Well that didn’t go as as planned, or as we hoped did it. The 2-0 defeat means the battle for top spot will go down to the final game in a weeks time. Arsenal face Zurich at The Emirates whilst PSV Eindhoven travel to Norway to play Bodo/Glimt. Both fixtures kick off at 8pm.
I think the best way, or the only way to describe Arsenal’s performance last night is disappointing. Any get up and go the players might have had before kickoff, got up and went. VAR came to our rescue on more than one occasion but eventually, PSV scored and then killed us off with a second. Up front, we lacked any kind of potency and I think I’m right in saying that the closest we came to beating their keeper came from Eddie Nketiah.
The result last night now means we need to win next Thursday as a draw will not necessarily secure top spot, not if PSV beat Bodo because their goal difference in the head to head is superior, as is their goal tally in general. We huffed and puffed a bit in Zurich and if the last few Arsenal performances are to go by, the home fixture won’t necessarily be any easier.
Ordinarily, I’d be tempted to suggest that our performance last night was down to second string team and rotation etc but the dip in form has been evident in the Premier League too, certainly against Southampton in the last match, against Leeds too the week before.
Nketiah didn’t have a good game but then neither did Martinelli, Odegaard or Tierney. Lokonga wasn’t brilliant either but no worse than Partey when he came on. No one stood out for playing well in my opinion.
Mikel spoke about the game afterwards.
On disappointment at how the team competed:
Yeah, it’s the end of a long run. Today’s the first defeat after a long period. It’s time to reset, to analyse what happened. Congratulations to PSV – they were the better team and they deserved to win the game. There’s no question about that. We were nowhere near our level today, especially the way we competed.
On why we looked a bit ‘off’ in some of the duels:
They were on top of that. Last week it was all ours and today it was very different. When that happens against top teams, it’s very difficult to win. Apart from any other aspects, today we were extremely poor.
Mikel Arteta went on to say that it’s his job to get more out of his players and I’m sure he will. We’re not sitting top of the Premier League by luck. We’ve earned that by playing well and winning football matches. One defeat doesn’t suddenly make this group of players bad and when nearly every player has an off night, winning is almost impossible. Arsenal got what they deserved from the game. Nothing.
Next up for Arsenal is Liverpool conquerors, Nottingham Forest, the club which knocked us out of the FA Cup last season. Thankfully, nearly 60,000 Arsenal fans will be behind the players on Sunday so hopefully, we’ll pick our performance level up a few notches and we’ll need to if we want to take maximum points from the game and stop the media from hitting the ‘same old Arsenal’ button.
Arsenal’s women won though, 3-1 against Zurich, a scoreline which if the men can repeat against the same club next Thursday, then happy days.
Lastly, awful news came out of Italy yesterday evening of an incident in which Pablo Mari was one of six people stabbed whilst out shopping. He’s fine, albeit wounded, but the cashier died. What is going on in this world….
See you in the comments.