As you would expect, we are being destroyed in the media following our morale destroying 3-1 home loss to AS Monaco.
The story that every major paper is running with is a simple one – Arsenal were shambolic and Monaco were prodigious. Is it that black and white, though?
The Ligue 1 side have seen a huge amount of praise heaped on them following the win, with manager Leonardo Jardim apparently orchestrating a tactical masterclass to come away from the Emirates with a victory.
But while you wouldn’t begrudge Monaco their win after the performance we put in, an in depth look at the match shows they were anything but the superior side.
Things weren’t going our way, and a number of players were enduring some of their worst ever games in an Arsenal shirt. We still dominated the game in almost every aspect however, and small margins arguably decided the result.
The stats show we came out on top possession wise – 57% to 43% – and it wasn’t passive possession for the most part either. Keeping the ball means very little if you do nothing with it, but against Monaco we were actually creating chances.
We took 14 shots compared to their ten, and should have scored from most of them. The visitors seven shots on target bettered our disappointing four, but 93% of our shots came from inside the box, while a massive 50% of theirs were from outside.
Many of the chances we had should have been converted, and on another day we could have netted four or five against a Monaco defence that was not as fantastic as everyone is making out.
Olivier Giroud should have scored at least twice, but to say the big target man was having an off day would be a real understatement.
Danny Welbeck also should have done better on two occasions, with a good chance in the opening minutes scooped high and wide, and a second half effort driven straight into a prostrate Theo Walcott when it looked easier to score.
We had a handful of other chances that could, and perhaps should have gone in, but as was a feature of the evening, things just weren’t going our way.
Monaco’s first goal had large elements of luck about it, with the ball taking a devastating deflection that left David Ospina rooted to the spot. The Colombian arguably could have done better and Per Mertesacker should have been braver with the block, but it was unlucky nonetheless.
The longer the game went on, the more we left ourselves open to the counter attack. Had we taken one or more of our chances earlier in the game, we surely wouldn’t have left ourselves as open as we did.
Monaco’s second and third goals were gifted to them, with individual errors giving us a mountain to climb in the second leg.
Our experienced captain on the night Per Mertesacker left acres of space in behind for Dimitar Berbatov’s goal, needlessly pressing high up the pitch when he is well aware he doesn’t have the pace to recover.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain went from hero to villain in the dying moments – scoring a stunning long range strike to make it 2-1, before losing the ball in a dangerous position and allowing Monaco to counter. Ospina should have done better with the resulting shot, but it would be harsh to lay all the blame on the goalkeeper.
We should have won the game, and if you looked at the stats without knowing the result, you would assume we had done just that.
It was a shocking performance by Arsenal standards, and we need to be far better if we want to achieve anything. Things could have been completely different if it weren’t for a few key moments however, and to say that we were physically, technically, and tactically outplayed by Monaco could not be further from the truth.