So with Arsenal finding themselves in a similar scenario again this evening having to overcome a big 1st leg deficit in the round of 16 in the Champions League and that against Bayern Munich, (again another similar scenario!) I thought I’d explore the idea of resilience and the need to never give in under any circumstances.
I think if we were to use Arsenal as an example and look at their 1st leg losses over the years, you will see a strange familiar complacency (particularly against AC Milan and Monaco) or certainly a naivety (think of the games against Bayern and Barca). But where they have usually done well is the 2nd leg performance.
Seemingly when down and out at the half way stage of the tie, the London side have rallied and fought against the odds to record some impressive results thanks to their resilient and refreshed approach to the tie.
Impressive displays away to Monaco, Bayern and at home to Milan in recent years spring to mind, so what ingredients make up a performance full of resilience? How exactly does a side go into the game against opponents they had just lost to in miserable fashion a week or so ago before, and attempt to turn the tie around?
Well let’s step into the boots of the Arsenal players and explore some ideas.
In my opinion, we cannot begin the game without a positive mindset;
Thinking of the last game is going to bring about plenty of negative thoughts and emotions and that isn’t the type of energy you’d want to bring to the field. Rather than looking backwards and getting into a negative spiral, why not look forward and think of putting in a positive performance both individually and collectively. The anticipation and possible rewards of victory following a positive display would give any team looking to climb uphill the inner drive they need to get started.
Once we’re mentally ready let’s stay focused on recording a series of small wins. Why? Because focusing on winning in the micro can greatly help winning the macro. What this means is that every player goes into every 1 v 1 duel only thinking of winning it. Every decision is executed proficiently and quickly and this effect when compounded over the team and during the course of the game suddenly starts leading to that much-needed momentum for the team.
With momentum on our side, we need to make sure that we are actually recording the output we need and showing something for our efforts. This refers to getting shots off at goal, creating realistic chances and of course scoring. Obviously, there is no victory without the foundation in the performance of continuous compounded effort but there also needs to be end product if we are to turn around the deficit. It will be hard with such a heavy score-line to turn around, but just starting, just beginning to test their defence and goalkeeper is the start point.
With the performance now moving in the right direction with these steps in place, do we dare to dream?
… Probably not. Sorry Arsenal.
My pessimism or realism as I’d like to say, comes from the weight of positive experiences that Bayern have had at this stage of the competition added to the negative ones that Arsenal have had. Experience does play it’s part. But having said that, I trust the home side will put in a strong display but I don’t see past Bayern!
What do we think the real reason for Arsenal’s 1st leg miseries have been based on?
Would love to know your thoughts.