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It has been 14 years since Arsenal Football Club last played in a UEFA Champions League quarter final but tomorrow evening that will come to a long-awaited end when our old nemesis, Bayern Munich, come to town.

Despite being born in the very early 2000s as my pseudonym would suggest, I am indeed old enough to recall our most recent appearance at this stage way back in 2010 (some two thirds of my life ago) as we were pitted against a Barcelona side who were truly at the peak of their powers and then some. Despite a valiant 2-2 draw in N5 when we really should have been down and out at half time, in the second leg we were treated to the Lionel Messi show as he stuck four goals past a hapless Arsenal defence as we lost 6-3 on aggregate.

Seven consecutive Last 16 defeats ensued to a number of different opponents; We would succumb to the wrath of Messi and co on a further two occasions, AC Milan (if only RVP didn’t attempt the chip), Monaco (thanks Giroud) and Bayern x3 (do we really need reminding?!) which preceded another seven years of exile from the Champions League altogether, but three thousand iPhones, five Prime Ministers and one global pandemic later, Arsenal are finally back where Ivan Gazidis told us we belong and that is competing in the latter stages of the Champions League with Bayern Munich. Or was it Leicester?

It’s been a mostly enjoyable ride to the last eight, we won our group comfortably, scoring some lovely goals along the way but then came a very hairy 210 minute or so tie with Porto in which we scraped through via a penalty shootout victory, courtesy of some much-needed David Raya heroics as well as most of our players being quite good at converting from 12 yards. It was a tie we could’ve easily lost in years gone by, but we did the opposite of losing and that’s something we’ve done quite a lot lately.

So, what about Bayern Munich? Well, as I said in the first two words of that previous sentence, for much of this campaign Bayern have been a little bit ‘so what.’ They currently lie in second place, some 16 points behind Bayer Leverkusen with only 18 points to play for in the Bundesliga. Bayern will arrive in North London as the German Champions as they have been for over a decade, but there is a very good chance that by the time CER and I touch down in Munich next week, they will have been stripped of their crown.

It is not easy to understand why Bayern have collapsed in the way that they have but could it be in some way related to a certain player who is affected by a serious medical affliction known as “Spursiness”? Yes that’s right folks, I am of course talking about Harry “no medals” Kane. In fairness to the former Spurs skipper, he has been banging the goals in at his usual rate, but he clearly possesses some sort of trophyless stench that impairs the abilities of his teammates, a stench Kane himself has become nose blind to.

All jokes aside, he is in my opinion the greatest striker on the planet, a player who can score a goal out of nothing and as complete forwards go Kane is one of the best strikers not just currently but of the last 20 odd years. I do honestly enjoy the fact that he’s no longer of a Spurs persuasion allowing us to enjoy his abilities more than what was previously socially and morally acceptable when he was over on the dark side of Seven Sisters Road. Of course, it won’t all be about him, but his return to North London was unsurprisingly touted as one of the main narratives when the draw was made, and Gabriel and Saliba will have a huge task in keeping him quiet. Expect him to be greeted by a loud cacophony of boos every time he touches the ball!

Elsewhere, Bayern also boast the lightening bolt that is Leroy Sane, a man Arteta knows very well indeed from his time in Middle East Manchester. On the other flank there is the promising Musiala and of course Serge Gnabry, formerly of this parish and a reject from the Tony Pulis school of late 2000’s hoof ball. To the surprise of a man of Pulis’ genius, Serge has gone on to do all right for himself in Bavaria. Although I suppose that means little when you aren’t six foot seven, don’t have webbed hands and feet and are not in possession of a forklift truck license.

Bayern also boast the likes of Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka and at the back we are likely to see Upamecano and De Ligt, two players who haven’t set the world alight following promising starts to their careers at Leipzig and Ajax respectively.

Despite Bayern’s poor domestic form, you would expect them to be right up for this given it is their only realistic shot at silverware this season. They are a far more experienced European side than we; how much that will count for will be very interesting indeed. We will need to bring the noise, scarves and preferably our dinner too. Don’t forget your schnitzel and Lederhosen!

There will be no Bayern fans in the ground due to UEFA sanctions so whether the additional 3,000 seats will be taken up by Gunners fans or the “UEFA football family” will be something worth looking out for.

As far as Arteta’s team selection goes, bar Timber we have a completely clean bill of health which is rather handy. I expect Tomiyasu to come in for Zinchenko on the left to combat Sane’s tendency to cut inside, and it will be interesting to see who starts alongside Rice out of Partey and Jorginho. I suspect it will be the latter. Further forward I would start Jesus on the left and stick with Havertz down the middle. I am willing to admit he is starting to prove me wrong. As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!”

