All Guns Blazing: Arsenal need to build another ‘perfect week’ in Swansea and Munich

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring his side's first goal against Bayern Munich with Alex Ox

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring his side's first goal against Bayern Munich with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (left) and Alexis Sanchez (right) - Credit: EMPICS Sport

Arsene Wenger called it the perfect week. Various players said it was a good seven days. And the fans?

Well, from my vantage point in the stands at Vicarage Road, and my usual seat at The Grove for Bayern Munich and Everton, it was extremely encouraging.

However, my favourite poem isn’t Rudyard Kipling’s If for no reason. You know the one: “If you can meet with triumph and disaster/ And treat those two imposters the same”. So I’m not going to get too carried away just yet – even if what encouraged me most about the Everton win was our resolute defensive display.

It might be counter-intuitive to say it but anyone can play well against Bayern Munich. By that I mean every player who comes up against them could and should raise their game to levels rarely touched in humdrum games.

After all, if you can’t get a surge of adrenaline to spark your performance against the best, then why bother playing football? And against such a sublime Munich side we had it all. It was simply a glorious night for Gooners everywhere – and glorious to watch the way they utilised space without the ball.

Which brings me to next week’s return game. I am lucky enough to have a ticket and am looking forward to more of the same in Bavaria – the result of course, but also the enjoyment that comes from watching such a great team. And, make no mistake, they are a great team.

They are certainly an improvement on the Munich side I saw beat us 1-0 in a desperately poor display by both teams in the Olympiastadion in March 2000.

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The team we will face next week are also far superior to the side that eviscerated us 3-1 in February 2005 in another bitterly disappointing performance – which rendered Thierry Henry’s sharp goal in the 1-0 win back at Highbury meaningless.

But what made both defeats slightly more memorable than the average poor European away performance was the simple fact that the city of Munich is a superb place to drink a few litres of quality beer and savour the German fan culture which, in my opinion, is second to none.

But after our ‘perfect week’ we need another one. We need a win in Wales but talk of a title challenge can wait. It’s all about showing our undoubted quality in Germany, getting a result and showing the whole of Europe we are still very much in the Champions League. I think the arch-pragmatist Rudyard Kipling would have agreed with that.

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