When the draw was made someone (no names mentioned but it was MickyDidit), told me that he would not go to Monaco because the away leg would be a dead rubber – he was right :-(
Essentially we were rubbish all over the pitch. It is all well and good Mr Wenger being furious at the lack of professionalism evidenced by having 10 players in the opposition half in the 93rd minute just after scoring what could have been a tie-saving goal, but who trains these blokes? If blame is to be apportioned then an equal measure sits on his shoulders.
We started well enough, pinging the ball around with our normal Emirates pace and efficiency; the game was open and enjoyable with both teams attacking. OG missed a couple of sitters, Santi was magical, the full backs were competing with the pace of the excellent Monaco wingers, then suddenly out of nowhere a man in blue takes a shot from 30 yards which deflects off BFG and deceives Ospina. Just what Mr Wenger warned about in his pre-match conference.
Then we lost the plot.
All out attack; BFG setting a very high line which totally played into the speedy Monaco forwards. Our forwards all decide to play through the middle encouraging our full backs to take the space on the wings and thus leaving acres of space at the back. The midfielders had no space to weave their magic. It all went to hell in a handcart.
Halftime I expected to see changes. We became even more gung-ho. Berbatov scored on a breakaway! A man who is already in his dotage and spends his days in a dressing gown, smoking a pipe and watching Emmerdale outpaced our defence!
There followed a baffling section of play. OG taken off having missed three more chances , Welbeck smashed an easy opportunity against a fallen Theo. Alexis got mad and was unlucky with a couple of efforts. The Ox scored and immediately allowed Monaco to turn the knife in the wound.
It was painful viewing. Thankfully, it was just one game in a season and to be honest losing to a poor MU at the Emirates was worse.
Perhaps the worst thing about last night was I fully expected us to thrash them, so did almost all the Arsenal fans, and unfortunately so did the Arsenal team. Monaco taught us a lesson and fair play to them – Monaco were excellent.
Ospina: Could have done better with the 3rd. IMO doesn’t inspire confidence 6
Bellerin: Seemed to play too far forward. Was he told to? As the junior player he needed guidance and support but didn’t get it 5
BFG: Very poor night. Directly responsible for two goals (the first not his fault). As Captain he should have controlled the defensive line and pace of the team – he didn’t 2
Koscielny: Not his best nor worst performance . One excellent header in the 1st half . Passes too slow to the MF’s 5
Gibbs: Too attacking, again probably told to be. Worked hard 4
Coquelin. Lost his defensive discipline. Booked as usual. Showed why we need a world class DM. 4
Cazorla: Glimpses of his magic but Monaco didn’t give him any space. Ineffective closer to goal. 5
Ozil: A passenger for over 90 minutes. His worst performance on an important night. Given his talent tit was simply not good enough 2
Alexis: As always worked very hard. Well marshalled by Monaco defence who always had 3 around him. Skewed a good chance wide. 6
Welbeck: Lots of effort, little result. 5
Giroud: Not his night but at least he was in a position to miss his chances. 4
Subs: Walcott : We looked more dangerous when he came on though Monaco were tiring 6
Rosicky: Had little opportunity to impress 5
Ox: Added verve when he came on. Scored a superb goal. Let himself down immediately after. 7
A hugely disappointing night to be a Gooner. That said, Monaco played a marvellous game, probably their best in recent years and deserve all the credit for their performance.
Onwards and Upwards
written by Big Raddy