I, along with every Arsenal fan near and far, am really looking forward to this one and I do fancy us to go through to the semis. We are in incredible form right now and the possibility of a league and European Cup double is well and truly on, and it’s been a while since we’ve been able to say that. 2-0 to the Arsenal in N5 followed by a gritty 1-1 draw in Bavaria is what my sources are telling me.


49 Drinks to “Old Foes Reunited”

  1. 1
    North Bank Ned says:

    Nice one, 21CG. I’ll happily take your 3-1 on aggregate, although of late we seem to be quite good at keeping clean sheets, so perhaps it will be 3-0.

    Separately, the GHF Predictathon leaderboard for Match Week 32 is posted. More jostling in the upper echelons. There is a new form guide, too. You know where to look…

    bath@the previous drinks: Overspending on holidays is fair play, so no points deduction. Enjoy your Italian break.

  2. 2
    bt8 says:

    Thanks 21cg. Your scenario taking us smoothly into the semis is attractive to be sure but there will no doubt be many twists and turns (hopefully not to Arsenal ankles or knees) over the two legs. Wouldn’t mind if Kane twisted a toe, come to think of it. COYG

  3. 3
    TTG says:

    Excellent preview 21CG well written and well argued although it made me feel like an old git! I can remember beating Bayern 3-0 at Wembley before the 88-89 season and it’s the only game where I’ve seen us beat them easily . On the same day we’d seen tye Spuds outclassed by AC Milan ( how’s that for a fun afternoon!) . I mention that as a diversion to calm my nerves . Even old gits can get nervous . We are a very strong team now but this will be an important test. I think we will prevail 2-0 and get that 1-1 draw in Munich .
    Their Korean centre back is terrific Let’s see what our front three can do to him

  4. 4
    TTG says:

    By the way- if you are able to access the website look at the Under 18 game against West Brom. 14 year-old Max Downan gets an absolute cracker. He looks a wonderful player . And Chido Obi- Martin looks like a terrific prospect

  5. 5
    North Bank Ned says:

    Predictathon players: the latest Everton points deduction will be reflected in the next leaderboard update after the conclusion of Match Week 33. The unofficial word is that it means that Poosker chips another four points off Pangloss’s lead and Potsticker takes back third from Ollie but everyone else’s ranking stays the same. That is all before results from Match Week 33 are factored in, of course.

  6. 6
  7. 7
    Bathgooner says:

    Great preview, 21CG.



  8. 8
  9. 9
    Esso says:

    Cheers 21CG!
    Blogs is over for this. Another Arseblog contributor Lewis Ambrose, who is based in Germany, reported a fair few Bayern fans on his flight over this morning. Where the fuck are they getting their tickets from?

  10. 10
    ClockEndRider says:

    Its almost as though there are touts, whose scummy efforts have been in no way diminished Esso!

  11. 11
    Esso says:

    So it would seem, but as a Silver member who got fuck all in the ballot, I object to the fact that the club cannot properly control the allocation of tickets.

  12. 12
    North Bank Ned says:

    Some Arsenal measures to keep Bayern fans from the Ems today:


  13. 13
    Countryman100 says:

    It’s going to be interesting to see the reaction to German accents in the crowd tonight.

  14. 14
    Doctor Faustus says:

    A perfect balance between informative, well-analyzed and highly amusing. Thank you 21CG for the excellent preview!

    Knowing Bavaria and Bayern fans very well, I am not at all surprised by the mad tenacity and ingenuity of the supporters to try to circumvent the stadium ban. I think we will find a noticeable number of them in the crowd, some may even be reckless enough to cheer for our opponents.

    I think Jesus will start this match, and so will Martinelli and Saka. Tomiyasu for Zimchenko seems a natural replacement especially given Bayern’s fast wingers.

    If we can play true to our abilities and with the composure that has lately been on display, we should be able to get the three points. Bayern will be desperate for the CL, and they have talents all over the pitch, but hopefully the bit of disjointedness and lack of confidence that have crept in this season will continue in this tie.

    Come on Arsenal!

  15. 15
    TTG says:

    Dr F
    Points won’t come into this. We need a good win to shore up the aggregate score .
    I hope no German idiots let off any flares. That might get the club banned
    I hope German idiots let off flares. That might get the club banned

  16. 16
    ClockEndRider says:

    Ensconced in the tavern of choice and was surprised
    to see a grand total of no Bayern fans milling around outside Highbury and Islington. This whole Bayern fan thing may have been overblown.

  17. 17
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks 21CG, great stuff 👍👍
    I am sitting on the banks of the Seine,
    the cherry blossom looks nice and
    The Arsenal will win 3-0

  18. 18
    North Bank Ned says:

    Almost a haiku there, OM

    Sitting by the Seine
    Cherry blossom flowering
    The Arsenal bloom

  19. 19
    OsakaMatt says:

    Outstanding Ned, hope the team
    are as quick 😄

  20. 20
  21. 21
    Esso says:

  22. 22
    TTG says:

    Now you know why I don’t do previews . Having sung the praises of Kim he has been replaced by Eric ‘ Donkey ‘ Dier !

