Bradford defeats Arsenal in the League Cup: miracle result, but Arsenal are rubbish. Blackburn defeats Arsenal in the FA Cup: miracle result, but Arsenal are rubbish. Bayern Munich defeat Arsenal in the first leg of the round of 16 tie in the Champions League:
“[Bayern] sees no reason for the [CL] trauma of last season.” —Der Spiegel
“You can’t help but sense, however, that Bayern really may be the most credible — if not the only –antidote to Barcelona’s European hegemony.” —ESPNFC
“”The time of restraint is over: [Bayern] is ready for another entry into the Champions League final” —Süddeutsche Zeitung
Of course you know what they mean; Bayern are currently 15 points ahead of Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga. To give you a sense of that in context, that gap is greater than the difference between 2nd and 13th place in the league. They have lost only once in the league, against Bayer Leverkusen in October.
Whether they fare well in the latter stages of the Champions League is yet to be determined, but someone amid the frenzy of yesterday’s game raised this interesting point:
This will not ease the argument that Pep Guardiola just coaches teams that are already great.
— Abby (@awfully_good) February 19, 2013
But isn’t that a skill in of itself? There isn’t a huge sample available of clubs nose-diving after the departure of a successful and beloved coach, but it has happened. The post-Rijkaard Barcelona was no more of a sure-thing than the post-Heynckes Bayern will be. Learning to maintain what works whilst making your own mark as a professional, soothing large egos following a successful season—these are unique challenges in their own right. A double or treble-winning Bayern Munich may be as much a curse for Guardiola as a blessing.
Canadian women’s soccer team to host USA in friendly on June 2nd.
Wilshere says players are to blame for the loss and not Wenger.
Fellaini feels referees single him out because of his height and afro.
United’s chief executive David Gill calls it quits.
Hamsik unable to play in Napoli’s Europa League match tomorrow due to illness.
AC Milan eyeing PSG midfielder Marco Verratti.
Former Barcelona VP Soriano kept employees on a tight leash, accused of spying.
“I don’t rule out becoming the Spain coach, if and when Vicente decides to leave,” -Rafa Benitez expresses his national interest.
Former German international Uli Borowka opens up about his battle with alcohol.
Bit and Bobs
Syrian footballer dies in mortar attack.
Barton says Beckham no longer the threat he used to be.
Thanks to Alima Hotakie for compiling today’s links.