Sunk By Our Former Comrade But Its Far From A Disaster

So Eduardo scores against us again!

Not as nice a feeling as last time around. Then we were cruising, had the three points in the bag and it was just a weird added bonus that Eduardo scored. Last night his goal meant we lost and failed to secure the win we needed to progress to the knock-out stages with two games in hand.

It was only a minor blip and not a disaster. I said after the game in London that the Ukrainians were a far better side that what they showed when we thrashed them, that it seemed they were willing to lose at the Emirates and go for the win at home, and so it proved. Of course it would have been nice to go through and let the kids out to play in the last two games, but with a stronger team we can go to Braga and win, and we should definitely beat Partizan at home regardless of the players available.

Once again the defensive worries popped up last night. Young Craig Eastmond had a torrid time of it – he never protected the back four and the game passed him by. He’s a game lad and has proven he’s a decent player, but be it lack of match time or just out of his depth, last night was one to forget for him. The much more experienced Eboue and Clichy have just as much blame, if not more, than Eastmond. Willian made a fool of Eboue time and again down the right, and it lead to Eboue giving away the free-kick that they scored from. Then Clichy foolishly played around with the ball instead of hacking it clear and Eduardo scored the second that proved the winner.

We really missed Song and Fabregas, both as a unit and individually. We failed to really get a hold of the ball and Shakhtar really pressured us and closed the spaces last night. We had a few chances to equalize at the end, most of all from Squidgy but he didn’t connect right with the header.

Not a nice feeling to lose but no need to get worked up – I know I won’t be. We have a massive goal difference on the other sides in the group and its still only a matter of winning one of the two games. Look at it this way – if we won tonight we wouldn’t really mind losing the last two games and letting the kids play, instead we just have to give the grown-ups one more run out to finish the job, its hopefully just prolonging the inevitable – we progress.  We are still top – just have to make sure the Ukrainians don’t pip us for first.

Player Ratings

Fabianski (7) – Thought he did well over all. Couldn’t do much for either goal.

Eboue (5) – Oh dear. Got caught out and had to give away a free kick where he got booked and they scored. Not a good night for EE.

Djourou (6) – Did well enough, got in a few timely tackles but too many gaps appeared between him and Squillaci.

Squillaci (6) – Same as Djourou. Should have done better with the free header.

Clichy (5) – Just hoof the blasted thing Gael.

Eastmond (5) – He kept going and is a earnest young man but he needs to start stamping authority on the game.

Wilshere (7) – Good showing again by Jack but again should have done better with his chance. Couple of way ward passes, still feisty in the tackle.

Walcott (7) – Terrified them with his pace for a while and then that avenue was plugged. What a turn of pace for the goal and cool as you like finish.

Rosicky (6) – Did a lot of donkey work and linked as usual but not as effective as we are used to.

Nasri (6) – Involved in all our play and tried to get us moving forward, couple of bad decisions in and around the box though.

Bendtner (5) – Not match fit. Didn’t play much of a part.

39 Responses to Sunk By Our Former Comrade But Its Far From A Disaster

  1. Morning all

    Thanks Irish for the post, I agree that its not a disaster as we still have two games to qualify but we do love to make things edgey and difficult for ourselves.

    I couldn’t believe how little impact our mid-field had on the game in the first half after Theo had scored. This could have been the game to try one of the CB’s in the holding role with the instruction to collect the ball and find Jack – not really Eastmonds fault if AW wanted to give him a chance.

  2. gnarleygeorge9 says:


    Were you on the Paddy Whiskey while you were watching the game. Johan was no less than 8.What has the Big Fella got to do?

  3. Smith14 says:


    Good post Irish. I have to say I’m relieved that you’ve taken the “don’t panic” line. I had feared all the doom and gloom merchants coming out this morning.

    I don’t think Wenger had a lot of choice on who to play in midfield. We were obviously being cautious about Denilson, Cesc and Song so we had to give Eastmond a chance. He didn’t have a great game but it’s valuable experience against a team that just don’t lose at home.

    I’m still confident we’ll beat Braga. They are a team that like to play a bit so if we have a stronger side out I’d back us to qualify that night. We can then look forward to playing a few of the kids at home to Partizan.

    One massive bonus from last night was Theo’s goal. Absolutely brilliant. He seems to finally be adding some control to his blistering pace.

  4. Smith14 says:

    Sorry to go on but I agree with gnarleygeorge 9, I though Djourou had a really good game too.

  5. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Too many gaps, but no gaffs like that nerd Clichy & his side kick Ebay. Squillaci had too many gaps between Big YoYo20 more like it.

  6. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Nice to see that we are a fairly relaxed buch of bunnies this morning.

    Charybdis, yes Belgrade. Ooops. Same rules apply though.

