Game in a Sentence

A valiant effort from Arsenal fell painfully short, as blood, sweat and even vomit could not keep
them from going out of the Champions League at the expense of a fortunate AC Milan.

Observations

  • Few gave Arsenal any hope of making the tie a contest after getting battered 4-0 in Milan.  Fewer still gave
    them a chance of actually winning the tie. But a pulsating 1st half display nearly produced a classic night
    at The Emirates.
  • The crowd at The Emirates was rocking at kickoff, and gave Arsenal them the early lift they needed. Both
    sides put out attacking lineups.  Obvious from Arsenal, somewhat surprising from Max Allegri and AC.
  • Brendan Dunlop chose to go to the Valley to see Charlton-Colchester, passing up on this match. Fun!
  • Arsenal desperately needed an early goal to feed the crowd, and they got just that on 6 minutes. Oxlade-
    Chamberlain’s corner  was headed in by an unmarked Laurent Koscielny. Nice start.
  • On 10 minutes, the sizzling Robin Van Persie tested Christian Abbiati who saved with his legs.
  • By the 15th minute mark there had been 3 bookings. Van Bommel for Milan, and both Arsenal
    wing-backs, Sagna and Gibbs. All 3 now had to be very careful not to be sent off.
  • Abbiati was alert again on 19 minutes to deny a curling RVP effort from the top of the box. The warning
    signs that Arsenal were going to be a force continued.
  • Arsenal needed another goal before half-time.  And they were gifted one on 26 minutes. The usually solid
    Thiago Silva played an awful clearance right in to the path of the reinvigorated Tomas Rosicky, who
    side-footed it in and nearly blew the lid of the usually subdued Emirates.
  • 2-0 at halftime would give Arsenal a chance… but it got better.
  • Djamel Mesbah, who looked out of his depth all night, blocked off the Ox as he broke in to the box. PEN.
  • RVP stepped up. After a slight delay to get the ball back on the spot. He looked very nervous. I thought
    he might miss. He canned an unstoppable penalty top right. Ok then. 3-0. Incredible.
  • Stephan El-Shaarawy  missed a great chance to possibly put the tie away just before the half. He shot
    wide though, ensuring the HT team talks would be incredibly interesting.
  • HT thoughts: AC were so loose in possession in the 1st half.
  • Allegri’s team selection had to be questioned now.
  • It almost seemed that Arsenal were favourites as the 2nd half kicked off, such had been their dominance.
  • The reversal form the dominance AC displayed in the 1st leg was simply staggering.
  • For all of Arsenal’s dominance, there was always the fact that 1 AC goal meant Arsenal
    would need 6 on the night.
  • Arsenal continued on the front foot, looking to level the tie at 4.  In the 59th minute they wasted a glorious
    chance to do just that. Gervinho’s deflected shot was well saved by Abbiati’s legs, before Van Persie tried
    to chip him on the rebound. Tough to question RVP, but he should have blasted it home. Too cute.
  • Minutes later Wojciech Szczesny almost killed the tie for AC, as he gave the ball away to Ibra, who fired
    wide. A let-off for Arsenal.
  • AC finally got a foothold in the match, looking more composed as the half wore on.
  • 77 minutes in, and another chance for AC to put it to bed. Antonio Nocerino shot straight at  Szczesny
    when it would have been easier to score from 3 yards out. You sensed it would bite them in the AC.
  • What-ifs flooded my brain. What if RVP wasn’t denied by a brilliant save in the 1st leg. What if Ibra didn’t
    tack on a late penalty in that same match. Arsenal still had a chance though.
  • Chamakh and Park Chu-Young were brought on as Arsenal searched for a hero to take it to Extra-time.
  • It wasn’t to be though. They couldn’t muster a clear-cut chance, as the match fizzled to a finish.
  • Arsenal’s desire can not be questioned. I’d call it a moral victory, but I hate that term. Damn it.
  • Almost worse for Arsenal fans, as it must have seemed it was going to be their night. Alas a
    prospective famous night ended up as simply a fantastic match, with AC progressing as anticipated.
    Just.

 

Three Stars

1.  Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
2. Tomas Rosicky
3. Theo Walcott

Match stats here.

