Praise for Arsenal, but always with a qualification; where was this in the other games? Plus, Pep out?
– We’ll start with Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail, who leads with praise but reveals his frustration:
‘Oh, they drive you mad sometimes, Arsenal. Had they played like this in their first two games of the Champions League campaign, they would be the best part of the way home.
Instead? Well, they’re still in there fighting. This victory ended the winning streak of the form side in Europe, but Arsenal remain joint bottom of Group F with Bayern away up next. They’re not making it easy for themselves, even though this scoreline suggested otherwise.’
The tendency after a victory such as this is to extrapolate the positives out to the rest of the season, and the Daily Telegraph’s Paul Hayward might have a quiet word with the sub-editors about that. His piece, a description of where Arsenal went right but also how impressive Bayern were too, is headlined:
– In the Daily Mirror, Dave Kidd gets very giddy about Arsenal, channeling his inner John Lennon Imagine:
‘The wonderful thing about dreamers like Arsene Wenger is their steadfast belief that impossible is nothing,’ Kidd writes. ‘It means that even when you have been beaten by two teams of also-rans and you need to defeat the most in-form team on the planet, blessed with the world’s hottest goalscorer and the No 1 keeper on Earth, you are not crippled by any feeling of inferiority.’
Steady on, old thing.
– In the Guardian, Barney Roney chose to focus his match reaction piece on the performance of Mesut Ozil:
‘Mesut Özil, we’re told, doesn’t do the obvious. This is a player who operates on a plane beyond the hackneyed theatre of goals and assists, but who is instead a kind of elite engineer, greasing the component parts, conducting only distantly, above the meaty-pawed fray. Here, though, Özil did the opposite, claiming the big-type headlines from a game in which he only flickered, producing moments of brilliance on the ball, waiting until the final minute to turn in Héctor Bellerín’s pass at the far post and give the night its gloss.’ Glorious.
– The unity in Arsenal’s performance is recognised in the choice of Man of the Match in the papers. The Independent gave Alexis Sanchez the most praise, while the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and Daily Express went for Petr Cech. The Sun used the power of Opta’s data to plump for Ozil. The Telegraph also went for Sanchez.
– In the Daily Express, Matthew Dunn writes a bizarre match report in which he roundly criticises Arsenal’s players and Arsene Wenger. This is his only mention of Theo Walcott, for example:
– Elsewhere, Neil Ashton did a ‘five things’ piece and stuck the boot in on Pep Guardiola.
‘Pep Guardiola had won the Champions League twice with Barcelona by the time he was 40, but the idea that he is a superior coach to all others is now under scrutiny,’ Ashton writes. ‘More of this and even the great Guardiola will be kicked into the long grass.’
Woah there. Are we really talking about Guardiola being sacked?
– Quick word too for Jeremy Wilson’s match ratings on the Telegraph website. ‘Spent long periods out of the game when Real dominated possession but delivered moments of class when Arsenal countered,’ he writes about Mesut Ozil. Guardiola will be fuming with such a slur.
– However, there is nowhere else to end but the fifth bullet point above Rob Draper’s Pep Guardiola piece for MailOnline, for it is a thing of wonder:
And that’s the real quiz.