As soon as the flare fog emanated from the visitors' section of the Clock End, I felt those pre-match butterflies wilt inside of me and drop to the pit of my stomach: the last time I could vividly remember flare fog was last season at San Siro. Thumped 4-0 and our season over in February. Déjà vu to be a Gooner.
Out the blocks we flew, just as Mikel promised in the forever to be known as Arsene - Travis Bickel - Wenger Presser. And then Europe's in-form team well and truly took over the narrative.
Panic and mis-communication at the back: Goal. Zonal Marking: another goal. Jupp Heynckes couldn't believe his luck. ’Are you lookin' at me?’ they certainly were now.
Those with a nervous disposition (that's you. And you) need not forget that this Bayern side are on a revenge mission, following last seasons' final defeat. And having strengthened in the summer with super quality acquisitions in Javi Martinez, Dante, Mario Mandzukic and Xherdan Shaquiri, this revenge mission is fully armed. Few teams will overcome Bayern this season.
A rare moment of Arsenal-ness at the back from Bayern and our hopes were alive. A German of our own, embracing our City with his whistle-stop twitter tour, ghosted in to stem the scattered screams of 'F**k off Wenger'.
And then came the sucker punch. A fluky, loopy blow. How bloody Arsenal of us!
Let's face it, Bayern are a better team than us with plenty more resources (you're not allowed to use the 'our wage bill is the same as theirs' card that has been bandied about, as they spent £35m on a single player in the summer, a player we were in for but couldn't compete for). And Manchester United and Chelsea have already used up the majority of all of the luck that any English teams will ever have against Bayern Munich.
This Arsenal team have been here too many times already, dancing about with dexterity but lacking the power to be a contender: like a talented boxer with a glass chin. Like Amir Khan. We're Amir bloody Khan!
There have been too many knocks. Literally. Serious injuries to Vermalen, Rosicky, Diaby, Ramsey, Jack, Sagna; they've taken their toll. Wenger is so busy rebuilding their confidence, while negotiating deals, calling out Neil Ashton, cleaning the Colney changing rooms (he still trusts Vic Akers with the kit though, phew!) and throwing himself in front of Buses with Stan Kroenke's name on it. It's a wonder he finds the time to watch all those games on that big satellite of his?
And all the while Gooner divisions have formed and battle lines drawn via a petulant banner, a threat of black bin bags or the post-defeat quagmire that is twitter. You're either a WOB or an AKB; you're not a Gooner anymore. And you're frantically looking everywhere, down the back of the sofa or in your wallet behind your latte loyalty card, EVERYWHERE to find your Arsenal - as you want it back!
Me? I just want to enjoy it each and every game; feel the way I do on big nights like last night, the way I did when I grew up with Rocky, Anders, Nige, Wrighty et al. Chant Red Army, cheer my team on. Support my heroes and cherish the glory (I'm annoyed with myself for not taking in the two doubles and the 'Invincibles' etc as much as I should. As a result, and like many Gooners, I'm a spoilt brat).
I respect any Arsenal supporters' view, but only if they show respect themselves. Respect Wenger for allowing you the opportunity to feel hurt during these times. He's earnt that - as he earns his £7m salary, despite many jibes to the contrary. That state of the art stadium you watch your team in? Wenger. The main reason we can still attract the likes of Cazorla, Arteta, Podolski and Monreal? Wenger. Jack, Gibbo, Theo, The Ox? Wenger. Be grateful. Players that have worked under him are.
Is it time? Possibly. Can anybody do a better job? Not under this Board. One thing I crave is to just enjoy it all again, as this divisive, toxic atmosphere is worse than not being able to sign Falcao, or zonal marking. Or Gervinho. He won't be sacked and I can't see him walking. But who could blame him if he f**ks off to Madrid or Paris for a swan song? It may do him some good as he looks withered. Like when your Grandad can no longer carry you on his shoulders, it is starting to feel like the end of an era.
“The Boss has been here 16 years so for me you can't question him,” said Wilshere after the game. I'm with you Jack, anyone else? Can't see many hands, is it the fog?
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