Arsene Wenger was never going to be happy to see his Arsenal side go out of the Champions League at the hands of his former club Monaco. If they had been the better team over the two legs, however, I sense that he would have found it easier to take.
As it is, the Frenchman says that, even though the Gunners were our own worst enemy for the way we played in the first leg at the Emirates, Monaco did not really do enough to go through and rode their luck in both legs. As his post match interview on the Arsenal website explains, he pointed out that the home side did not have single shot on target last night.
The boss said, “I felt the performance was enough tonight, but it was a very difficult task. At half-time, the game could have been over with the chances we created, overall we pay that in the first game we did not produce the performance we wanted. Monaco played at home, have zero shots on target and yet go to the quarter-final.”
In fact they only had three shots in total compared to our 17, with seven on target and the stats from the first leg are much more even as well. They only registered three more shots on target in that game and when you consider that not one of Giroud’s attempts made their keeper work, while their opening goal came from a wicked deflection, you can see Wenger’s point.
I can certainly understand his frustration, which included being very unimpressed with the referee last night, but the fact remains that we opened the door for Monaco to get lucky and they made the most of it. We showed in Monaco just what we thought, that Arsenal are the better team. Unfortunately we just did not do it at home for whatever reason.
Wenger continued, “We had a good game tonight, but no luck. Congratulations to them, but we are having quite a positive series going on. People over analysed the match in a positive way, because if you look at the stats again they did not dominate the game, but played really well on the counter and were not cautious enough. After the first goal we were not patient enough.
“Football is not a fairytale, it is a matter of being realistic and being clinical, maybe a bit lucky as well, maybe that is part of the game. If you go out after the group stages, you have no chances after to play again (at this level), like you do in the Europa League.”
The stats also show that Arsenal should be challenging for the Premier League title, but stats butter no parsnips. So is Wenger right to say that Monaco were lucky?