Well, well, well Arsene. I owe you an apology.
I thought the group was dead and buried. You didn’t. You threw everything at it. We came out the other side victorious.
Last night was a superb spectacle. I really can’t drive home the significance of that victory. Teams do not simply go to Greece and spank their Champions by 3 goals without a response. What Arsenal did last night, with a heavily depleted team, was nothing short of exceptional.
That’s doing the job, under pressure and under resourced.
Wenger was understood the magnitude of the win.
“It was one of the great European nights. We made it so difficult for ourselves, no one really gave us any chance but the attitude in that dressing room was fantastic. We knew what we had to do and we always felt that if we kept a clean sheet we would win. The great thing with this game compared to Monaco last season was that we were very patient with the buildup play. Even when we scored, we didn’t go all-out attack. We were calm and relaxed because there was plenty of time.”
Mammoth performances from many names. Laurent Koscielny was a man beast at the back, so much so that Rio Ferdinand crowned him the best defender in the league after the game (whilst also condemning the embarrassment of United bring in the Spursday night league).
Another name that proved his worth for, what, the 16th time this season? Petr Cech. His experience in big games is so important to our chances of success in anything we do this year. He calms, he keeps discipline and he steps up to the plate with spectacular saves when he’s called upon. Where has this keeper been for the last ten years? Another dominant performance from the big man in the black hat!
I also have to doth the cap I don’t wear to Joel Campbell. The guy didn’t look like a player a few months ago. He’s transformed over the last few games. One thing you can never take from the Costa Rican is his heart… he will run until he collapses. He will fight for every ball and he’ll give his all. Last night, he attacked with flair and he defended with balls and determination. His assist for Giroud was straight out the book of Ozil. Is it fair to say, that career trajectory wise, he could be the modern version of Sylvain Wiltord?
Aaron Ramsey appears to be settling into the flow of things in his new position, he dropped a very solid performance, latching onto Ozil’s assist to cross a tantalising ball to Giroud for our first.
Then there’s Olivier. A much better game from the French beauty. His first goal was another header that crept in the near post, his second was a tidy finish from a JC pass and his third was a penalty. His first hattrick! Great work from the big man. Nice that it coincides with a Theo return, a bit of competition through the middle.
We took the game by three and now we face Wolfsburg, Madrid, Barca, Zenit or Atletico in the next round.
Tough games, sure, but by the time they come round, we might have a full squad to choose from (dreams).
I don’t fancy Barcelona, for obvious reasons. They’d destroy most teams. I also wouldn’t fancy that tight compact tactical play from Atletico. But the others, bring them on. We can take them. Give me a quarter finals this year and who knows from there.
One point Theo made was pertinent.
“Whoever we end up playing this time, we must respect them,”
“Monaco, obviously … we didn’t respect them at all.”
Throw the first two games into the mix as well. We have to learn to focus on every game. That’s what Champions are about. No game is above focus.
The positives from last night is that the new line up has found a balance. Joel on the right worked better than on the left, Aaron and Matty worked ok. Our defence looked as good as it has for a while.
The one major red flag is that there are rumours of Ozil having tight muscles. If that’s the case, don’t play him against Villa. It’s too risky ahead of City. No Ozil, no party. It’s as simple as that. He’s integral anyway, but without Santi in the side, he is vitally important. Kid gloves, all the way please…
Right, that’s me done. Well done to the lads and the manager. A great night to savour.
Good prevailed over evil and that’s a beautiful thing.