Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Trinity to Breed or Break Success

I am still extremely happy and excited for my favourite team Arsenal who managed to beat Bayern Munich 2-0. I woke up at 2:40am (Malaysia time) just to watch the match and to be honest, I did not know if Gunners will win. They had to win. They were beaten by Dynamo Zagreb and Olympiakos in the first two opening games of Champions League Group Stage F, so if they were to survive at least the Group Stage, by hook or by crook, they must win! I was not confident but given that Arsenal had beaten Watford, Manchester United and Leicester convincingly in the past 3 weeks, I was hopeful. Again, Bayern Munich is one of the best teams in the world right now, if not the best. It was almost a mission impossible.

Expectantly Bayern completely dominated the Gunners, but Arsenal kept their cool and defended well. They were patient and they made a few attempts to break the deadlock when the chances came. The closest attempt in the first half was an amazing header by Theo Walcott but the world's best goalkeeper from Bayern is called the best for a reason. Manuel Neuer managed to reflexively save the electric header from Walcott, leaving Walcott in utter disbelief. He was celebrating for a few seconds right after heading the ball goalward, not expecting Neuer to save it. 

Eventually Walcott was subbed off by Wenger (Arsenal manger) and Giroud came on at 73rd minute for a change in dynamic. Unlike Walcott whose pace was as fast as lightning, Giroud was much taller and possessed greater physical strength. Three minutes later, he headed home the first goal from Cazorla (the Spanish magician)'s free kick, amidst a fatally rare error made by Neuer who somehow failed to grab hold of the ball. Arsenal was in front, I was still in disbelief. 

It is not to say Bayern played miserably. They were able to boast a 73% possession with over 600 passess, but statistics lied here. Despite a few attempts made by Bayern midfielders and strikers, it remained futile all credits to the composed back four of the home side (Bellerin, Koscielny, Monreal and Mertesaker). They succeeded at keeping Bayern at bay. And of course, our world class goalkeeper Petr Cech who has contributed massively at goal. Thank you! 

Just 1 minute before the end of four extra minutes, Bellerin intercepted brilliantly a ball passed between Bayern defenders and with his electric pace, he stormed up the right flank and with an accurate cross in front of goal, Ozil fired the ball! GOAL!!! What a perfect icing on the cake! Look who was with the wider smile! Arsene Wenger.

Full time: Arsenal 2, Bayern Munich 0. 

Indeed, without confidence, patience and persistence/perseverance, the North London side would not have beaten the best team in the world. Admittedly I don't think Arsenal is the best team in the world, yet I love them! Purely because of the these qualities they have been able to portray, particularly against world class teams. With sheer discipline, they can beat any football team in the world. I was still in shock. I couldn't go back to sleep afterwards and I needed to wake up at 7am for work.

1) Confidence 

Arsenal went into the game with three straight wins against Watford, Manchester United and Leicester City. Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott were given high praises even by Pep Guardiola (the Bayern Munich manager). Despite boasting 12 consecutive wins this season with 40 goals and only 5 goals conceded from Bayern, the Gunners still remained confident and appeared vibrant during training sessions. 

Really, only with confidence that we can bring out our full potential. The Gunners were not intimidated by the splendid result of Bayern and their vast collection of world class strikers such as Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller. Not to say the Gunners are not quality players, in fact many of them are world class footballers. But many times they were not in high spirit and their morale was not as high as they wished it to be. They have proven otherwise on that one Tuesday night at the Emirates Stadium. 

I couldn't imagine Koscielny to singlehandedly mark Robert Lewandowski when the top striker was roaming freely in front of the Gunners' goal and about to shoot the ball, yet he was more than capable to dance around with Lewandowski and deviated the ball away for a Bayern's corner. His confidence with his defending skills and experience was more than commendable and admirable. I wish I can be more like him in this aspect. 

2) Patience

Many times we are overwhelmed by things surrounding us. Works, career, family, friends, relationships and finances. We even feel incompetent sometimes. Then frustration ensues. Frustrated at the circumstances, everyone around us and ourselves. We feel that it's taking forever for the breakthrough to come. But imagine if we have a little patience while doing the right thing? Given sufficient time, breakthrough will come! 

Without patience, we get discouraged and give up in whatever we are doing. Just because we could not see the result now, we deduce the current gameplan is not working. We give up on continuing the mission. The moment we start giving up, we have already been defeated. 

Yesterday's game was the football version of "Fast and Furious". The time flew by so quickly I didn't even realise, because it was just too exciting! Too exhilarating! At about 20th minute into the first half, I thought to myself, where and how is the goal going to come from? Where is the breakthrough for Arsenal? Given that Arsenal was completely dominated and Bayern were so good at keeping the ball, there was almost no way. Patience. 

Similarly it goes to every single issue you are facing right now. If you are already doing the right thing and have the best system in place, just wait patiently. Don't give up! Breakthrough will come. In fact it is already on its way! 

3) Persistence and Perseverance 

Persistence and persevarance are also indispendable in determining our pathway. Without persistence, we get frustrated and change our strategic gameplan, only to realise that we were so close to achieving breakthrough with the previous one. Just if we had sticked to the original gameplan, we would have been quicker and more efficient in attaining success. The Gunners have again showed they can stick to the original gameplan – stay within their own half patiently, hold on to their dear lives defending and counter-attack when the opportunities come. It was a joyful night to be remembered. 

Naysayers may try to discourage us and pull us down, but only if we continuously remind ourselves the initial purpose of us doing what we are doing, we will witness breakthrough. Persevere through despite being taunted by foolish people. That's why they would never succeed and they don't want you to succeed. Arsenal was deemed the lesser team in the game, yet they proved everyone wrong. 

Olivier Giroud was criticised and jeered over and over again even by Arsenal fans, yet he managed to score against a top team. He kept them silent. This has proven his strong character of never giving up and perseverance. Despite being criticised heavily in the past, he strived to make the difference that forever changed the game's outcome.

(Correction: Giroud didn't really score the first goal, he just placed himself there at the danger zone inside the box and without him even realising, the ball went in upon sliding down his arm. And the referee made an error for not seeing it. But to be fair, at least he placed himself there and it worked! Very fortuitous goal!) 

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