Arsenal Outplayed & Outclassed In Italian Disaster
An honest review of Arsenal’s 4-0 demolition to Italian giants AC Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday night, including quotes from manger Arsene Wenger.
The fact that Clarence Seedorf – a player who lasted only 12 minutes before being forced off with injury – received a match rating equal to the highest rating of any Arsenal player in the Telegraphs “how the players rated” article, tells you all you need to know.
Arsenal were outplayed, outclassed and quite simply outdone by a deceptively strong and clinical AC Milan side, who smashed a much deserved four goals passed Wojciech Szczesny at the San Siro on Wednesday night.
It was Arsenal’s first real test in the Champions League, and they did little to prove that they have the firepower or strength to pass it with any ambition or intent in order to progress into the latter stages of the prestigious and notoriously difficult competition. It was just too easy for the Italian side to keep the ball, pass it around the Arsenal midfield and dominate the play. As a result, they created a few good chances, and, thanks to some poor defending on Arsenal’s part, finished them.
A superb goal from former Tottenham and Portsmouth attacker Kevin Prince Boeteng gave AC Milan the mental and numerical boost they needed in order to press for a valuable home win in front of their intimidatingly noisy fans, but it was also a chance for the away side. The opening goal gave Arsenal a chance to wake up from their slumber and have a go at AC Milan – give the home side something to resist, to fight against, to play against – but nothing came. Wenger’s team lacked any drive or penetration and their performance in all areas of the pitch suffered as a result.
The defence was generally weak – even more so when the best Arsenal defender on the night, Lauren Koscielny was forced off due to an injury. The midfield were overrun and Robin van Persie received little support of any kind up front to work his magic. He has one or two chances which were well saved by Christian Abbiati, but, in truth, the away side didn’t deserve a goal.
The second goal came soon enough, with the illusive Zlatan Ibrahimovic beating the offside trap (debatable) and pulling it back for Robinho to head in. After that, it was a matter of how many Milan would score, and how many goals Arsenal would need to get back in the second leg in order to progress. The answer? 4. Robinho grabbed another after half time and Ibrahimovic, who had been impressive all night slotted home a penalty conceded by Johan Djourou just over ten minutes before the end.
Thierry Henry, who came on at half-time for his last game in an Arsenal shirt before heading back to the USA, had any hopes of a fairy-tale ending to his nostalgic return to the London club dashed, with Arsenal’s hoped of winning a European trophy suffering the same fate.
A four goal deficit is not impossible to overcome, but it is extraordinarily unlikely to happen, with the self proclaimed ‘realistic optimist’ Arsene Wenger, declaring that the result was a “disaster”. The Frenchman continued on Arsenal.com:
“It was of those nights you never forget. It is our worst night in Europe, we were punished and deservedly so. We were very poor offensively and defensively. We were beaten everywhere. There was not one moment in the 90 minutes we were really in the game. What made it worse is that we had to chase the game. It was always the same problem, balls over the top and we were well beaten.
It is difficult to analyse. I think it is better not to talk too much. We need to analyse with a cooler header and regroup for the next game”
Barring an epic comeback of Biblical proportions, Arsenal will look to the FA Cup as their only source for silverware this season. The Champions League has once again proven, with Arsenal’s weak and youthful team ravaged with injuries, too much for a club that looks out of its depth against the European heavyweights.
Thanks to DBSfootball for submitting this guest blog post
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