I can just imagine Arsene Wenger getting the Arsenal team (full of talent and experience all over the pitch) just before the Champions League first leg at the Emirates last night. `Right lads what I want you to do is panic if we don´t get an early goal and throw everyone forward. Leave just one player back to cope with their counter attacks. And I want the forward players to run down blind alleys and take on three defenders, don´t worry if you lose the ball´.
If he did not do this, the Frenchman could have been forgiven for wondering whether he was in some sort of time warp last night. I felt that way myself as I watched the Sky Sports panel of Thierry Henry, Souness and Redknapp struggle to understand how the Gunners could have been so abject and naive.
That sort of game does not happen every week or even very often but it does keep happening. In his post match interview reported by ESPN, Wenger called our defending suicidal and only just stopped short of calling his players a bunch of useless brainless idiots and he was about as exasperated as I have ever seen him.
The Arsenal boss declared, “Congratulations to Monaco, they had a perfect result and played the game they wanted to play. On our side, I believe that we missed the chances and we were a bit suicidal defensively.
“We were not at the level defensively and we were a bit unlucky as well because the first goal is deflected. On the second and the third goal we were suicidal.
“We had the luck to come back to 2-1, but not the right to give away a goal the way we did because that makes our task extremely difficult in the second leg.
“It looks like we lost our nerve and our rationality on the pitch. The heart took over the head and at that level it doesn’t work.
“Our weakness was more down to mentality. We rushed our game, we knew coming back at half-time it was important not to concede a second goal and we were too impatient.
“Mentally we were not ready or sharp enough to get into this game. We paid for it.
“Monaco are a team who are strong physically with a good physical density and we missed the chances. If you look at the number of chances we missed, at that level you cannot afford that.
“We used our hearts more than our brains.
“The players wanted to do well and come back when it was 2-1. They wanted to come back to 2-2 and forgot their elementary cautiousness.”
People make mistakes but when they keep repeating the same mistakes, with the same results, you have to wonder what is going on. Last season we did this sort of thing against Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City and this season we did it against Dortmund and Man United. And now Monaco and this was the worst because the Man City game and others suggested that we had finally learned our lesson.
So how can Wenger get the Gunners out of this time warp?