  7. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Is there a buch bunny. *sp bunch

  8. GunnerPete says:

    Its alright giving players a rest but I still cannot undestand AW playing Eastmond and letting him roam all over like Song…he is too frail and inexperienced to do that. My choice would have ben to play Kossy in front of the two CB’s to cut short problems. Sad to say Clichy is not world class and his poor positioning gives any team a way back into a game. He was responsible for nearly all the panicks in our defence and add to that thye worst game Eboue has ever had we were wide open.

    The rest played well but the insistence of our forward five of sideways movement with the odd forward dash is a worry. Nasri showed the way in the 6th minute ie go for them and shoot. Their goalie was in panic mode and needed non stop testing…so what did we do? Nothing!

  9. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Must try and do some work today. Micky and match days mean bad work. Have a good day all.

  10. kelsey says:

    Morning all (again)

    I agree with your rating irish, but I said this earlier.not being a doomer just annoyed as to the way we played.

    It speaks volume when despite conceding 2 goals Fabianski was our most composed player on the pitch,followed By Wilshere,though he tired in the last 20 minutes .Even allowing for injuries,Wenger got it wrong and should have either started with Sagna & Koscienlny or at least subbed the dreadful Eboue and the inexperienced Eastmond.As for Clichy, how many more times is he going to get caught whilst defending.Vela,bedntner are damp squids,and for all his general play,Rosicky has lost his shooting boots,just the occasional stab.The game showed how much we miss Cesc,and unfortunately Nasri couldn’t generate momentum in midfield.Theo took his goal well, but it didn’t drive him on .Are Schaktar that good, or did we just not perform on the night,and instead of putting the CL to bed we have a tricky period of games with Braga away up next.A familiar feeling,we always make it difficult for ourselves.Ironically,Eduardo took both goals over the 2 legs better than our forwards could have done.

  11. Rasp says:


    Good assessment of the game Irish, but I agree that you may have been a bit hard on Djourou.

    It’s not a disaster and hopefully will concentrate our minds on the toon game.

    Its such a shame Frimpong got injured because I’m sure he would have played in place of Eastmond and done considerably better – I hope he makes a full recovery from his injury. Coquelin also would propbably have done better but he’s out on loan.

    Sooner or later we have to address the problem that Clichy is one bad decision away from costing us a goal every game. At the top level, you cannot afford that.

    We’ll have no problem qualifying from the gropup but we should definitely target 1st as coming second cost us dear last year.

  12. Ufunnylot says:

    Maybe when Wenger said Theo was as good as Henry he meant Lenny Henry!

  13. Ufl – you must like it here!!!!!

    If Theo can be as good as Henry then we are in for a real treat aren’t we – I’m not going to complain, not many teams get the chance to have a replicate hero.

  14. Big Raddy says:

    Aah Winalot, that is very funny……… bless

    Fine writeup Irish.

    I am actually more depressed about last night than I expected to be. The lack of punch upfront was worrying – sure they parked the bus in the second half, but we are used to such tactics.

    The passes for NB and Theo were almost always played behind the man stopping any flowing movement, and the Shaktar defence were so fearful of Theo that he was double teamed everytime he got the ball.

    I accept that Nik was poor last night but was really feeding on scraps. Not a single decent cross to him all night.

    As to the defensive lapses – Clichy played very well in his previous two outings and then makes a stupid mistake. He is our most experienced player and I expect more common sense from him.

    Eboue. I would much rather have seen Sagna – Emmanuel was poor last night and showed why we need to buy a back up RB.

  15. On reflection, I don’t think it was unreasonable to have given Eastmond a tryout last night. In the first game Shakhtar gave us loads of space and usually CL games go the same way but last night they closed us down more like a premiership team would.

    If it had been a more open game Eastmond may have done ok he just wasn’t given the chance to play the ball forward and find his man.

    Clichy’s error was appalling though and we’ve seen him do that so many times – needs a proper kick up the ….

  16. Ufunnylot says:

    Peaches, well said, no arguments there.

  17. Tim says:

    I have to agree with much of what you say. Shakhtar dominated for much of the first half, but both full backs were directly at fault in the lead-up to both their goals. Without those lapses, and with better finishing in the second half, we would have earned a point which would have been a fine result.

    But we are still top of the group, in control of our destiny, and a draw at Braga away from qualifying. Disappointing, but hardly catastrophic.

  18. charybdis1966 says:

    So Winalot’s back – so remind us about your theory on why yesterdays post to big up the oppo was to allow us to brag when we beat them.

    An inspired moment of realisation from you undoubtedly.

    I bow down to your prescience.

  19. JollyMike says:

    I thought Clichy was bad, but Eboue had open day at his flank. I can’t understand why Clichy does the same fault again and again. He doesn’t need to control the situations by using his body. He ain’t strong enough. Kick it into the stand! It has cost us points in several matches. Fabianski and Nasri was the main men in our team. Nasri must have put in lots of km last night. Working hard for the cause!