Comments (34)

  1. Ohh it’s hurts how close we were! After the 1st half, I really thought we could win it, but unfortunately not. But Robin’s miss…oh my goodness… I could’ve cried LOL. Nonetheless, I’m very proud of how they reacted and played this match despite the 4-goal deficit :). We gave it a shot, and didn’t concede either! I just hope that they take this performance and play like this every game to keep us in 4th and perhaps even 3rd is Sp*rs fall off (please be true…LOL).

  2. RVP could score another 30 goals this season, but he’s going to be remembered for missing that rebound. Oh what coulda been…

    • I will personally remember him for world class volleys this season against Liverpool and Everton, along with all the games he has single handedly won by himself.

      Alex Song is a terrible player. He holds onto the ball way to long, makes the wrong pass or simply guves the ball away, pathetic. He was terrible on the weekend as well until his over the top ball to RVP.

      • 92′ Song had a chance to spray the ball out wide to Rosicky… dallied and lost the ball. Wenger was livid.

        • not an Arsenal player, rated too highly. That was the gooners last chance to tie the game and he blew it, even with the acres of space and time he had.

        • If you’re thinking of the same instance I am, the player was Park (going down the left hand side). I don’t really blame Song for not going to him.

      • Alex Song is NOT terrible. Who set up those Van Persie volleys you will remember so well? Who split Dortmund’s defense and set up RVP in the group stages? I could go on but I won’t

        He played a bad pass at the end, sure, but we didn’t lose the tie because of him. He was probably completely exhausted as well. You win and lose as a team.

        • He is a terrible player, the lack of recent success for Arsenal fans in the past years have allowed them to accept players like song and company. He is simply not good enough to wear the shirt of Arsenal. There are plenty more on that team that don’t deserve to wear that shirt either.

          BTW im a Man utd fan I couldnt care less, but he is simply not good enough for that team when they should have players like Viera bossing that midfield.

      • Yeah that’s all well and done, but it’s the biggest stage that matters most. That was bad.

        • Van Persie missed that sitter to equalize. is he “terrible” too?

          Why do you troll so much, Dan?

      • You obviously have not been watching any of the games this season. Song is one of our most consistent performers in midfield with Arteta. Grant you that last play was a horrible decision but don’t be a complete wanker about it. And if your a manc, sod off and enjoy the Europa league.

        • Fine, enjoy mediocrity.

          • You’re crazy, Derbish. Vieira is a great player, a World Cup winner, European champion, multiple PL and FA Cup winner. Just because Song isn’t as good as him, he’s terrible? There’s no in between?

            By your logic, everyone on Arsenal’s current roster except for van Perise is “terrible”. I can’t agree with that..

            Recently, Alex Ferguson criticized Alan Hansen (and rightly so) for saying that for the better part of two years, Man Utd. had been “abysmal” (his words), even though they made the Champions League final and won the League last season.

            Hansen is sort of right; compared to Utd’s very high standard, the current vintage is not up to snuff. But if the second best team in Europe are “abysmal”, then by extension, 99.99999% of al teh soccer played in the world is unwatchable.

            Hansen is an ex-footballer with a poor vocabulary, that’s why he doesn’t know how to express himself. What’s your excuse?

            Enjoy the Europa League .

      • you guys are stupid for saying Alex Song is a terrible player. He has been Arsenal’s most consistent player after RVP and maybe Szczesny. Its like you guys only watch 1 match and make statements.

  3. 10 Bucks says KJ/Whitall still manage to criticize Arsenal/Wenger.

    • i’m staying away from this bet. No matter what KJ will never give Arsenal the credit they deserve.

  4. Our recent run of form bodes well for the future of the club. But Arshavin’s unceremonius dismissal might presage a change in our transfer policy. By getting rid of the mercurial (ie lazy) Russian, we were shorthanded today (sending on Park and Chamakh is equivalent to playing with nine men) but perhaps Wenger saw that the morale of the group would be improved by the dismissal of a coddled, serial under-performer. A little addition by subtraction, as it were.

    No one can now doubt Arsenal’s spirit. Wenger is the most important reason why the team plays the way it does. The team is united behind their manager (unlike some London clubs…) and it’s inspiring to see. Hopefully, maybe, Wenger realizes that some players just aren’t up to the standard and with the addition of a just a few good ones, the combination of spirit and talent will push us over the top.

    Also, I love how Brendan Dunlop merited bold font.

