Thursday, February 16, 2012

Looking at the horizon. Milan - Part I

So, that was bad. 
Not like our previous visits to the San Siro. Arsenal really were outclassed. 
Was this our worst ever Champions League performance? Well, measuring how bad it was does not help anyone.
A lot has been said about the condition of the pitch, it was disgusting! The flanks were 'relaid', whereas the center was perfect. If that was deliberate, it was cheap, not worthy of a team like AC Milan, which is so respected in Europe. But we cannot complain, even they played on the same pitch. 
What does bother me was that Arsenal started the game with four central midfielders- Arteta, Song, Ramsey and Rosicky, apparently we did this to avoid playing on the wings. Now, Milan are a team that play narrow, so this suited them! We fell for their tactics, and gave them exactly what they wanted - No wingers, demolition of our biggest threat in the process.
Had we started with two wingers like we always do, Arsenal would have forced their players to come out to the wings, and play on the 'dirty' areas of the pitch themselves, and at the same time give Ramsey, Arteta and Song space in the middle!
What is disturbing is that Arsenal got pushed into changing their tactics and played directly into their hands, we need to be more confident about our own tactics! The minute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came on, he started attracting defenders to the wings, giving Arsenal more space in the center. Had that been the case since the start, we maybe would be looking at a different result.

Quite a few players have been blamed for a poor performance yesterday, some of them being our top players. The Verminator had a bad game. But what was more worrying was the mental fragility we showed when we changed our tactics, a lack of belief in the way we play. Arsenal need to stick to their strengths and not change themselves because of external conditions. Because when this team plays it's best to it's strengths we can beat any team on the planet. 
By changing our tactics, we showed other teams that we fear playing our own game when things around us change, we need to play to our strengths. 
Arsenal need to realize that we have to beat teams by playing to our strengths, and not by trying to change  our tactics every time another team throws a cheap trick at us. 
I'm not going to talk about the score line, maybe it's beyond us already. Maybe we won't beat Milan at The Emirates by a 5 goal margin. But, what this team needs to realize is that they have the technical ability, but not the mental strength or the winning mentality. The players need to believe in themselves and the way they play more.
I have no doubt that if we play to our strengths next week, we will get a favorable result. Am I deluded for saying that? No. Maybe there is more to this tie than we think. Let's not blame Arsene or the players yet. They might shock most of us. Believe and keep the faith. Players and the fans.

Last but not the least, we say goodbye to Thierry Henry. Words cannot describe how much this player has done for Arsenal. And maybe he's not done yet!
Keep the faith. That's what Thierry Henry would tell us.



  1. Very True and a clinical analysis of the match. They got royally outclassed, there is no doubt about that.
    Hope they can do better in the return leg.
    And Yes....
    Keep The Faith!!!

  2. They have to. Moving forward!
    Arsene still knows.