  23. 23
    bt8 says:

    1. Any truth to the rumor that Bayern signed Eric Dier as an interpreter for Harry Kane?

    2. Does anyone know how to say “donkey” in German?

  24. 24
    Las says:

    Cheers 21CG, tasty appetizer before the bayerische wurst night. They have some spicey mustard though.
    Your prediction suits me well let’s beat them hard.

  25. 25
    Las says:

    Der Esel it is

  26. 26
    OsakaMatt says:

    1-0!! Saka

  27. 27
    Countryman100 says:

    We’ve given away two (and it could have been three) of the type of goals we haven’t given away for a year. Sane is roasting Kiwior on our left.

  28. 28
    Depressedgooner says:

    Not going to be much of a positive post so I apologise in advance, I thought Raya destabilised the team attitude when he forced a defensive error and we never recovered from it.

    I also for once thought Martinelli had a very poor game by his standards, I think after that defensive shitshow the entire team lost shape and belief, really hoping that this is a one off, but such games can really turn seasons and I worry about our lack of ability in this game against the worst playing and lowest morale Bayern team in over a decade.

  29. 29
    Countryman100 says:

    Views on the pen not given at the end?

  30. 30
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:


    I think it’s a clear penalty. I have no idea how it hasn’t been given. Neuer lunges across the line of Saka’s run and there is substantial contact.

    Saliba didn’t do loads to give them a penalty, in the sense that Sane could have stayed on his feet if he’d wanted to, but there was clear contact and it was definitely a pen. If the ref had stuck to the same (correct) standard, then the second one had to be a penalty too.

    I’ve got no idea what VAR was up to.

  31. 31
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Still, if we hadn’t given them the first then things would have been very different. One encouraging sign is how fast this team learns from experiences like this. We will go again in Munich.


  32. 32
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    There are a variety of people saying it wasn’t a penalty despite the keeper lunging across Saka’s line because it was Saka who initiated contact.

    Where the hell were all of these people when Elliot pushed his foot into Wan-Bissaka?
    All I heard was how it was a foolish challenge that deserved a penalty. Which I agreed with. Except, unlike these bottom-feeders, I still think the same thing is true two days later when it’s an Arsenal player who’s been fouled.

  33. 33
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    There are also a lot of people saying it’s a clear penalty, including Keown and Ferdinand, both of whom like to give a bit of license to the defence…

  34. 34
    TTG says:

    As you know I sit in the North Bank Upper and I was amazed no one was given ( theirs was a definite pen too )
    Neuer made contact with Saka who had no need to go down as he had a great chance to score . Otherwise I thought the ref was very good and kept the lid on a feisty match .
    At this level in Europe every day is a school day and we would have learnt a lot tonight . (Manure might have learnt that Tuchel is a much better coach than ETH
    For the first time in yonks we looked vulnerable to counter attacks and Kane playing as a false 9 with pace out wide was part of a very compact midfield which suffocated a lot of our creativity . Kiwior couldn’t deal with
    Sane and Kimmich was superb in snuffing out Martinelli who is not fully fit .
    In Munich we have a decent chance of Declan
    Plays deeper with Partey and we use Havertz in the way they used Kane (I thought Havertz was our best player tonight )
    I’d play Saka and Jesus wide and bring Tomi in at left back, Heads up Holics there is plenty of chance as we defended brilliantly against a better team in Citeh . We can do
    it but it showed where we still need to strengthen the squad

  35. 35
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100@29: My two cents is that having pushed the ball wide of Neuer, Saka got sucker punched by the wily old German into trying to vault over a leg that Saka expected to be lunging towards him but which Neuer planted on the ground at the last second so it looked like Saka was trying to buy a penalty. It was a high-risk gambit by Neuer but it worked.

    Still all to play for, and we have been pretty effective away from home of late.

  36. 36

    So is there any VAR in CL? The referee couldn’t wait to blow and get off the pitch.
    Nothing to see here…..

  37. 37
    TTG says:

    I think the ref was embarrassed because he missed ‘a kids error’- his description- when Gabriel picked up a goal kick that Raya had already taken Tuchel appears understandably unhappy but I didn’t doze off during the game and I didn’t see that!
    When Saka was challenged (fouled ) by Neuer I expected the referee to stop play when he was asked to consult the monitor by the fourth official . I was absolutely sure it was a penalty .
    One thing that annoys me is the fickleness of current support . Near me people went from ecstasy to disillusion very quickly and I had to reprieve an idiot behind me who said that Saka was feigning injury because he was having a ‘ shocker ‘ . You couldn’t make it up. A lot of the new generation of fans seem to need to be told what to think by pundits and can’t recognise the key points in a game .The regulars near me are staunch Arsenal fans but there are a few seats that are sold to whoever books tgem and a lot of those buyers really get my goat .
    This was our team in the QF of the Champions League and they turn on them – we didn’t play badly but Bayern were very canny tonight .