  20. charybdis1966 says:

    I see Xavi is at it again, I’d like to think this is recycled but he is obsessed with Barca DNA and ingesting it orally it seems :

  21. Ufunnylot says:

    It was a clever ploy, now you can talk about it was ok to lose as they are a top footballing team.

    Inter Milan
    Real Madrid
    Manchester UTD
    Spurs :o)
    Man City

    Haven’t left anyone out have I?

  22. Red Arse says:

    Well written Irish, 🙂

    If I had written a Post last night, it would have reflected my disproportionate disappointment, which I would have regretted this morning! 🙂

    Some days, and it does not matter how hard you try, things just don’t work out.

    Three players who do not deserve anything but praise are; Fabianski – made excellent saves or it could have been worse; Djourou – immense in the air, and his tackling has really improved, Jack – worked his socks off and looked exhausted towards the end.

    Arsene is my hero, but he must take some responsibility for putting out that team. He had a strange mix of a below par Eboue, inexperienced young Eastmond and a non tackling Theo all on the right flank, which made for instability, spotted by Willian whose attacks came mainly down that side.

    That being said, Arsene could not legislate for an unnecessary tackle from behind by Eboue, leading to a goal, or the incomprehensible play by Clichy in the last few seconds of the first half.

    Despite being under tremedous pressure the whole game, both the goals conceded came not from well worked moves by Shakhtar, but really silly mistakes by us.

  23. Red Arse says:


    You appear to have misspelled Arsenal as Man City, who are not in the CL.

    We forgive you because of your unfortunate condition!

  24. charybdis1966 says:

    Winalot, so rather than read yesterdays post as a note not to underestimate the oppo, you took it to be a machiavellian stunt to allow us a “heads I win, tails you lose” scenario for winning or losing.
    And talking of “us”” and “we” Winalot, why exactly do you come to an Arsenal blog?
    You must have realised that is where you are; see the clue is in the name of the blog, and it’s repeated just for the slower, special needs readers.

  25. Rasp says:

    Poor old Uf, the chelski blogs are such crap he has to come to us for some intelligent conversation. Well done on finally revealing your colours, I was right about your team, funny how you can tell by the arrogance.

  26. Red Arse says:

    CharyB, 🙂

    Uidiout, as you seem to have an unhealthy interest in Arsenal, can I refer you to a site that would warmly welcome you to a little repartee.

    Try “Le Grove” it is very genteel and always willing to debate with such as you.

    Good luck! 🙂

  27. charybdis1966 says:

    Crikey, even Winalot has sloped off…he must have gone to where RedA sent him to

  28. gunnern5 says:

    I guess everybody must be sulking over the loss?

  29. Big Raddy says:

    Quiet depression or isi it apathy?

  30. charybdis1966 says:

    I suppose watching the Whore foul up against Poznan tonight might cheer us up a little.

  31. SharkeySure says:

    Just one ofthose nights, although the likes of Eboue and Gael really need to take a long look at themselves.

    I’m really not sure who was worse, Eboue with is constant errors, or Gael with his one massive one !!!

    To be fair to Gael, other than his big mistake, he actually played quite well.

  32. SharkeySure says:

    True Chary…how funny is it watching that muppet run offside time and time again.

    Hilarious that he’s fighting Balotelli and Tevez for a starting spot !!!

  33. Big Raddy says:

    btw after 12 mins I thought “how apt was my headline” yesterday, and to give Theo his due, he never shirked from shooting. A few inches away from their GK and he could have been a hero.

    MAncini got rid of the little Welsh chap because he felt he was a bad influence in the team ….. that being the case half his side should be playing in the Championship

  34. Irishgunner says:

    Evening all….

    Eeemh on reflection the majority rule here – I was too harsh on Djourou, I paired him and Squidgy as a unit and marked them as such and I shouldn’t have – bad decision. I was just a bit pissed at the gaps that appeared and that clouded by judgement and in both their defences its not like the full backs were having a good day – one FB having a bad day is bad enough but two must be a nightmare.

  35. charybdis1966 says:

    Evening Maire, I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself about modifying your opinion slightly.
    I get the feeling you do what I do when I write up as match report – I don’t read any other reports so that I can make my take on the game unique and uncontaminated.
    It is a slightly risky strategy in case you are far off the consensus, but hey-ho I reckon it’s worth it.

  36. RockyLives says:

    Evening all – what a quiet place it is tonight!
    I’ve been travelling/working so I didn’t even get to see the game (picked a good one to miss by the sound of it).
    It sounds like there quite a few negatives but I can’t say I’m that bothered about it. We’ll still qualify and will almost certainly win the group.
    Back to business as usual on Sunday hopefully.

  37. John PS 3 says:

    Cant hardly wait to see King Cesc, hope he wont move onto Barca next window transfer.

  38. Morning all

    Theres a NEW POST

  39. […] Sunk By Our Former Comrade But Its Far From A Disaster […]

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