Despite the sensational form we have shown in the Premier League during the second half of the season, our failure to once again qualify for the quarterfinals of the Champions League rather taints our season.
If the summary of our season is ‘progression’, how could we have possibly progressed if we’ve once again been eliminated at the last-16 stage, and this time, by AS Monaco.
The way we completely dominated the French side in the second leg shows our superiority to them as a footballing side, but when the pressure was on in the first leg, we crumbled.
Upon reflection, our performances in the first-leg of ties over the past few years have effectively killed off our hopes as we continue to display naivety at home.
When Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain got us back into the game at the Emirates Stadium we lost our heads moments later and conceded, which turned out to be decisive…
Juventus, a side not significantly more talented than ours, showed exactly how to produce a solid performance in the first-leg of a Champions League knockout tie.
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Despite taking an early lead against Real Madrid in Turin on Tuesday night, there was a period where the hosts came under severe pressure and eventually conceded a goal.
Conceding a goal at home in the Champions League, with the added influence of the away goal, could cause some anxiety throughout at team, yet this must be controlled.
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Juventus never attempted to immediately reply with a goal of their own with the scores level at 1-1 after 45 minutes; safe in the knowledge that 135 minutes of football remained.
Having weathered the storm, The Old Lady picked up their intensity in the second half and went on to win the game 2-1, taking a crucial lead to the Bernabeu.
There are a number of experienced players in Max Allegri’s side, but that can no longer be an excuse for us. Against Monaco in the first leg, we had two World Cup winners and a two-time European championship winner in our team.
The likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez have also reached the latter stages of the Champions League – Wenger has never had such an experienced side during the last decade.
We have done remarkably well to position ourselves in the Premier League table, with second place a very feasible target, but our European record must improve.
Whether at home or away in the first-leg, our performances in the return-legs over the last few years should remind our players that we can’t win a tie in 90 minutes, but we can almost certainly lose it.