First of all, apologies for not getting around to the full preview I wanted to do today, but it was St. Patrick's day and all..
Deflated. I think that is the best word I can come up with to describe this all so familiar, but even more depressing of feelings this time around. It really is more disappointing to lose this tie. Monaco are a very average team and I cannot remember us being so dominant in Europe. According to Opta, we had 70.75 % possession which was our most dominant Champions League display since November 2010 against Braga. That doesn't really surprise me and it's why I think that the away goals rule is absolutely ridiculous. It was brought in to make away teams less defensive and hope that they attack more, but that just doesn't work in the modern game. The only team that went out to attack in both legs was punished tonight. Why not go to extra time and if the game ends level still, then bring the away goals into play? No i'm not making excuses for our shambolic, kamikaze defending in the first leg, as that is what really cost us this tie. We all felt it at the time, and unfortunately we were right; the 3rd goal was the killer.
This was a very strange game I thought, as we were completely dominant and, to me, It seemed like Monaco were not even bothered with counter attacking. All they wanted to do was not concede three goals so congratulations to them for achieving that I guess. Losing this tie was completely down to ourselves, however. The first leg was a catalogue of errors, and spoke more of our tendency to combust at the worst moments, rather than our opponents quality and that's what separates this year's loss in comparison with the others. I genuinely believe that we would have won that first match 9 times out of 10.
The players put in a great shift tonight, but I just don't understand why they can't start from the first leg. How can they do that to themselves again? It can happen in football that you lose matches you shouldn't; but because we lost this tie after 4 previous failures at this stage it just makes it so frustrating. This isn't a new feeling, but it is the worst of those feelings. I really don't want to be too harsh on the players, but as I said in yesterday's post; there is no glorious failure this time around, just failure and it's ridiculous to have to say that after winning an away European match 0-2. It's just the most Arsenal thing.
Here's what Ramsey had to say after the match, as quoted on Arsenal.com;
"We’ve always played teams like Bayern Munich and Barcelona, “No disrespect to Monaco, but I thought we’d have a really good chance of qualifying. We were given a tough test from the first game.I thought Ramsey was very good tonight, made a real impact on the game when he came on and got a good goal as well. I think it was a mistake not starting him tonight, I know, the benefit of hindsight and all that, but I'm sure you thought that too, when you saw the team. I hope he is able to maintain this form for the rest of the season. I know it's just been two games, but this is the Ramsey I want to see. He will be really important for the run in.
“It’s not an easy place to come and their record has shown that. We've been full of confidence recently and we knew we could come here and give it a real go to maybe qualify, but we came a bit short in the end.
“We’re obviously disappointed that we didn’t qualify. We won 2-0 and gave them a good go. On another night we may have got three or four but it wasn’t to be.
“We have to learn to keep ourselves in the game in the first leg. That’s what we’ve been punished for again this year. We need to be a lot more wise in the first game then go to places like this and win. That’s the main thing that we need to put right as quickly as possible.”
I can't understand the criticism of Ozil again tonight; I can't tell whether it's more boring or ridiculous at this stage (Paul Scholes analysis is a joke. Just because someone was a great footballer, it doesn't mean that they have the intelligence to talk about other footballers on television). Sanchez had his worst game in an Arsenal shirt, but he still gave his all so I can accept that; he can't be our best player in every game, all season, but I do think he could do with a rest, to be honest. His booking for a dive was a very bad call by the referee.
I will have a better look at the game tomorrow, as I think it would be pointless to do it now. All the criticism the team gets is due to the first leg and it really is something we have to improve upon. We gave it a good go and in the end it wasn't enough.
We are the glorious failure's and the one more goal team; we are Europe's best losers.
We have to bounce back against Newcastle this weekend and move our focus onto achieving second place and retaining our F.a cup. This can still be a very good season.
That's it for now, player ratings and such tomorrow;
The luck of the Irish just wasn't with us tonight.
Subjectively, Cosmic Kid.