You have to love Paul Merson sometimes:
Man Utd have one bad season & they’re out of the Champions League. Arsenal have had a couple and still qualify every year!
We did, but phew, that was tough eh!
Besiktas came to The Emirates and at times, played like the home side and to be honest, what else did we expect? Slaven Bilic, up in the stands last night for his naughtiness during the first tie has been saying all week that his side weren’t heading to London on a sightseeing trip, they were going for a win and his side nearly did just that.
We had a couple of good chances through the game, but then so did they, especially towards the end when Ba headed into side netting and with just a slender 1-0 lead at the time, had that gone in, we would have been out. That’s how close it was.
We weren’t helped by Mathieu Debuchy receiving a second yellow card with fifteen minutes left on the clock either but what came out of that was a truly superb defensive shift put in by Santi Cazorla who I thought had a good game. Jack Wilshere too. He’s had a bit of stick lately but last night he showed glimpses of the player will all know is inside his body, it was a shame his shot went wide, he deserved a goal. Cazorla, Alexis and Oxlade-Chamberlain missed further opportunities to score, the best fell to the latter of the three players and really, he should have done better.
Our only goal came from Alexis and what a night to pop up with it. Debuchy had made a run up the right and fired in a low cross which looked like it was all for nothing but Wilshere had other ideas. He played a one-two with Ozil and as the ball fell for Alexis, Jack left him to it. Talking of Alexis, those legs of his never give up do they, his work rate is immense. Monreal was another who stood out and another who has been criticised by many all too often…
That was enough! Our players ran their legs into the ground last night, well most of them so their commitment can’t really be called into question but, it was very clear that the squad is lacking in a number of areas but then we have being saying that for a while.
Hope of further signings has been hanging on last nights match because without Champions League qualification, Arsene Wenger would no doubt be tempted to carry on through this season with the bare essentials. Well we have now qualified and if he really wants to win this big trophy, or the Premier League, then he really has to secure three signings between now and 11pm on the 1st September.
A big ask in just five, but not an unreasonable one as football is all about winning, not about merely surviving and if we carry on through the season with the squad we have now, we will seriously struggle.
Yesterday we drew Southampton in the Capital One Cup, thankfully it’s a home fixture but regardless, it’ll be tricky.
This afternoon we’ll find out who we’ll face in the group stages of the Champions League, the draw takes place at 4.30pm.
Then of course, it’s a trip to Leicester on Sunday followed by an International break….
Come on then Arsene, go and show some intent during the last few days of the transfer window!
You may not want to but you know you have to!
That’s it for another day…..