  38. 38
    TTG says:

    Reprove not reprieve!

  39. 39
    ClockEndRider says:

    When there is objective lack of ability, perception and, er, objectivity of referees, I couldn’t care less about perceived fickleness of fans.

  40. 40
    Ollie says:

    Ned @ 35, think I’m with you there.
    On first reply I thought definitely not a penalty. But having seen a replay numerous time from a good angle this morning, I think it’s definitely a penalty because of Neuer’s right leg’s movement. But the trick is Saka getting tempted by stretching his leg onto Neuer’s left, which is probably why the ref thought it wasn’t.
    On the other hand, I’d like to see the possible foul on Ødegaard just outside the box a minute or so earlier.
    Thought Kane should also have definitely been sent off….

  41. 41
    Ollie says:

    Actually I seem to be implying Neuer has the two right legs or something, I’m clearly not THAT awake. Either way, I think it’s a penalty but can see why it was not given.
    But VAR….

  42. 42
    OsakaMatt says:

    Was trying to follow the game on a sporadic wifi on Eurostar so no comment on the penalty
    or any other decision but I think the result was ok considering things turned pear-shaped
    yet we still managed to find an equalizer. All to play for.
    Back on the winning path in the next game is big now but it’s good that it’s at home.

  43. 43
    Ollie says:

    As Bayern should apparently also have had an even clearer penalty due to a complete brain switch off from Gabriel, I suppose we can’t complain anyway!
    Forgot you were on the Eurostar, Matt. Hope you had a decent time in Paris.

  44. 44
    OsakaMatt says:

    Yeah all good thanks Ollie, it was just a day trip to give my daughter a meandering tour along the tourist trail from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower. Bit showery but it’s a nice time of year to do that walk via the Tuileries.

  45. 45
    Ollie says:

    Good to hear, Matt. Nice walk indeed.
    Yeah, still quite a few showers yesterday. Sunny today though and apparently a few days without rain now. Quite nippy in the morning, mind.

  46. 46
    OsakaMatt says:

    A good scarf and a nip of Armagnac in your morning coffee will see you right Ollie

  47. 47
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Blogs suggests looking at a penalty incident if it happened at the other end of the pitch. I’d 100% expect Raya to concede a penalty if he dis what Neuer did, even if the attacker made the most of it. Pretty much every foul and every penalty given in modern football is one the attacker makes the most of, so why that should suddenly disqualify the incident is beyond me.

    By the same token, I’d never expect a penalty for a Bayern defender retaking a goal kick the keeper had taken. Like TTG, I saw nothing of this at the time, which shows how little there was in it. Gabriel clearly didn’t think the kick was taken. All night we saw he him take goal kicks to Raya. There’s nothing in that.

    I will say that, watching in a pub and unable to hear much commentary, I only had the screen images to go by, and when it replayed the Saka incident I immediately thought “Great! That’s a nailed on penalty. VAR will give this.”
    My gut reaction was to be convinced it was such a blatant penalty there was no way VAR wouldn’t give it.

    However, whilst I’m frustrated that Bayern got given a clear penalty and we we denied, Arteta was right to play it down. Saka will want to make it right in the next game and there is nothing to be gained from the manager griping in the way that fans have more leeway to do.

    Kane’s snidy elbow aside, Bayern played the game in good spirit and it was a top contest. We did well to get back in it after we made it so easy for them to get ahead. If we learn the lessons we can be very effective away next week.

    It should be a tight, well-contested game in Munich.

  48. 48
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Following on from what TTG said, and I hate to say this, but there are times that my least favourite thing about watching in a pub is having to listen to some of the other Arsenal fans.

    I watch in the pub with a similar attitude to how I watch in the stadium, which is to say, I try to keep my negative thoughts to myself and express the positive ones loudly. I’ve never watched my team as a means to find things to have a good moan about.

    Listening to Ben White get dogs abuse for a misplaced header in midfield was bizarre. I tried to block as much of it out as possible. It does make me a little sad, not being on any social media and without such constant reminders that Arsenal fans, as a group, are as angry and unreasonable as every other group seems to be these days, when I do get these reminders that some (many? A lot? Most?) of our fans are so quick to turn on even this fantastic set of players and brilliant manager.

    Anyway, always nice to be in the company of more measured heads, which is why I like this place so much. Armagnacs all round!

  49. 49
    Pangloss says: