Monaco defeat could just be what Arsenal needed! By Adrian Noone.
So we all still recovering from the humbling we received last week from a determined and well organised Monaco side. The victory over Everton helped to repair some of the damage done, and the promising performance of Gabriel (despite that one incident) will help to relieve some of the pressure on Wenger and the players. However, as the eternal optimist, I believe that we will look back at the Monaco game as a much needed wake up point which transformed what, lets be honest, has been a mediocre season – given relevant success of the 2013/2014 FA Cup.
We simply didn’t show up against Monaco, and I think many of the players (and fans) who have being so used to receiving the hardest Champions League draw, took the French side for granted. The team selection was solid, however the players simply didn’t turn up. Ozil was poor, he drifts in and out of games too much and in many ways he resembles Berbatov. Bags of potential but an inconsistent desire to perform. Alexis needs a rest, he carried the team through the first half of the season now it is their turn to repay him. Mertesacker, ah the BFG, we all love the Big man but I simply don’t think he has the ability for these big games, in many ways he has become the Arsenal scapegoat, something I don’t agree with. He has the passion but not the ability and I still believe he has a vital role to play in Arsenal season, albeit more as a presence off the pitch than on it. I believe Gabriel will hold his place for the forthcoming QPR match, and given another successful performance we could see the formation of a new, more balanced centre back partnership.
In previous years we have struggled in the first leg of the last 16, losing to AC Milan 4-0, and then to Munich in successive years, however the way we have responded in the reverse fixtures has often sparked a fine run of form within the team, which last year resulted in us lifting our first trophy in nine years. I believe that we once again will respond positively when we travel to Monaco in a few weeks’ time. However there is one fundamental difference compared to previous seasons; Arsenal for the most part have been on a fine run of form with eight wins in the last nine premier league games. And in many respects we failed to hit full gear in the majority of these games. I think it’s frightening what we could achieve if we are firing on all cylinders, and I believe that the Monaco defeat could be the catalyst for that. The realist in me says that we are out of the Champions league, three goals, away from home against a team built around its defensive capabilities is a big ask, maybe too big, nevertheless we should win in the style reminiscent of our 2-0 victory in Munich.
The next two games will show us how Arsenal are going to react to last week’s defeat, a win against QPR, and even a draw away to United in the Cup would set us up for a fine end to the domestic season. Monaco will teach the players to take nothing for granted and I am confident this will be seen on the field in the next two games. I foresee a revitalised Arsenal side achieve a hard fought 2-0 victory over QPR – then a confident draw (or victory) over United. We need to believe in the team and trust in Wenger and his ability to instil the character needed to come back from the disappointment of the Champions league – and carry this into the remainder of our domestic season. We CAN finish second, and trust me that would be a huge achievement in itself, I also expect us to retain our FA cup as long as we can bypass the old enemy and finally achieve a much warranted victory over United.
Come on you Gooners lets all get behind our club for the rest of the season and prove to everyone we are not specialist in failure but procurers of success COYBIG!