February 15, 2012 AC Milan 4 Arsenal 0
February 15, 2017 Bayern Munich 5 Arsenal 1
Five years’ difference, same old Arsenal
A battle is won by the side that is absolutely determined to win. Why did we lose the battle of Austerlitz? Our casualties were about the same as those of the French, but we had told ourselves early in the day that the battle was lost, so it was lost. ― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
There are quotes to fit almost every situation, and this situation is fit by one from the battlefield. The beauty of it is that it speaks on mental defeatism even more so than physical defeat. In football, the determination of a victor is simple, the team scoring more than the other is the victor. True, many battles favour one side more so than the other whether it be because of manpower, tactical superiority, mechanical superiority or even weather conditions. Many battles are won by the underdog too, the underdogs who approach battles with the mentality of victors and can somehow overcome unfavourable odds. Arsenal were likely never defeating Bayern Munich, but it’s criminal to throw the white flag when you play for much more than yourself.
Arsenal were defeated from the moment their opponent was determined. The battle was lost. Forget form, talent, tactics, or the group stages. The tie was over in the minds of the players we saw succumb to a toothless 5-1 massacre that could have been more if not for David Ospina.