Manchester United were dumped out of the Champions League by the holders Bayern Munich on Tuesday less than a month after the Bavarians swept Arsenal aside but there was one big difference between the two defeats.
Arsenal exited the Champions League in the last sixteen tie to the Bundesliga champions who won the tie 3-1 on aggregate after the 1-1 draw at the Allianz Arena in the second leg. The Gunners lost 2-0 at the Emirates in the first leg and, as they say, the rest is history.
Manchester United lost their quarter-final clash against the Bavarians’ 4-2 on aggregate on Wednesday night at the Allianz Arena where they lost 3-1 on the night after drawing 1-1 at Old Trafford in the first leg but the two defeats to the German giants were reported in stark contrast to each other in the British tabloid press.
The Gunners were labelled ‘flops’ with criticism fired at club record signing Mesut Ozil, despite the North Londoners drawing 1-1 with the European champions on their home soil.
The Red Devils lost 3-1 on the night (the same exact difference in goals as the Gunners across the two legs) yet they were ‘brave’ as their ‘dreams’ were ‘dashed’ whilst Arsenal’s night was drenched in ‘misery’.
The "flop" Arsenal & the "brave" Man Utd. Hi, English media pic.twitter.com/ve7nJRYIzK— Läurënt (@Sakaria_Gooner) April 10, 2014
As far as I could tell, Manchester Unite played no more bravely in the game they lost 3-1 than Arsenal did in the game they drew 1-1 and Mesut Ozil was no more a ‘flop’ in that game any of United’s brave stars.
The talents of Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Shinji Kagawa, Javier Hernandez, and Antonio Valencia were no match for Bayern Munich and in fact it was defender and vice-captain Patrice Evra who scored United’s only goal of the game.
Arsenal took 33% of the possession at the Allianz to Manchester United’s 35% and the Gunners managed 7 shots and three on target to United’s six shots and two on target. Lukas Podolski scored the Gunners only goal at the Allianz but surely conceding just one goal away from home and two at home to the most dangerous attacking side in Europe is every bit as valiant as conceding three away from home and one at home to the same team?
I would imagine the disappointment is the same, the regret is the same and the pride is the same but the only difference appears to be the press’ reportage of the two defeats – the narrative they serve to fans across the globe which, for some reason, reads Arsenal flops out and brave United dreams dashed.