CSKA Moscow v Arsenal review – Great goal – Gunners go through!

It was always going to be a balancing act for Arsenal in the second Europa League quarter-final against CSKA Moscow, with a 4-1 lead almost securing progress but the other midweek games offering a telling reminder of what can happen in football.

To be fair to Arsene Wenger, the warnings did not go ignored as he selected the strongest possible side. And for most of the first half it was all going according to plan, but then a couple of great chances for the Gunners went begging and a goal for Moscow changed the mood and by half time we were hanging on and biting our nails.

I think the boss got his tactics right, though, as the attacking options we had seemed sure to get that away goal that would seal the deal. The problem was that the likes of Ozil, Ramsey, Lacazette and Wilshere could not get anything going.

The second CSKA goal just five minutes after the break really got us worried, not least the players who struggled to cope and looked like crumbling. I was just thinking about how much Arsenal were missing Xhaka when his replacement, Elneny, pulled off an absolute dream of a pass to assist Welbeck to score that crucial goal.

Danny started and finished the move with real skill and great desire and the importance of it with 15 potentially horrible minutes to play is impossible to measure. It was a fantastic piece of play from the two which perhaps shows that we do possess the character that we need to succeed.

After that the result was never in doubt. Ramsey scored late on to give us a draw we scarcely deserved but the Gunners are through and will find out our semi-final opponents tomorrow. COYG


  1. Getting through is what counts. Not the best performance by far, and we cut it close, but had the quality to kill the tie off. Hard going to Russia and winning, we’ve seen many teams travel there and lose. Ramsey and Welbeck really the only ones who produced, and Welbz only kicked into gear towards the end of the match but scored goal that counted. Have to say Cech was really poor, and Wilshere just looks bang out of place in our midfield still. Semis we’ll need to be better away from home.

      1. Especially with results in Europe these 3 days. I was going to criticise them but watching other results, I decided to rest my case. Have a good evening everyone!!!

    1. —RSH

      Ramsey produced? I think we watched different games. He gave away ball after ball after ball. Was constantly too far forward I’m buildups trying to get balls in-behind, leaving his midfield partners horribly exposed. Gave away the ball that lead to the seconds goal, and then failed to step to block it.
      If he had some positional discipline and technical ability in tight spaces to match his work rate he might be world class.
      People will look at his goal, but fail
      To acknowledge the game was dodgy to begin with because of his average footballing ability.
      Most of y’all would hope we get more players like Ramsey, failing to acknowledge that players of his ilk have us as the midtable squad we are.

      At least we’re through

      1. Nonsense, one bad performance by the entire team and you take it as an opportunity to take a swipe at one of the best two players this season and one of the leagues best CM players too. The three up front gave us nothing for near the entire game and two of the three in midfield were not as bad as the set in front nor the set of defenders behind them. Wilshere was the one really poor midfielder. But the change the manager made nearly focked us the most until he finally brought off Wilshere and put Elneny with Ramsey.

        1. One of the league’s best CMs, you having a laugh?
          Why do you think the team performance was so poor?

          People want arsenal to challenge for titles, won’t happen with Ramsey central. Highest finish we’ve had in a decade was 2nd, and I’ll wait for you to tell me who our midfield 3 was.

            1. Stands up well, for who? For a team whose fans are screaming for them to win the title, or someone like west ham/Everton? Again I’ll ask again, with Ramsey guaranteed in the XI in ink what’s the highest we’ve finished in the league?

              Listen, I’m happy we’re through and I hope we win it all, but I think we want that for different reasons. I want it on the hopes that it brings with it a new manager, and new quality players as brought in by said new mgt and the new scout person/technical director-type we brought in.

              If all that results is more of the same, I don’t want that. I don’t want 6th place and not even close to being good enough to challenge. The result today was great, but the quality of football on display was poor. Poor. I won’t apologize for wanting Arsenal to play to a higher standard.

              1. You are the one who singled out this single performance. I then told you exactly what I thought. You are the one who conveniently came up with how Xhaka Cech Bellerin Mustafi Koscielny’s mistakes all adds up to Ramsey being a poor CM player. There were allot of mistakes but how you came to that conclusion I’ll never know.

                1. Huh? I said what? Xhaka didn’t play, for one. For two, Ramsey is solely responsible for his average Arsenal performances. He’s definitely proven that over the years.

                  1. I said he’s been one of the leagues top performers this season. And you said, are you joking, why do you think the team performance was so poor. You said we won’t challenge for titles with Ramsey, and then talked about previous finishes. So you basically put the season down to Ramsey even though he’s one of our brightest.

