The devastating Champions League exit at the hands of AS Monaco continues our all too familiar trend of throwing away our home first leg and making ‘amends’ in the second by closing the gap and coming within a whisper of progression.
Arsenal ought to be in the quarter finals. Our incompetence and immaturity to bomb forward at 1-2 down allowed Monaco that crucial extra away goal and the rest is history. It’s now our fifth straight exit at this stage of the competition – maybe we should win our group for once!
Still, there were an awful lot of the proverbial ‘positives’ to take from our 2-0 win, but how many were down to our determination to make up for the first leg debacle and Monaco’s nervousness? Regardless, the worry is that we will feel a hangover this weekend and lose that bit of intensity from characterised our outstanding performance on Tuesday night.
Olivier Giroud again was exceptional and clearly wanted to make up for his wasteful first leg outing, similarly Mesut Ozil superbly opened up the channels with his perfect passes. It illustrates why he should be our No10 regularly and perfectly compliments Giroud’s style of holding up the ball and bringing others into the attack. The former Real Madrid star would have been kicking himself for not getting on the scoresheet however.
The return of Aaron Ramsey is timely, he can form a tight partnership with Francis Coquelin to balance the midfield nicely. It should leave us less exposed going forward but most importantly our engine room will be youthful and dynamic – not something we’ve always been able to say about our midfield.
The race for second place in the Premier League is still well and truly on. We need to put the exit behind us, focus on our consistency going forward and head into the international break with a win at Newcastle. Still plenty to play for.
When you look back at our recent results we’ve won five on the trot. It’s been eight wins in nine matches, so let’s keep the momentum rolling and continue our surge up the table.