The Gunners appeared to be cruising to victory in the Champions League group-stage clash as goals from Mikel Arteta, Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave Wenger’s men a 3-0 lead. But Anthony Vanden Borre reduced the deficit from close range before scoring a penalty, and Aleksandar Mitrovic equalised in the last minute to earn a 3-3 draw.
The Gunners just need a point from their remaining two games to secure their passage into the last 16, but Wenger was far from happy with his side’s display.
Speaking to Arsenal’s official website, he said:
You have to give them [Anderlecht] credit because the fought until the end and we had a poor defensive performance from the first to the last minute today.
You could see we couldn’t win the challenges and they finished stronger and sharper – we got punished. It’s very disappointing but overall over the two games we got four points. I think we are well paid for our two performances.
I believe defensively as a performance across the pitch, we were very, very poor tonight.
We dropped off too much and didn’t go into the challenges any more. Then you’re always open. We stopped winning the challenges and we dropped off and off and off.
We were always open and we didn’t stop the crosses, we didn’t stop the long balls and I don’t especially think we were outnumbered. In the first half it happened, in the second half it was bad defending more than being outnumbered.
Arsenal’s slow start to the 2014-15 season looked to be firmly in the rear-view mirror as they were leading 3-0 at the hour mark. But a final result of 3-3, borne from defensive lapses, concentration issues and a general easing off in the second half saw a 3-0 lead held in the 58th minute evaporate into thin air.
The Gunners weren’t under pressure until their midfield switched off mentally at 3-0. It’s not the mark of champions and it’s a tendency that will ensure that they might not go past the Round of 16, as are likely to finish second in the group and face a big team as they have doing in the past couple of seasons.
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