Posted on Wednesday, 24th November 2010 by Tony Merakli
Having watched the game against Portuguese side Braga last night, it’s clearly evident (to me at least) that Arsenal will not lift the biggest prize in European football, not with performances like that anyway. But seriously, is there any Gooner out there who realistically thinks we have a chance with our current squad to be crowned European champions?
Right where do I start, first off I will give an overall perspective of the game last night…it was an absolute appalling performance and result from the Gunners (and this is me putting it in a nice manner). Many times during the 90 minutes it was frustrating and painful to watch (as usual). Although Arsenal were more dominant in possession, they couldn’t convert it into goals (same old story then). In fact, the match statistics showed that Arsenal managed to conjure up 8 shots in 90 minutes, 1 of which hit target, not good enough for a team of Arsenal’s stature and style of play.
Arsene Wenger made 7 changes to the line-up last night, knowing that a trip to Aston Villa is on the cards this Saturday, but I don’t understand why he made as many changes as he did? Would it not have been better to start your best team and get the result required to qualify? The only player that shouldn’t have played last night was Cesc Fabregas for obvious reasons. Wenger risked our captain, who has suffered from a recurring hamstring injury since the start of the season, yet he plays him, and as a result is now out for three weeks. Wenger’s team selection was simply wrong and he paid for it, I understand the need to rest players, but if they are available and fit, then they should play in spite of the trip to Villa Park this weekend.
The inclusion of Denilson in the starting line-up was just baffling. Wenger recently claimed that the Brazilian has made progress in his development, but personally I don’t see it. The defensive midfielder may distribute the ball well, but he is to slow and his positioning is rubbish. Both goals in last night’s game came through his lack of movement and judgement, and ultimately cost us the game. Readers may think I’m picking on the midfielder, but he has produced mistakes like this in the past, the Manchester United game last season comes to mind, and just recently against Spurs last Saturday. However, the defence didn’t do its job either, so some blame has to be pointed at them. In fairness, not one Arsenal player performed well, but for me, Denilson was extremely disappointing and reinforced my view that he is not an Arsenal player.
Last night indicated to me that this current Arsenal team are not ready to be crowned European champions unless, either new faces are brought in, or the squad miraculously propel their attitude and displays. If they do either option then they are in with a chance for the honour. However, some fans (including me) feel that even if adjustments were made, the truth is there are more devastating teams in the competition.
The 2-0 defeat to Braga has left us on the brink of exile from the tournament, and has heaped more unwanted pressure on the team to deliver in the next Champions League fixture. There is still a lot of work to be done, as their weaknesses were exploited by a weaker European opposition. It’s now down to Wenger to prove to us fans that we are in fact worthy of the crown, because based on this performance we are far from it. No heart, no passion, no success…end of.
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