Coming off a victory in Munich that although didn't get them through to the next round, Arsenal can take a number of positives from the match
From the positive, yet shocking performance from Lukasz Fabianski, to the Arsenal centre backs, there were plenty of reasons to smile.
The media will continue to rain on the Gunners parade with their lack of titles nonsense, but eventually that will all come to an end. What will the media grab onto then?
They have already helped to make Arsene Wenger look like a useless manager who has lost his touch. If it was up to them, and some Arsenal fans that buy into it, Wenger would have been long gone and Arsenal would more than likely have struggled to find an adequate replacement.
Putting that all aside, I am almost positive that no one would have expected such a solid and commanding performance from Fabianski on Wednesday night. The Polish keeper not only played like a top keeper, but he also gave Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny much needed confidence behind them.
For quite sometime, and I'm talking years, Arsenal has struggled defensively. Blaming the back four is almost always the second easiest way out of that, with the first being to blame the manager. But, truth be told, the man in between the posts generally has a lot to do with how the defenders perform.
Uncertainty in the Arsenal goal has caused problems and it is more than obvious. Wojciech Szczesny is still young and he will hopefully turn out to be a world-class keeper, but at the moment, he lacks that mental strength needed to play for a top side every match.
His mistakes are becoming more and more consistent, and while the blame can't be all his, he doesn't help his case more often than not.
Seeing how Fabianski played on Wednesday gave me reason to believe that maybe after all this time of fans wanting him out, he could very well be the answer to Arsenal's problems. Lets also not get over excited and assume Fabianski is a world-class keeper because he is far from that, but his presence clearly seemed to have fixed Arsenal's problems in the back, even if it was just temporarily.
With the goalkeeper issue apparently sorted out for the time being, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker also deserve Arsene Wenger and Steve Bould's confidence. They may well be two very different players, but they manage to make it work together.
Mertesacker’s vision of the game and his ability to anticipate what is going to happen next helps him cover up for his lack of pace. And when his timing is off, Koscielny's speed helps out.
You are probably thinking, well what about Thomas Vermaelen. Well, unfortunately, since he was handed the captains armband, the Belgian has been a shadow of himself. His lack of consistency has been evident, along with his inability to eliminate his constant mental lapses on and off the ball.
So for now, Arsene Wenger may have figured out how to get Arsenal back into the top four. Whether he chooses to stick with what is obvious is his choice, but I think it is a no brainer at this point. You shouldn't fix what isn't broken, so other than the inclusion of Nacho Monreal, there should be no reason why he should touch the lineup that became the first side to hold Bayern Munich goalless in quite sometime. Oh, and they also were the first to defeat the Bavarians at home this season.
Will Wenger finally make the right decision and stick with what is best for the team, not caring about how those who are sacrificed will react?
image: © jorge-11