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quarta-feira, 19 de outubro de 2016
Player ratings: Robben proves he is Bayern’s best player
An all-time performance from Arjen Robben lifted Bayern to their first win in about a month. There were other standouts, too.
The 4:1 scoreline probably does not do PSV Eindhoven justice. They nearly came back from a 2:0 deficit to equalize numerous times at the end of the first half and beginning of the second. Bayern showed once again that they can be beat on the counter, and beat they were. Perhaps they were lucky to never surrender their lead, or perhaps simply fortunate they have Manuel Neuer between the sticks.
Either way, this was close enough to a very good performance. The team should feel happy about it, all things considered. The team exhibited defensive issues that need to be hammered out. No question there. The attack was dynamic at times, but sloppy at others.
Even then, considering this is still the first part of the first season of a new manager, there is reason for optimism in the Bayern camp. The team can rely on a host of goalscorers who can be relied upon, despite a defense that is underperforming. Why should you be okay with an underperforming defense? Well, they (along with Köln) still lead the Bundesliga in goals against. Despite some clear issues, they are good after all, and with lots of room to improve.
This team has not peaked, and given where things stand on all fronts, they will be pretty darn good when they do.
There are no words good enough
Sometimes this happens. Not very often, mind you, but there are only so many people in this world that can do what Arjen Robben did tonight.
Arjen Robben: Simply superb. Vintage Robben, heck, maybe even better than any other single game he has played in years. He is truly one of a select group of people on this entire planet capable of playing like that. It is simply remarkable that no matter who FC Bayern seem to sign to the senior team, and rest assured they are all fantastic, world-class players in their own right, none compare to what Arjen Robben can do in a match. The fact that he eventually got a goal at the end of the game is merely a footnote. The PSV fans sang for Robben shortly before he came off in the second half, too.
Joshua Kimmich: If you had Joshua Kimmich as this team’s goal-getter before the season, you should probably keep quiet because you will probably face a trial for witchcraft. His 21′ goal was the second of the game. It really solidified the hot start the men in red got off to. Aside from the goal, he had three other chances and was always a factor in and around the box. He has now scored 7 goals in his last 8 appearances. Crazy.
Robert Lewandowski: A much-needed performance from him. For the last few games, even going back before the international break, he has not looked completely in-sync with his teammates. Granted, nobody bears the brunt of a dysfunctional attack more than the striker, but he was not creating as much as usual, either. Perhaps he is a victim of his own standards too, but no matter today. He was great in the air, great with his passing vision, excellent with his movement, and much more. His goal, kind of like Robben’s, is only a reward for a superb performance. Robben did most of the work on it, anyways.
Manuel Neuer: Like I said above, there was a period – maybe no longer than 15 or 20 minutes – where it looked like Bayern may be in trouble. First came PSV’s first goal through Luciano Narsingh (which Neuer somehow got a finger on), but then a spell where it seemed like whenever FCB would lose the ball, the green-clad away team would have numbers bolting forward on the counter. A great reaction save on 54′ well and truly prevented the equalizer.
Thiago: Despite his relative defensive shortcomings, Thiago was brilliant on the ball. While allowing Kimmich to get forward to great effect, Thiago settled a little deeper and helped with the distribution all match. His assist on Robben’s headed goal was sublime, but he had made passes like that all evening.
Thomas Müller: Bayern’s first goalscorer missed out on a better rating only because he ghosted for spells of the match. He was generally not as effective at getting the ball to his teammates in good areas. Still, overall a very good day for him, and that is good news for the team.
Jerome Boateng: What is there to say at this point? We all know what Boateng brings to the table game in and game out.
Xabi Alonao: Similarly, we all know what Xabi does and represents. No need to go into detail about it.
Philipp Lahm: Not his best match but it is hard to stand out when you share a wing with Joshua Kimmich and Arjen Robben. No need to get forward with that being the case!
Douglas Costa: Solid appearance as a substitute, presented threats going forward, and opened up space for Robben opposite him that Müller had not done on the left side.
David Alaba: The second match in a row where something has been missing from Alaba’s performance. It is worth repeating that he is a phenomenal player, and there is only one ball. At the fullback position sometimes it is easy to be overlooked or go absent, harder still to remain engaged to the goings on during the match. He will be fine, though. Better a rough patch now than in April.
Mats Hummels: Another in a string of mediocre performances, but not aggressively so. At least not enough to merit a “bad” rating. Now that it is an option, Carlo Ancelotti may want to try out a centreback pairing of Boateng and Javi Martinez. Too bad their respective injuries have kind of overlapped thus far.