Liverpool-Arsenal: Why the Gunners Just Aren't Firing

sayonara sammyCorrespondent IApril 10, 2008

The UEFA Champions League quarter-final between Liverpool and Arsenal yesterday ended with one team scoring five goals (Liverpool) and the other scoring three. Usually this means that the team who scored five would be considered the better team.

But it seems that people such as Arsene Wenger and numerous armchair pundits don't agree.

A night of fantastic football with one of the highlights of the year—in Theo Walcott's Pele-like run—has been overshadowed by yet another debate on the boring subject of a dubious penalty decision.

So what are the real reasons why Arsenal didn't win?

Here's the rundown:


Philippe Senderos


The number one culprit. Caught badly out of position for the Hyypia goal and went to cover Torres on the left (outside) instead of the right. Although Torres' finish was spectacular, he had plenty of time to place his shot in the absence of a quality central defender.


Emmanuel Adebayor


Very good at positional play and goal poaching but is a donkey with the ball at his feet. Missed a couple of sitters in both legs and his passing was woeful. Couldn't hit a barn door with a banjo since Eduardo's injury.


Kolo Toure


Whether you think the penalty was or wasn't valid, he chases the ball instead of keeping the line tight. He was caught badly out of position by Babel from the restart following Arsenal's second and should have laid a strong tackle outside the box instead of chasing with his arms flailing.


Mathieu Flamini


The man who held Arsenal together unfortunately left the game early. One of the few men Arsenal can rely on to run his guts out gone, and for me that's where Arsenal fell in a heap.


Gilberto Silva


It's not his fault but he is not the player that Flamini is. His passing is wayward and he was dispossessed too easily.


Robin Van Persie 


It showed Wenger's desperation that he played a player that is only 50-50 in a game of such importance. He was ineffective and should have stayed on the bench. But who else has Wenger got, which brings me to the boss himself.


Arsene Wenger


If you have a beef about the result, here's the man to blame. Given a 60 million pound transfer kitty, he chose to keep his hands in his pockets. A very costly decision with Eduardo now out for the season or longer, Van Persie not right and now Flamini on the injury list.

Wenger is a man who never accepts his or his team's failings and encourages a culture of paranoia amongst the Arsenal fans.

The Arsenal rearguard was a far cry from the Adams-Keown days and up front they look fragile. There is no doubting the skill in the Arsenal team but the one thing that they lack is any depth.

They were going great early in the season until the injuries started to mount and now instead of players, they only have excuses (and no silverware). For a team who was scoring so freely early in the campaign, three wins from 12 games spells meltdown to me.

Arsene might be well advised to stop pointing that petulant finger at the referee's performance and take a look at his own. I'm sure the Arsenal board is doing just that.


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