There is no getting away from the fact that Arsenal were dire against the Belarus Champions BATE on Thursday night and only managed three shots on target in the whole 90 minutes, although we did get the ball in the back of the net once. Petr Cech thinks it was just one of those nights. “We didn’t take our chances.” he told Arsenal.com. “I think that in the first half we played well and created enough chances to go ahead in the game, but unfortunately we didn’t take our chances and we conceded in the last minute of the half, which obviously gives them a lot of confidence and belief.
“In the second half they were waiting for the counter-attack and we were trying to find our way to score the goal and we scored one, but it was ruled as offside. We got the result we didn’t want. We want to score goals and we want to win and we want to put ourselves in a good position for the second leg, but we’ve made it more difficult for ourselves.”
A lot of fans were complaining about the state of the pitch, but Cech doesn’t think we can use that as an excuse. “It was the same for both teams. With a better pitch we would probably have put away the chances we had because you would have better service for the player, but it was the same for both teams. Regardless of that we had enough chances to win the game and we didn’t do that. We have to make sure we win the home leg now and I’m sure we can do that.”
And just to emphasise how bad a night it was for us he concluded: “Today was one of those games where if you play another couple of hours we wouldn’t have scored, but there are games like that in football. You try, you play and sometimes you go home with the result you don’t want, but you have to pick yourself up and make sure that you’re ready for the second leg. That’s the advantage of a two-leg play-off; if one game is bad you can always make up for it.”
Of course we won’t have Lacazette on the pitch at the Emirates after his sending off just to make it even harder, but with home advantage surely we can get revenge. But can we win by two clear goals if BATE just come and defend with eleven men?