Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Arsenal Lose But Advance to Champion's League Knock-Out Stage

Arsenal played like a team not sure of what  it was trying to accomplish. All they needed to go through to the knock-out round of the Champion's League (for a record 14th consecutive year) was not lose to Napoli by 3-0. A win obviously would have been the best way to make sure that didn't happen, but Arsenal looked more like a team playing to avoid defeat than to win the match. And, as often happens when a offensively powerful side play defense first, they lost. Of course, Napoli's energetic pressing had something to do with it; but the Gunners played with almost no sense of alacrity, even after they went down 1-0 with only about 15 minutes left in the half. Then, when Mikel Arteta was sent off after committing, stupidly, a second bookable offense, Arsenal had no choice but to play defense first. Fortunately, Napoli appeared to tire. Or perhaps it was the information that Dortmund were being tied by Marseilles. If that result remained, then Napoli and Arsenal would both go through with a Napoli victory of 1-0. But then, in the 88th minute, news came through that Dortmund had taken the lead against Marseilles, which meant that Napoli had to score 2 more goals, so as to beat Arsenal 3-0, in order to qualify for the next round. Napoli scored a second goal late in the last minute of stoppage time. But it was too little too late.

Arsenal's performance was poor but barely sufficient to get through to the next round of Champion's League play. It was not the kind of convincing performance that would lead anyone to believe that the Gunners will survive the first knock-out stage, especially as Arsenal's loss and Dortmund's victory means that Arsenal will go in as the second placed team from their group, which means they could face one of the top teams in the competition in the next round.

Hopefully, the loss won't affect Arsenal's confidence going into a tough match this Saturday in the Premier League against Man City.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I actively moderate comments for spam, advertisements, and abusive or offensive language.