  5. Next time don’t be so quick to count out Arsenal. One thing i hate about the footy show/podcast is that you guys hate on Arsenal so much. At the beginning of the season you were saying that they were going to finish mid table. 3 Weeks ago you were comparing them to Newcastle and Livepool. Now look at them, they are in 4th place and with their current form 3rd is not far away. Arsenal are a better team than what you guys give them credit for. Arsene Wenger is the right manager for Arsenal. They showed great class and spirit today. COYG

    • comparing them to LFC? We are better than you prats moron…or do you have FIVE european cups

      • You saw Saturday’s game, right?

        • Arsenal is more-or-less in the same situation as Liverpool when Torres was at his peak.

          They’re not a great team, they’re a good team with a great striker who’s showing form and FITNESS that nobody would have predicted.

          If RVP leaves, what do you have? Pretty much what the “haters” have been saying all along….

          • And a great goalie BTW…Szczesny was fantastic last mid-week against Portugal as well. If Poland play their cards right they could ride get through the group stage at Euro

          • I’d argue that Arsenal has a better plan for taking the club forward when / if RVP leaves than Liverpool did (and they’re certainly on much better financial footing than Liverpool was in the Torres years), but, yeah, there’s a lot of similarities.

      • yea you guys are better….lol

        currently in 7th place and 10 points behind, and you think your better, right.

      • Typical deluded Liverpool fan who preach about 18 times 18 times! Then when united beat that, you all cling to 5 times!!!1 every time someone criticizes your club.

        Will you ever move on from the past and confront that you are a shit team even with all the money you lot have spent?

  6. Great game, great first half. unfortunately it was impossible for them to last 90 minutes at the frantic pace. it’s happened before where they go all out in the 1st half and they don’t have much left in the 2nd. they give us something to cheer for and it was great game. Milan just managed to hold on. good on them

    Song can be infuriating and deliver fabregas like passes. i guess that’s who he is for now. Hopefully he’ll continue to improve.

    Oh to be a gooner.

  7. arsenal are capable of great things. they are also capable of atrocious things. inconsistency in football doesn’t bring success.

  8. AC Milan looked like a Serie B team in the first half, glad they held on, now Napoli just needs to beat Chelsea. looking forward to the quarter finals for Milan.

  9. Maybe the most interesting is to see how fans went from one end of the spectrum to the other end compared to the last time. One could say Arsenal did that too but I expect every team to have good and bad days but you hope fans keep this in mind. All of sudden AC Milan became an old team and Arsenal was out of this world.

    True of the matter is that Arsenal played one great half out of the 4. Over both games, I think Milan was the better team when I hope that it would have been Arsenal.

    PS Of course RvP will not be remembered this season for this miss. That’s just nonsense.

  10. puke on the badge. An interesting statement.

    It was an arsenal player when he heard Wenger was in the running for coach of the year.

  11. I respect Arsenal more then ever before. They were the weaker team, had a lot of injuries and they made Milan work for the victory. This will benefit them in EPL so they can beat Chelsea to 4th place.

    All Hail Wenger!!!

  12. The way they came out, I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought of another Italian team capitulating in England – namely that 7-1 drubbing ManUtd laid on Roma a few years ago. Full value to Milan for getting their shit together at halftime – I personally thought they had the edge in the second half until RVP’s miss.

  13. Arsenal were briliiant yesterday v Milan. All be it Milan probably didn’t get out of 1st gear and were just crusing for 90 mins, apart from Nocerino missing inside the 6 yard box late in the 2nd half!

    Arsenal were flying and got the ealy goal they needed, and continued to press. But I thought in the 2nd half, they lost their ryhtym and looked desperate. Not exposing wide areas, knocking alot of direct long balls, not holding possesion and drwaing Milan out etc…which made it easier for Milan to defend. So they weren’t able to find the equalizer. Milan went through.

    Arsenal should take this performance as a huge lift to carry them through the rest of the domestic season and fight for 3rd or 4th place. Time to dig deep and fight!

  14. Bravo Arsenal!

    Pundits in general (and KJ is incredibly guilty) write teams/players off on almost a week by week basis. The treatment of Wenger this year has been ridiculous. It is his team; achieved through patience, fiscal responsibility, and the development of young players in an offensive system. Arsenal will remain an English power for years to come through continually sticking to their guns.

    Van Persie’s saved chip was not that egregious. Good effort by the team.

    Go Stoke.

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