                    Look dude, are you a Wilshere fan or something, like look what transpired yet you single out this lad. It’s totally unwarranted under the circumstances. The defence?, the three guy’s ahead?, Wilshere esp?. It just doesn’t make sense unless you wanted someone to bite.

                    1. Jack not good enough either.
                      Today: the team was not balanced, not good, and Ramsey was poor. If it appears I’m singling out, then it’s only in response to those saying he was great. He was anything but.
                      Further more, today’s performance by him was par for the course for me, which is why I referenced how he has never been good enough for Arsenal since his return from injury. He doesn’t have the technical ability to be a guaranteed 8 or 10 for us.
                      David silva/KDB/gundogoan; Kroos/Modric/Isco; pogba, Iniesta/Rackitic/Rafinha; James/Thiago/; Koke, veratti, Golovin, Ericsson, dembele, Rabiot, santi cazorla/mesut — top of my head are all more technically sound and fit the style of CM that Arsenal would thrive with.

                      If you don’t get that and see that, that’s ok. Ramsey is mid table good. That’s it.

                    1. Alternatively, the two who are disagreeing about Ramsy, MAY just have different opinions on Ramseys ability. You may not have noticed but football fans often DO have varying opinions abouit all sorts of things, though this is clearly a “hanging offence” to some and sooner or later will kill ALL us fans, thus destroying our sport! Just a whimsy for you to ponder upon!

          1. Him scoring goals and such is nice and well, but if we are 6th in the table, some questions need to be answered. But claiming he is one of the best is a jk. Besides at Arsenal he could not start at any other top team in england.

            1. And you know that how, he wouldn’t start because you say so. You lot cannot be honest, much to say about this game but to use it as an excuse to bash Ramsey just shows your colour’s. If you were honest you would see that he can make a big difference for many top sides. He’s a goal scoring CM player that can also assist, defend, for the entire game. You two probably talk about Oxlade improving, which he hasn’t. You see Liv doing well so it must be Oxlade, you see Arsenal doing poor so it must be Ramsey’s a bad player like your man above said. You make things fit what you want to believe because it suits you for whatever reason.

            2. The problem of Arsenal shouldn’t be tied to one player. Arsenal has never replaced their best goal keeper, Defensive midfielder , best scorer ( Van Persie). We sold the bests and bought the average players. So, please leave Ramsay alone. He’s better than most of our average players.

      2. Yeah Elneny probably deserves more credit than I gave him. Ramsey definitely drove most of our attacks though, and I didn’t think he was that bad in midfield. 2nd goal, Wilshere is just as far away from Golovin as Ramsey is and Jack is actually the one trying to close him down and does half-heartedly. And a bit silly to rant about Ramsey giving the ball away when we all know Jack was 10 times worse and doesn’t even get into the final third with his runs anymore. Saying our poor performance was essentially down to Ramsey is just silly, and pretty biased when many other players did worse and didn’t show up. Rambo not even close to our worst midfielder today. 4 goals in 4 Europa matches. I know who I’d want on my team.

        1. Not singling out Ramsey, midfield 3 as a whole weren’t good enough. I will not accept the belief that he had a good game. If that’s what constitutes a good game then we won’t lift a prem title for a loooong time.

          1. of course that wasn’t near good enough from anyone to win anything. But for a 2 legged tie, a game where we just needed to be decent and see out the game, create a good opportunity, it was acceptable. Not MOTM worthy, but fine. Welbeck also didn’t really do anything till he scored, but that’s what is required in these tournaments especially away from home.

            1. Can’t argue that whatsoever. It was enough. Completely agree.

              Probably wasn’t the time for my particlat opinion, I just get really annoyed when people exclaim how amazing Ramsey is as a CM, yet all they use to support that claim is his engine and his desire to score. How can it not be seen that him only having those two attributes coincides directly with us regressing in our challenge for the title when he’s a guaranteed starter?

              I’m just tired of 6th.

              1. There is no reply link for me to reply under your latest comment, so I’ll say here. You talk about par for the course, this game, you’re totally in denial mate. He’s had allot of great form this season, and last two seasons he’s been on the bench more than not. You are racking up names there, but that’s a type and there are many different types. Box to box is Ramsey’s game, like it was Lampard’s only Ramsey has more technical skill and all round more about him than Lampard had. Pogba is box to box, Ramsey’s stats stand up very well against Pogba on the whole this season or haven’t you noticed. That’s all it takes with you for some reason, plenty of form then one average game and it confirms everything you want to believe. Dembelle Rakitic Golovon, are you serious, they don’t belong with some of those other names. Others aren’t even CM players, you’re using top playmakers to bash a B2B, that shows you Ramsey must be doing something right if you’re using no10s to compare him against. It’s like you’re closing your eyes and covering your ears saying nananana I don’t want to listen.

