Thursday, 17 September 2015

Arsenal Lose After A Horror Show In Zagreb

What can you say about that defeat for Arsenal last night. It was such a familiar performance from the team yet it happened again. If you go into any football game with the wrong attitude you are likely to get beaten and it's hard to think Arsenal had anything but the wrong attitude.

I said before the game that Arsenal had to treat their opponents with respect as you must do against any team in the Champions League. Right from the start Arsenal looked vulnerable with bad decisions and bad passes being made all over the pitch. Dinamo Zagreb set out to frustrate Arsenal and try to hit them on the break, but it didn't take them long to realise they had every chance of getting something from the game.

Arsene Wenger made six changes from the team which beat Stoke on Saturday and on the face of it the team looked very strong. I had said beforehand that I was worried about Mikel Arteta possibly coming in for Francis Coquelin and so it proved as Arteta had a shocker. He wasn't the only one though and it was a game where it was hard to find any positives.

I was surprised to see David Ospina in goal as Petr Cech was given a rest, but to be fair to Ospina I wouldn't blame him for either goal and he made some good saves to keep Dinamo from increasing their lead at times. I have no doubt that Cech will be back for the trip to Chelsea on Saturday where Arsenal will need their strongest team to be at it's very best. Chelsea have had an awful start to the season but they won in the Champions League last night and will want to transfer that to the Premier League.

Both full backs were changed last night too with Hector Bellerin not making the trip as he was rested and Nacho Monreal on the bench. Gibbs gave the ball away too often for me and I thought he made a poor attempt to head the corner from which Dinamo got their second goal. Debuchey just doesn't offer the attacking options of Bellerin and I thought he had tucked in too far for the first Dinamo goal.

That first goal was more down to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain though as he completely lost his man and then was unfortunate to deflect the rebound into the net after Ospina had saved the original shot. I thought Chamberlain had looked good before then but he faded after his mistake. He still has a lot to learn about the defensive side of his game and he needs to start learning quickly.

For the second goal Gibbs may not have jumped as the corner came in, but I don't think he would have got the ball anyway while Arteta failed to get off the ground and the man he was on powered a header home. They were two very bad goals to give away and spoke a lot about a general malaise through almost all of the team. One player who should be excluded from the criticism for me is Gabriel Paulista who did more than his fair share to keep Dinamo out.

Despite all of those poor performances the real culprit on the night was Olivier Giroud who got himself sent off due to his own stupidity. A free was wrongly given against him and his reaction earned him a yellow card for dissent. As if that wasn't enough he was called for another foul and then made a poor defensive tackle which earned him his second yellow. 

The boss may have complained about the refereeing after the game, but there could be no excuse for Giroud's stupidity. He is so concerned with his gesticulating after every incident that he forgot about his commitment to the team. He had already had two good chances to score himself before Dinamo scored, but he spurned them both.

The first chance was free header from eight yards out which was very well saved, but Giroud would surely have scored if he had headed the ball down. He was set up by Chamberlain for the second chance and hit the post, but he probabLy could have done better with the rebound. I have no doubt Giroud is a good player and he has his admirers among Arsenal fans, but I just don't think he's good enough for the level Arsenal want to play at.

His goalscoring record for Arsenal is good but I think he takes too many chances to score and his lack of pace is a real hindrance. What's the point of having Mesut Ozil in the team to play passes to a player who hasn't got the pace to get on the end of them. When Ozil was signed over two years ago I was sure Arsenal would sign a striker to suit his game, but I'm still waiting for it to happen.

Theo Walcott, Joel Campbell and Coquelin came on for Chamberlain, Gibbs and Arteta and Walcott did at least pull a goal back after being played in by Alexis Sanchez. Campbell looked out of his depth again to me and was probably lucky not to get a second yellow card late in the game. Coquelin tried to shore up the midfield, but it wasn't possible with Arsenal trying to chase the game.

The defeat certainly doesn't end Arsenal's chances in the Champions League, but it doesn't make them any easier. They have lost away to the lowest ranked team in the group and they will probably have to win away to Olympiacos as well as at home to both Olympiacos and Dinamo to guarantee a last 16 spot. If they play like they did last night they can expect Bayern Munich to give them a real pasting.

It's depressing to write about a performance like last night and particularly with such a big game coming up early on Saturday. I think the boss took a gamble with his team selection ahead of the Chelsea game and it backfired in a big way. The sending off only compounded the situation and made it even harder to get a result.

I just hope the players can turn things around between now and Saturday and that last night has no effect on them. I expect to see the players who were rested last night come in against Chelsea and those who weren't rested need to do an awful lot better. There is a real chance to pile more pressure on Chelsea and it's one Arsenal have to do all they can to take.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.


  1. So Arsenal have ahuge desire to win the cl. It aint going to be easy with all the top clubs gunning for it.I know one match doesn't mean much but its indicative of Wenger's tactics.
    The first goal was conceded with defenders ball watching. The second was from a corner. At one time Arsenal were conceding goal s by the bucketful. In spite of this the fm decared
    he had 30 years coaching experience and had no need for a defensive coach.
    So far he has modified his tactics slightly . But it remains to be seen whether this will work long term.l have my doubts. next match against the Blues. Costa scored of a pass from Febregas. Perhaps the so has realized to much passing or all day as in the Everton game will be stupid.
    If Wenger plays his all day passing ,don't be surprised Costa will get a hattrick.

  2. .
    Wenger says fans shd blame him for the loss. Of course he is paid to make the gunners into a winning team and has failed to do so .
    I doubt he can ever lead Arsenal to cl glory.His tactical style is easy to counter.So when teams set out to frustrate the gunners,he has no plan b.
    The way the gunners play is a giveaway. All day/night passing with few shots . Of course Walcott's goal was an exception in the Stoke game.
    Believe me ,Mourino will go all out to frustrate the gunners and the latter being naïve will fall for it.
    So don't be surprised the so's unbeaten record will reamain intact against the fm.
    Of course nothing is carved in stone so don't be surprised the gunners win or nick a draw.