Arsenal wins UEFA Match out of Sheer Luck.

Olivier Giroud scored a goal that would never have happened if Manuel Neuer didn't run out from his spot. | Photo by Daily Mail.
Giroud’s goal never would have happened if Manuel Neuer didn’t run out from his spot. | Photo by Daily Mail.

I believe Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger may have discovered a pot of leprechaun’s gold beneath a rainbow before the match between his team and Bayern Munich. Or maybe his wife could have pressed a four-leaf clover into his management diary a few days prior to the big game. Because the two goals that were scored were literally scored out of sheer luck. Let me tell you why.

Bayern Munich is a German football club in the European League, and is very well known for their epic victories. They have world-class midfielders in Arturo Vidal, Arjen Robben, and Franck Ribery. They have a world-class goalkeeper in Manuel Neuer. They have strikers whose mission is not just restricted to goal-scoring but also to “strike” fear in the hearts of their rivals, such as Robert Lewandowski (famous for scoring umpteens of goals in various manners) and Thomas Mueller. Their players were champions in Germany’s victory in the 2014 World Cup against Argentina. Bayern Munich have been crowned the UEFA Champions five times. They have a record of being winners for 25 times in their domestic league. They are the Barcelona of Germany. What more could you possibly want? Official website here.

Along comes Wenger and his team of inconsistent misfits (thankfully they’ve been consistent so far) who proceed to unravel the greatest team in Germany by scoring two goals in the later part of the second half. Goals from Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil, and brilliant attacking moves from the entire squad, are proof that critics shouldn’t write them off just yet. No doubt they occasionally slip up but the players are humans too, and human error is common.

The first half saw many chances created by both sides, with both teams’ goalkeepers doing a lot of work leaping from one end to another, each defending his post well. Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is known for his top-gloved hands which saw nothing sneaking past him, despite a number of on-target attempts by Theo Walcott and Francis Coquelin. The Gunners’ goalkeeper Petr Cech is no slouch in the goalkeeping department either. Most of the German attacks came at quite a close distance, yet Cech was able to keep the ball out all the same. It wasn’t until the 77th minute in the second half that Neuer had slipped up real bad.

Arsenal’s free kick flew into the German box, which Neuer thought he could reach the ball before anyone else did. Clearly, he was mistaken. The ball narrowly missed his outstretched arms by mere millimetres, allowing Olivier Giroud to literally push the ball into an empty net with his head and chest. But the fact remained that he had scored. Arsenal had taken the lead. If Neuer had stayed were he was and waited or trusted in his teammates to defend, the goal may not have happened. Because the ball would have bounced on the grass and he might just have the smallest chance of palming it away or holding on to it.

The second goal was scored by Mesut Ozil (yes, he’s a German too), and also occurred out of sheer luck. The ball crept past the goal line, which according to the goal-line technology implemented in 2012, it is considered a legitimate goal. The IFAB had requested that “the goal-line technology be introduced and installed, on the condition that it is straightforward, and as a technical means of instantly determining whether or not the whole of the ball has crossed the goal-line, not more and not less.” Excerpt taken from FIFA Quality Programme. There was brief confusion as to whether Ozil had scored or not but when no signal was given to deny the goal, Arsenal knew they had won the match.

It was a matter of sheer luck, as I would gladly repeat throughout my blog post. Because that was what it was. I may not have seen the entire match but after watching the match highlights online, I knew it was too good to be true, to be able to score two easy goals against such a big club. Unless you were lucky.

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