Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin believes that the change of tactics employed by the manager was a major factor in yesterday’s win against Bayern Munich (via Arsenal.com). The Gunners are known for dominating possession and playing free flowing football; but yesterday we spent most of the game on the back foot. The German side enjoyed over 70% possession throughout the game and it was only through some disciplined defending and quick counter attacking play that we managed to secure the victory.
Coquelin of course played an important role by providing us with a physical presence in midfield, but it was a true team effort that saw us hold off the likes of Lewandowski, Muller and Thiago for 90 minutes. This is a far cry from the Arsenal side that turned up against Olympiacos, who collapsed every time the opponents came forward with the ball.
Speaking to Arsenal Player, Le Coq revealed that the team had put some serious work into adapting their game to have a more counter-attacking outlook. He said, “It is always difficult against Bayern but I thought we started well and we created a big chance with Theo in the first half but we didn’t put it in the net. The second half was always going to be tough but Olivier scored a great goal and after we felt that we could keep the heat on and after the second it was game over.”
“We knew Bayern would have a lot of the ball, but in the recent games against the big teams we have not had as much possession and counter-attacked. It worked well again here and everyone defended really well and we didn’t concede any goals, so I am really pleased with the performance.
“In the first two games we didn’t perform and we knew we had to win here to stay in the competition. We have been doing really well in the league and we had to do that in the Champions League too, and we have done that so we have to carry on in that way.”
Arsenal now face Everton in the Premier League on Saturday, in a game that could see us climb to the top of the League standings. Our next Champions League fixture is in the first week of November, when we travel to Munich to face Bayern in the reverse fixture. With the state of the group table right now, it looks like we will have to secure a result there as well to have a chance of progressing to the next round. Provided that the team plays with this level of passion and discipline however, that should not be a problem.