Arsenal News Blog

fact and opinion intertwined

Defeat is painful but the journey continues

Posted by James Dall on 8, March 2007

Demoralising and painful – two words which encapsulate my feelings.

We created enough chances to win this tie over two legs, however I am reluctant to use the phrase ‘deserved to win’. In football putting the ball in the back of the net is pretty much the most difficult part of the game and we seem to be failing at that hurdle this season. Without the end product all our slick beautiful moves are pointless.

I am not going to go into too great detail about the game, I am still absolutely gutted. I shall simply pick out a few key areas. Firstly on some of the performances. Toure played at right back, he did well. He surged forward but gave strong evidence as to why he does not play there on a regular basis – his final ball is poor. I am sure that Eboue/Hoyte might have found feet if they had been in similar situations. Aside from that he was still great – strong, fast and full of enthusiasm. Gallas sat along side Gilberto in defence. So much for Gilberto’s calming presence, three times he almost gifted them a goal. Gallas was excellent though, if he stays fit for the rest of the season him and Toure will be immense together. Clichy got forward well, he was eager to push on but PSV defended very well therefore limiting the space he could exploit. Ljungberg was full of running but did not seem that quick off the grass, he never really offered too much, we missed Rosicky. Denilson and Fabregas in the middle of the park were sound. I come to expect that now, I hold both in such high regard. My hat goes off to both of them. Hleb was up and down like a yo-yo, often he showed some lovely skill but his final ball and decision making was way off. Adebayor was our most dangerous player I think, he caused problems and deserved to score. Baptista was pretty anonymous, he had a couple of decent chances though but failed to capitalise. He will continue to play though as we are short up front so he still has plenty of games this season to prove himself further.

Ironically we scored off a set piece, it was an own goal though, cannoning off the incredible Alex. I really believed at that point but it became apparent we were tiring. Henry came on but looked way off his game. Now to the goal we conceded – I do not want to pass blame but there are a couple of things that are niggling at me. Why did Hleb feel it necessary to bring down the PSV player there? He had him in the corner then carelessly shoved him. He must have know it would have resulted in a free kick. It was a poor decision that cost us dear. Now the header and leap from Alex was outrageous but Lehman was severely suspect. He came out then changed his mind, leaving him in no mans land. The header actually ended up in the middle of the goal, argh. Hopefully you can see what I mean by watching the goal here. Having just watched the goal back it just hurts even more.

My heart is not in today’s blog, I am wounded. Arsene’s reaction can be read here. There is confirmation of Henry’s injury here. We have a week off as it is F.A. Cup weekend. Villa next week away, it is the beginning of a difficult three match run of away matches – Villa, Everton and Liverpool. The manager has 6 days to pick the players up and begin some hard work on the issues that Clichy discusses here.

Before I sign off just a quick reminder that you can have the blog delivered to your inbox every morning, and that if you can add a live bookmark just as easily.

Right that is it for this depressing Thursday. I am not one of the few that thinks our season is over, we still have a lot to play and fight for. A top four finish is a must, anything other than that would be a disaster. There is talk of us finishing second but I think that is beyond us. Third would be good enough. A long our journey to third a victory over Chelsea at home certainly would make the season easier to digest. There is still plenty to discuss, our roller-coaster ride of a season is not over just yet…


4 Responses to “Defeat is painful but the journey continues”

  1. sig said

    PSV out-thought us over the 2 legs – it gets me annoyed when I hear people say they used negative tactics… so what? they aren’t going to play our game the way we want them to, are they? we need to learn how to break these teams down… we should have learned by now… most teams have played that way at The Grove this season…
    the other points i’d like to make:
    01. practicing our corners? it didn’t look like we had done any homework at all
    02. Gilberto in defence? shocking
    03. Thierry upfront… clearly not fit – he’s had so many injuries this season when he’s supposed to be in his prime… i know that’s not his fault but we really needed some clinical finishing last night and i can’t think of anyone in our squad who fits the bill…RVP comes nearest

    someone asked me whether I’d take a win at home to Utd. & RVP breaking his foot or a draw and him staying fit… well, although the Utd victory was sweet – we’ve missed Robin badly and have gone out of 3 cups because of it

  2. Danish Gooner said

    Rosicky,Eto,Maradona,Pele,Superman none would have made a difference last night.A dutch team assembled for less then 10 million pounds outfought,outthought a team much more expensive.Reason a tactical coach against a stubborn old man who refuses to learn his lessons of European football

  3. clockendjim said

    Reading everyone’s posting across the web, it is obvious what is lacking in our team and it is at opposite ends of the field.
    The percentage of goals per shot that other teams score against us is horrendous. Lehmann is chiefly to blame for this; we need a class goalkeeper for sure next season.
    The what frustration to see so many scoring chances carved out by such beautiful creative football only to be wasted time after time. Losing Robin Van Persie to injury and Thierry Henry to I am not quite sure what, has removed our cutting edge. However there are loads of strikers in the Premiership who would have clocked up an incredible total this season if they had been lucky enough to receive the service that Adebayor, Baptista etc have wasted.
    With the likes of Jaaskerlainen in goal and Eto ( even a Bent or a Doyle would do) up front we would have destroyed PSV. Most Gooners agree on this it’s so obvious – then why cannot Mr Wenger see it. His famous blindspot I suppose.

  4. Flint McCullough said

    “Reason a tactical coach against a stubborn old man who refuses to learn his lessons of European football”

    That stubborn old man has got us into the CL for 9 consecutive years and assembled the most talented squad I have seen in 50 years of supporting Arsenal.

    I am stubborn enough to believe that in 1-2 years we shall be having our rewards.

    PSV set their stall & got lucky but they won’t win the CL just by putting 10 men behind the ball.

    I just wish people could have realistic expectations.

    For me I am quite happy to have 3 EPLs & 5 FA cups in 10 years because to compared to what we used to have that is absolutely fantastic.

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