I’m up. Struggling to sleep, so I’m going to pen a pre-match report before Alex wakes up for the full monty a bit. Just some topline thoughts before I leave for work.
We put in a shift, no doubt. I thought we overran the Dortmund team. We played with style, we passed with more crispness than I’ve seen for a while and we looked genuinely exciting moving forward. I thought Chamberlain was excellent. I read a report on him being firmly under the radar for such a talent. My view is the reason that is mainly centres around his lack of impact in games. He’s starting to show that he can be that player, he hit the bar with a looping half volley which crashed against the bar. Really impressed with his explosive pace around the pitch. He’s one to watch.
Sanchez is just outrageous, he’s the bench mark for work rate and talent. What a finish from him. Could he have stuck that any closer to the post? I also thought Martinez looked solid. He didn’t really have much to do, but his was good with his feet and he’s a towering figure for one so young. I felt comfortable with him in goal. Gibbs also had a solid game, as did Moreal. I also can’t leave without giving a big fat clap to Yaya Sanogo. Gotta love the boy for that goal… clunky first touch followed by a falling shot that slipped under the keeper for the all important opener. Shame that he left with an injury.
Telling that I predicted last night might be bad new for Arteta. The man is an old boy in footballing terms, he can’t be over exerted. He was, we didn’t look after him again, now he’s out for a long time. It’s so obvious if you have a memory that goes back longer than 6 months. It’s quite clear that Tony Colbert is up to his old tricks again, because our injury pile up is exactly the same as it was last year and the year before and the year before. If the appointment of Shad was just a token gesture of the club, what’s the point in keeping him on? He’s about as useful as Podolski at the moment. It’s a crime we’re not utilising his skill set, but it’s not a surprise.
Again, a bit of a bugbear, but Dortmund were well beaten yesterday. They offered nothing, yet we didn’t use our subs efficiently to rest a battered squad for a West Brom at the weekend who are likely to cause us more problems than the German side. Why give Lukas 10 minutes? Why not give him half an hour? Why not utilise the squad a bit better so players who we might need feel more included? It’s madness.
I said before the game I’d not be interested in taking him on of Wenger were to hand his notice in. He was a great manager, with a great system… but now he’s been sussed. He didn’t have a plan b when he had all the best players, now he has a very weak set of players, he hasn’t been able create a plan A. His team looked flat and tired yesterday, I can honestly say, outside Bender, they didn’t have a single player that interested me. Klopp is looking every inch the fallen star at the moment, so I’d be steering well clear of him until he proves that there can be a second coming of Dortmund.
Are we cool taking back the ‘Greatest League In Europe’ title from Germany now? The Premier League is the best. Pound for pound, they couldn’t compete. We play more games, with higher intensity and we have better players. Sure, that’s down to more money, but people need to get over slagging the Premier League. It’s up and down because nearly every team is competitive compared to 3 or 4 in other leagues. Last night was a pleasure to watch because we’re a pretty average outfit and we beat Dortmund with second gear ease.
One of my pals messaged me after the game and said something like, ‘Typical Wenger, when the pressure is on, he’ll come up with a result like that which papers over the massive cracks’… and it’s so true. Wenger never fails too hard. Beating Dortmund is fantastic news, but they’re in terminal decline in Germany at the moment. It was shocking they beat us so easily away from home. The bigger question you have to ask is whether qualification actually means anything to you. We’ll get through to the next round with our only hope of passing through being us playing Leverkusen or Porto. If we do qualify, it’ll be nice, but we have zero hope of winning the trophy. How is that the case? We have a manager who hasn’t been able to crack a proper squad in 18 attempts… but we still back him.
Don’t get caught up in the illusion that yesterday is a corner turned… it’s just a pretty lump of pasted paper dumped on a broken squad.
Now it’s all about the assault on the top 4… big game at the weekend. Let’s hope we have some bodies available!
Alex will be here with a match report shortly!