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A few thoughts on the Arsenal 2-0 Montpellier Champions League match

November 22, 2012

Morning Gooners

Quick pre-match topic. After losing 0-3 to Juventus Chelsea (Roman) sacked Roberto de Matteo. Having been in the job since March 2012, he only lasted eight months in the job. However, recent results at Chelsea have not been good. Having taken over RDM guided Chelsea to the Champions League final and won and also won the FA Cup. However, for me, Chelsea finished sixth in the league, were well lucky to beat Porto in Quarters, Barcelona in Semi’s and how the hell the beat Bayern I’ll never know. RDM parked the bus and got his teams defending for their lives to win the two trophies. Now you can’t knock it, they won and Arsenal didn’t, but I think the last few weeks he was finding his level as a manager and not the sort of manager to be in charge of Chelsea in the Champions League.

Back to Arsenal : As the team walked out of the tunnel, they entered the arena to swaths of empty seats.

Arsenal: Szzcesny; Sagna, Mertersacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen; Arteta, Cazorla, WIlshere; Ozlade-Chamberlain, Giroud, Podolski Subs: Mannone, Ramsey, Coquelin, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Gervinho, Gibbs

The referee from Turkey gets the game under way. The first half showed what Arsenal have been all about this season. Capable of playing good football and winning, yet a team that the manager has formed into play the passing game yet simply could make any decent passing moves and gave the ball away far to often. I’m not one for knocking the team unless deserved and quite frankly it was an awful of football and Arsenal were passing the ball to Montpellier more than their own players were.

The first real move of note – effort was when Areta passed to TV5 and his superb cross was headed powerfully onto the bar – rocketed back into play where Arsenal won the ball back and the BFG, who for 10 seconds turned into a huge Messi, danced his way into the box and was tackled just as he was about to shoot. If only!

Montpellier break and only a well read save by Szczesny as he comes out to stop Mounier stopped what could have been a tricky situation as once again Arsenal are sloppy with their passing. Oxo has a shot and the keeper saves well.

  • One point of note from me here, Alan smith is a seriously miserable git when it comes to Arsenal. Right from the off 10 secs he mentioned keeping a clean sheet or shut-out as he likes to call it. Even when mentioning out match coming up against Villa, he said it would be another test. Just how many tests do Arsenal have to pass each bloody season? Alan a tip form me. You don’t have to keep talking through commentary, you only end up spouting a load of old crap. When there is nothing to say, say nothing, Do us all a favour.

30 mins had gone and it was so unusual to see Arsenal waste so many passes and more so when Jack was the main culprit. Koscielny made a surging run forward then stopped by defender – the ball ran to Podolksi who shot just wide.

Arsenal were now slowly getting their passing game up to speed, however, then it was just the final killer pass that was lacking as both Jack and Arteta fell short of making passes that would have counted.

Arsenal corner – cleared and as Montpellier broke looking dangerous Cazorla took one for the team and picked up a yellow card.

HT 0-0 A poor first half with very little action of note. Arsenal’s passing was terrible with needing a win to be sure of making the knock-out stages and make the last game of the qualifiers a dead rubber. Arsenal needed to up their game a gear or two in the second-half. My half-time tweet @harlowgooner “Nothing much to shout about. However, it’ll end 2-0… Koscielny MOTM so far”

Podolski on the left passes back to TV5 who sent in a good cross onto the head of Giroud, who in turn headed the ball into the path of Jack where he superbly chipped the ball over the keeper to make it 1-0. That was a lovely goal. It was pointed out that was Jacks first goal since 2010 on TV well seeing as he has been out for 17 months it’s not that bad.

Jack makes it 1-0

Jack head celebrates with first-team physio Declan Lynch

 Giroud goes into the refs book for a foul on Anthony Mounier

Sagna slipped when all he should have been doing was keeping his eye on the ball, controlling it and bringing out of defence, not trying to slash it up field then conceded a corner for his troubles as he at least atoned for his error and getting back to snuff out any danger. Then the Boss shows how fast he is by getting across to tackle Mounier who must have wondered where he came from.

The Turkish assistant on the far decided he wanted a bit of camera time and he waved his flag against Giroud for offside when he clearly was not, he followed this up with another poor decision shortly after.

Oxo made a run towards the area, passed to Podolski who did a one-two with Giroud and then hit a wordly volley past the keeper for 2-0. That was superb and would make the game safe.

Podolski makes it 2-0

Yellow card for Bedimo for hauling back Oxo.

Oxo cut in from the right played the ball to Podolski who shot from 25 yards which diverted behind for a corner. Nothing comes of it.

  • Oxlade-Chamberlain off, Ramsey on.

Arsenal with another lovely move that ends with Sagna putting over a good cross that just failed to reach the head of Giroud.

Koscielny who has been one of the stand-out players decides he wants to mess about with the ball and after having about five attempts to clear the ball only ends up managing to give away a free-kick. Sometimes!!!

Arsenal should have made it 3-0 when Podolski played a nice ball through to Giroud and with only the keeper to beat he hit the ball straight at the keeper.

Deplagne booked for chopping down Cazorla.

Arteta took a free-kick from right and it sailed through everybody and curled just wide. Almost a copy of the goal Mata scored for Chelsea against us.

  • Cazorla and Giroud off Coquelin and Gervinho on.

Full-time 2-0 to the Arsenal!!!

After a poor first half Arsenal stepped it up just enough in the second-half to get the result. What with Schalke beating Olympiacos 1-0  Arsenal are through to the last 16 of the Champions League for the 13th season running. Well played Mr. Wenger.

Overall – not the best performance you’ll see from Arsenal this season, but in this case the result was more important than performance and you won’t here me saying that often. The defence was in the main pretty solid and for me in European matches the BFG and Bosscielny are the preferred pair in the middle. Sagna was a bit on-off on the night. TV5 did ok, but then did not have that much up against him, but TV5 did do well coming forward and put some good crosses in, one bringing the first goal.  Szczesny did all he had to do and made a one good stop that if he got wrong could have resulted in a penalty.

Arteta, Cazolra and Jack were also in and out of the game but each did enough to drive the team to victory. Podolksi and Giroud are both starting to look like they are part of the scenery after slow starts. Oxo was poor in the first half and looked well out of sorts, but came good in second. The subs all played their part.

So Arsene could and I imagine will play a weakened side in Greece in a few weeks time. He says he wants to win group, but then what else can he say. Players need to be rested and no mistakes like season with TV5.  Then we can put the Champions League to bed till February and concentrate on getting ourselves some good league performances.

Tonight’s attendance was given as 59k+ yet you could clearly see there was not even 50k in the stadium. By now we all know the figure is based on tickets sold, so many season ticket holders had not turned up. Not sure why this is such an issue?

Arsenal were the only British side to win in Europe this week. The multi-billionaires of City are out and Chelsea could also go the same way. So the team in crisis have once again showed the way, along with United.

There is still that under-current of Arsenal supporters that will not allow a win, even in isolation to make them happy. These people see only problems and to be fair there are problems and issues that need solving at the club, but in their quest to find fault with everything, they cannot lift themselves to accept a win in the right manner. Any win has to be micro-analysed and fault found with something.

Get a life people. The team you say you support till you die, bleed red & white if cut – won. Cheer up it’s not all bad.



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