Don’t excuse the result because Barcelona are great.

by .

courtesy @allthatchas

Tough one really, I mean. It’s easy to be despondent. We just failed in the last 16 of the Champions League again. We lost to Barca, again. But there are some positives to take.

I’m not going to dissect the game, because I don’t have time, but I’ll give some topline thoughts.

Tactics:

I thought we ran a tight shop for most of the game. I think the game plan was right, the personnel was not. Wenger was let down by mistakes, but ultimately, mistakes from players he’s put far too much trust in. Barca didn’t dominate us like they could have, but it did feel like they always had an extra gear that we lacked.

I had Juve / Bayern on the other screen. They went two down and pulled it back. Why can’t Arsenal do that? If we went down to Bayern, you’d have the same feeling. If we went 2 down to Juve, again, you’d give us no hope. Why is that?

Goals:

We created some great chances last night. If Chamberlain shoots either side of the keeper from 8 yards, that changes the game. If Giroud can put that header in or get into the right positions, we’re changing the game. We had great chances, but we’re not clinical in front of goal. Arsene Wenger can’t complain. He’s had 3 years to address these issues and he hasn’t.

‘But who was there to buy?’

Higuain, breaking records in Serie A. Suarez, who if we’d pushed our bid to £50m, we’d have landed. Pierre-Erick, who we’d have if our scouting network was a bit sharper. Lukaku if we were sharper in the market and wanted to develop someone. Dybala scored last night for Juve (13 goals and 8 assists this year). Teams are scoring goals, teams are finding gems, so you can’t excuse a team with more money than sense missing out on everyone.

Doing nothing and talking about bread in supermarkets isn’t acceptable.

Midfield:

It wasn’t a great night in the office from Coquelin. He’s a very good player, exposed at the highest level. But here’s the thing, that guy is an accident in our team, Wenger never recognised the need for someone like him in the side. Worse still, Wenger brings on Flamini who gives away a penalty almost instantly. Flamini tries his hardest, but he’s been a problem for 3 seasons now. You build a squad in the knowledge you’ll have to play these people. Why Arteta and Flamini are anywhere near it is beyond me. But you pay the price in the end. Last night, our hopes in that game were killed by a lack of ruthlessness that’s pervaded the last 10 years of Wenger’s career.

But Barca are good:

This argument always crops up and it’s an understandable one. Barcelona are one of the greatest sides of all time. They have been for years. You either accept that as a challenge and you work to be better, or you use it as an excuse. I’d rather we tried to take them on. We have massive funds that we’re not using to make our squad as good as theirs. Why is that? How can you accept being second best if you didn’t at least try to make things better?

Did the manager think our squad was as good as their one in the summer? If he didn’t, why did he only add one player. The one player Barcelona would take from us.

Also worth remembering that Atletico Madrid, a team of lower financial power than us, successfully wrestled the league from Barca and Madrid. That wasn’t a fluke, it was just bloody mindedness and smarts

We’ve had 5 years of good times financially. We’re still no closer to cracking Europe. It’s crazy.

Also, let’s not cite City as an example of spunking money with nothing to show in Europe. They’ve won the league title. Chelsea have won the Champions League. United have. LIVERPOOL HAVE. All in recent times. Why haven’t we?

One man, consistent in all of this…

Conclusion:

Going out of the competition, which is pretty likely is great for our title chances, but it’s another black mark next to the name of a manager obsessed with a competition he can’t win.

Too many focus on the opposition as the reason we lost, rather than the reason the opposition is still so much better than us. We need to address why we’ve never cracked the Champions League and we need to sharpen up. It’s becoming very embarrassing. We’re not even the bridesmaid, we’re the +1 on an evening invite.

Real sad.

More tomorrow.

608 Responses to “Don’t excuse the result because Barcelona are great.”

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  1. Joe

    Cesc

    When we drew stoke, people on here were saying “well we never do well up there so it’s ok”

    There is always a ready made excuse for the weneger apologists when we don’t do well when we should

  2. TheBayingMob

    GG had his day, anyone hankering for him to come back is a bit of a mental case. I’ve had it with Wenger, but GG is more old skool than Ron “he’s a lazy thick n1.gg3r” Atkinson. Next you’ll be want Alan Brazil to be the fitness guru. Get a fucking grip mate. We had some good times with Gorgeous George; he will always be revered for pulling us out of our 80s slump with a great set of kids (that we should have done better with); but that Selly / Hillier midfield at the end was pretty fucking ugly. He lost his way. The bung was a nice excuse to get shot of the drunk cunt. He never did anything anywhere else he went, he lived off the Rocky, Davies and Adams youth product with a few good buys then, like Wenger when he had to do it off his own back, he failed. The European trophy means nothing, we would have been Aston Villa if he’d stayed, big club, perpetually shit.

  3. Wallace

    Paul Davis was a player. pretty much the exact kind of midfielder we could do with right now. supremely talented but tough as nails. in truth he was a better player than any of Merson, Rocastle or Thomas.

  4. Charlie NIck

    I think there is some seriously rose tinted glasses being applied to the Graham era. The football we played at the end of his era was absolutely awful. I think we finished 13th that year and at one stage flirted with relegation!
    The midfield consisted of Hillier, Selly, Jensen and Morrow and if Ian Wright didn’t score , no-one did. Graham had a serious mistrust of flair players hence his treatment of Charlie, Anders Limpar, Paul Davis and David Rocastle.
    Wenger is way, way past his sell by date and a millstone around our necks but lets not re-invent the past.