Olivier Giroud must be sick of Bayern Munich at this point. In his last four games against the German giants, he’s lost 5-1, 5-1, 5-1, and 3-0.
The first three of those came with Arsenal of course, but as hilarious as those may still be, the Blues shared one significant feature with the Gunners in all those defeats: getting throughly outclassed and outplayed, starting in midfield. Then-Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, in his role as beIN Sports pundit, pointed that out as well (he should know, after all).
“In the Champions League, if you lost the midfield you’re in trouble, it’s rule number one. Because you play against good teams, if they can feed the strikers you, at some stage, will pay for it.
”And we’ve all gone through that but when the team is really superior that’s what happens.”
-Arsene Wenger; source: beIN Sports via Mirror
Giroud, who started two of those three 5-1 defeats, must be quite tired of seeing the same script unfold against Bayern as well, though he does admit that some of the responsibility for that also falls on his own shoulders.
“Bayern were too strong tonight. We have to face the truth. We were able to compete in the first half, with chances on each side. In the second half, they accelerated with counterattacks. They hurt us and were effective. They scored two goals in three minutes. Psychologically, it’s hard to come back in the game. We must not hide our faces. Bayern deserves to win this match.
“It’s complicated for me to play. I try to play for my teammates. I had few balls to play in the area. There are nights like this when it’s frustrating for the attackers.”
But Giroud’s not one to give up, whether it comes to the rest of the season or the rest of the tie, even. We have plenty to lose in the former and very little to lose in the latter. Either way, we have to get back to things quite quickly.
“We will have to score at least three goals there and not concede. It will be an almost impossible mission. We will go with the desire to score, anyway. And to play with more freedom, less pressure. We will have almost nothing to lose.”
“I continue, not to give up. There is a match in four days, we must get back to it.”
The lessons from “Storm Bayern” are clear and obvious and unsurprising in many ways. They’ve exposed the team for what we are: a team in transition, a young team (and a young coaching staff) growing into our potential, a team in need of drastic improvements in certain areas.
Giroud, who could be forced into further action pending Abraham’s injury status, is unlikely to still be here by the time we reach those goals (assuming we reach them, because we have to make that assumption). But he may yet make a few important contributions, on and off the pitch, before then. Tuesday night wasn’t his night either; let’s hope Saturday is.