After an appalling display from Arsenal last night it is now time to look at the issues surrounding that display in a calmer manner.
Arsenal fans were optimistic before the game and the majority was expecting a comfortable win. This was reflected in the fact that most were going with a two goal winning margin. However, this was to be proved wrong by a long way.
In previous ties at the last 16 stage there has been a great atmosphere, yesterday this was missing. The fans hardly had a voice and may have played a role in the lack of intensity the team offered. It was like the fans were expecting a comfortable victory. This expectation was seemingly passed down to the players and this resulted in a lack of effort as they probably thought they would win the game. However, the fans can’t be held responsible for such a lacklustre display.
I am also reluctant to criticise Arsene Wenger. A lot of fans are calling the Wenger out trumpet again but let’s not beat around the bush. The players were to blame and have to take accountability, you can only do so much effort and aggression is down to the players and they didn’t seem to want it.
I am Alexis’s biggest fan but even he wasn’t great and has rarely turned up in big games. Additionally, he was responsible for their goal as he gave the ball away but fans are reluctant to criticise him in the slightest. On the other hand, fans are quick to blame Ӧzil and although some of that criticism is warranted, sometimes it is over the top. Fans have called him lazy as this was also inferred by Gary Neville but look at the stats, Ӧzil covered the most ground for Arsenal and the third in the match but this show at least he is trying. The jury will be out on him all the time because fans don’t believe his transfer fee has been justified and I can understand that however, he has been good in recent weeks and fans have been praising him but they are quick to turn.
Another point I would like to address is the abuse aimed at Giroud. This is not acceptable and I agree he had a bad night. However, you shouldn’t pick one player out of the starting 11. Giroud has been good and has never claimed he was world class but players have a bad day at the office just look at Falcao. Fans wanted him at the start of the season but he’s proved he’s not the greatest but fans may argue that is because he’s not fully fit but let’s cut Giroud some slack.
However, there is second leg and this tie is not over. I am an optimist and always believe we can turn it around. My head says, we are out but my heart says we have a chance and on this basis I’m going to go with my heart.
A big task lies ahead but there is always a chance, this is football. Does everyone remember 2003 when we lost 3-0 to Inter Milan at Highbury? Well I do and if I remember rightly we won the return fixture 5-1. I don’t know a lot about Monaco and they were impressive but are they better than Inter Milan of 2003. It’s these results what have to make us believe. We have been close to overturning deficits in the previous four years such as needing to score three in Munich which we were close to doing.
Overall, the players need to show heart and passion out in Monte Carlo and make the fans proud. They need to show they have the right to wear the cannon. Arsenal have the attacking force to turn this round and if Ӧzil, Sanchez, Cazorla, Walcott and Giroud all turn up then this deficit can be overturned.