made some unbelievable saves today, and that was with a defense made up of tissue paper and an old, rusty "Keep Out" sign. He was at fault for none of their goals, and did not deserve to have five hung on him.

Whatever your stance in the Cech vs. Ospina debate, at this point whoever plays is the one truly being punished.

5. So, yeah...defending, amirite? Normally you only see that much incompetent flailing in the box on prom night.

Before Koscielny's injury, we were a defensive shitshow barely clinging on in the face of a powerful Bayern attack. After Koscielny's injury, we were a disorganized rabble. Complete headless chicken stuff. Keystone bloody Kops.

A couple of points here. First, it's tempting to place all of the blame on our center halves, especially when Shkrodan Mustafi had an appalling match and Gabriel is simply an appalling footballer. But, defending is a team activity though, and we were beaten badly in other areas of the pitch.

If you have the stomach to go back and watch those goals again, look for two things in particular: 1) How easy it is to get crosses in against us, and 2) How little resistance there is in the midfield in the 5-10 seconds before a goal is scored.

Yes, both center-halves not named Koscielny were abysmal on the day, but it's not like they got much in the way of support. The worst offender, in my humble opinion, is Francis "You have one fucking job, mate" Coquelin. The Twitter machine tells me that Mesut Ozil won more tackles today than our alleged defensive midfielder, and it doesn't surprise me.

Credit to Twitter user @Flaminiesta for this one.

I don't remember which of the goals it was specifically, but on one of them Coquelin could have taken a foul at any point in the lead-up to it. That aside, he was simply a passenger for the entire time he was on the pitch. He contributed less than nothing. We'd honestly have been better off playing with ten men.

6. The weird thing about that though is that I do think that Coquelin is a good footballer on his day. This comes back to the fact that we are parsecs away from getting the maximum out of the players that we have, and we've gotten to the point where the manager has his favorites...to the point where you can't pry them out of the starting XI with a crowbar.

What more does Coquelin have to do to get a seat on the bench? For that matter, what does Alex Iwobi have to do to join him? Look, I like Iwobi a lot. The kid is a solid talent and I can envision him being an important part of the club for the next decade. But, what has he done over the last 7-8 matches to earn his seemingly automatic place in the team? Has Danny Welbeck had a recurrence of his injury?

Why was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out on the right? His only acceptable performances have been in the center, so why not play him there? Related - after the brain-dead dithering he did outside our penalty area that gifted Bayern their 5th goal, what do you want to bet that he plays against Sutton on Monday?

No accountability. No fear of losing their place. No drive. No heart. No determination. Somewhere, there is an alternate universe where Diego Simeone comes in next season and just drives a mighty goddamn wind through all of the myriad cobwebbed corners of our club.

I want to live in that universe. And I BADLY want to be a fly on the wall the first time he meets the team.

7. There was an old friend I haven't seen in ages at the pub today, and as we were talking I said this as a thought exercise for him - figured I'd share it here.

So, imagine you have a new girlfriend or something, someone who has no prior history with football or Arsenal in particular. Say she asks you "OK, so what do Arsenal do? How do they play?"

Could you answer that question? I don't mean the conventional wisdom "blah blah Arsenal play beautiful football blah blah". I mean, seriously, do we anymore? Best I can tell, our entire tactic these days is to get the ball to Alexis and hope he can heroball it in somehow.

It used to be that you could say that we held the ball for ages, passing it sideways until everyone involved died of boredom, but we don't even do that anymore. Go back and look at the possession stats over the last bunch of matches...Hull City had the ball for more than 50% of the match against us.


We are completely directionless, wandering the desert and hoping the promised land will find us. The state of it.

Think back - how many times did we get the ball to Alexis over the halfway line, where he'd be surrounded by 4 or 5 defenders, no other yellow shirt in sight? If we had so many men back where our center forward had that little support, shouldn't we have, like, defended better then?

8. On the bright side, Philipp Lahm is suspended for the second leg. That'll help us in our quest for that 4-0 victory at the Emirates, right? Right?

9. It bears repeating: They scored in the 53rd, 56th and 64th minutes...or, put another way, we were out of the tie in less time than it takes to drop the average deuce (as apt a metaphor for this performance as there ever was, I think). When we collapse, we don't mess around...we do it for keeps.

Also: We were out-possessed 69-31%, and outshot 22-4. This was a comprehensive beatdown, in the style of the first Clubber Lang vs. Rocky Balboa fight.

10. However, I thoroughly reject the notion that we don't have the horses to compete with Bayern. The idea is absolutely ludicrous. Put it this way - the team that we put out today can be presented as follows:

GK: 75 caps (Colombia) - Copa America 3rd place
LB: 10 caps (England) - 2-time FA Cup winner
CB1: 42 caps (France) - European Championship runner-up, 2-time FA Cup winner
CB2: 15 caps (Germany) - World Cup champion
RB: 3 caps (Spain) - FA Cup winner
DM (allegedly):  Uncapped - FA Cup winner
CM: 48 caps (Switzerland) - 2-time Swiss league champ, U-17 World Cup winner, U-21 Euros winner
AML: 8 caps (Nigeria)
AMC: 83 caps (Germany) - World Cup winner, World Cup 3rd Place, U-21 Euros winner, La Liga winner, 2-time FA Cup winner, Copa del Rey winner, DFB-Pokal winner
AMR: 24 caps (England) - 2-time FA Cup winner
CF: 106 caps (Chile) - 2-time Copa America winner, La Liga winner, Copa del Rey winner, UEFA Super Cup winner, FIFA Club World Cup winner, Argentine league winner, 2-time Chilean league winner

Literally everyone we put out there today (other than our alleged defensive midfielder - quelle bloody surprise - was a senior international. Everyone other than Alex Iwobi has won a trophy in their career. It's not like we put out an XI that would be turned over by Lincoln City here.

Again - it's not the players. The players are fine. It's the system. It's the lack of accountability. It's the lack of leadership.

All I know is that on the basis of this performance, there has to be at least one person in Sutton rubbing their chin today and thinking "Hmm, I wonder." At this point, so am I.

Man of the Match:  Thiago Alcantara