Champions League: Liverpool-Arsenal, Ecstasy to Agony in a Minute
We will feel horribly done by the result yesterday. The score-line shows a comfortable 4-2 Liverpool victory, but I can assure you that it wasn't.
It was a cruel, cruel way to get dumped out.
"Shite referee. Sad Ending. Theo Rules."
That was how Kedarse summed up the game in a text to me at the end of the 90. Sums up the game rather well from an Arsenal perspective, me thinks.
In the end the Gooners across the globe would have gone through the whole gamut of emotions in a minute. Unbridled ecstasy to see Adebayor put us on level terms, after a dazzling box to box run by Theo who turned provider.
Utter despair when Gerrard blasted beyond Almunia from the spot. The challenge by Toure on Babel was no where near a penalty going by the standard set in the home leg of the fixture.
Kuyt's chalenge on Hleb last week was a clear penalty and the ref was a few yards away, while this was just Toure being slightly clumsy was trying to avoid contact with Babel.
Not a penalty!
However, we would be wrong to say that it was just the referee that was to blame for our being dumped out of the Champions League. Our defence has been shaky in recent weeks, and we have leaked quite a few on vital occasions.
Once again they came unstuck when Hyypia was allowed to head in the equaliser on the half hour mark to cancel out Diaby's goal in the 13th minute.
The marking on Torres also left plenty to be desired, the man they call El Nino was afforded time and space in the box, only for him to swivel and rasp a shot into the top right corner.
The boys gave it their all in the whole trilogy, I thought. A more direct approach on occasion, and a more stifling defence could have made all the difference.
Our defence needs shoring up for sure, not so much the left and right backs, but Toure and Gallas have to be more solid. We also lack a striker who can clinically put away the chances we create.
RVP can be that striker, if injury free, but he's been on the treatment table for too long. Get out that cheque book, Arsene.
After the game Arsene blamed the refereeing decisions as well as the fallacies in defence for the result:
"It's down to a dodgy decision by the referee I believe but also to a lack of concentration straight away when it was 2-2. We found Babel in the box straight from the kick-off and that's where the concentration dropped a little bit. I believe over the two games it's very difficult to swallow because it's a double disappointment. All the big decisions went against us and with three minutes to go we were qualified against a Liverpool team we feel we created more chances than."
"I believe that we have to live with that and sometimes you have to swallow it. It is like that but it is very difficult to understand it because it was not a penalty tonight. I watched it clearly again. Last week [the challenge on Hleb] was a real penalty but we have to accept it. As well we have to accept in a game like that where we had so much control, but we were too naive. We lacked a little bit of maturity defensively."
Arsene's complete post match remarks can be found here.
There is a fair deal of optimism on other Arsenal blogs and forums regarding our chances in the Premier League. As stated in this space before, I am not one of them. Like I've said before as well I would be loved to be proved wrong. And will end it with that.
More fallout tomorrow. Keep it together, Gooners.
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