                1. He didn’t play as a 10 today? Did I not say earlier that Ramsey as a 10’is not close (though many for seasons say he shoulda been and every time he plays it it’s like it was today) and as an 8 he shouldn’t be a starter for us? That’s all I’m sayin, and to say he was “great” today is nonsensical. Simple as that.

                  You make a good point above, which in a round about way supports my argument – – Arsenal don’t need a Frank Lampard type at CM if we’re to be successful. We need a technician, Ramsey isn’t that, hence the “square peg round hole” that leads to 6th place. Can you agree to that?

                  Pogs has loads more technical ability than Ramsey. Not close. Stats don’t always tell the truth. Watch the football.
                  (Watch more Rackitic, helluva a player he’s become).

                  1. No because I believe a team can do very well with a B2B in the side. Any manager worth his salt could use Ramsey to great effect. Liv BVB Manu A.Mad Juve all like a b2b in the side. Lampard was an exceptional one on the goals front, Che done very well with him in it, as others have done with theirs at times. I have watched Pogba and I work with a utd fan, Ramsey has played better than Pogba (this season) and when it comes to goals and assists, yes the stats do actually matter so I don’t know what you’re on about there mate. Also Ramsey has a very decent accurate pass percentage which you seem to rate above all else even though people will tell you an attacking player must be good at attacking.

  2. Glad to be in the semi final..

    Frustrating to watch at times..

    Welbeck and Ramsey scored as predicted.

    Elneny my MOTM with two assists and some great work rate.

  3. Iwobi should get his eyes tested.
    Good result in the end no injurys and couldve easily have been out.
    Eleney now showing his worth hes just the player we need if he could up 1 or 2 gears.

  4. What happened to bellerin,he is not good defensively and even don’t offer anything in attack.Even Jack is also giving away ball many times.

  5. Lord Welbeck has returned. He is on fire, lol. This competition is our to take. I cant wait for tomorrows fixture. I am hoping for a finale against Atletico as i am not confident in playing them on two games. Comon you gunner!

  6. Main man AARON RAMBO RAMSEY scores again in a crucial game.

    I said in a previous article that welbeck and ramsey are the big game players we can depend on inorder to win the europa league.

    nowhere to be seen as usual.

    1. They were extremely poor I must admit. The defence too just about every-one of them other than Cech.

  7. Well played elneny & welbeck. Much better after Wilshire left the pitch. Sad to say, but time to go Jack. U don’t deserve the contract your after. Sign what’s offered or go to a lower club. Squad player at best on the last few appearances.

  8. Pls am not hater Jack Wilshire should just go with Arsen Wenger any time he is ready to go

  9. Praying we draw marseille.

    we tend to do great against french opposition.
    we even troubled Psg alot last season in the champions league.

    athletico madrid also are not that strong but prefer a final against them.just one game

  10. Elneny best player with two great assists and was all over the pitch.
    Biggest disappointment for me was Jack.
    Good result in the end.
    Looking forward to the draw in the morning.

  11. It is utterly surprising to start to read negative comments on our general performance. We did what Barcelona and Real Madrid couldn’t do (both lost return legs of what seemed easy ride after great first leg result). Even A.Madrid lost to Sporting. I know that is genius of Simone to some Arsenal fans and a draw away in Moscow is awful by AW. If it was Mouriho that won first leg convincingly and managed a draw away to the same CSKA it would master game plan.
    Guys…,it’s time you appreciate and support this team. For me, it’s job well done by the team.

    1. It’s really not surprising we have so many negative people on this site, I agree with you we won and that’s good surely. Sadly not enough for some.

        1. @Mwsupporter- Thanks. We are still in Europe…in semifinal….I am glad. We all preferred UCL but sorry EL is still at a European competition and we are making headway. We are one of the last two in Europe level.

    2. The reason so many are negative, is because we are awful every game, especially in defence, hence our shocking record against any decent opponent. We’re lucky we haven’t played a quality team in Europe, because we wouldn’t be anywhere near a semi-final.

      Hopefully we can win it, but cannot see us getting past Atletico. Although given Wenger’s constant financial excuses, we should easily get past them.

      1. Define a Quality team? Roma beating Bacalona does that make Roma a more quality team than Baca? How about Sporting beating Athletico? We beat AC Milan home and away, and now CSKA and yet we haven’t played a quality team yet. Probably this same teams would be quality if we had lost right? Truth is we never believe Arsenal can ever produce good results against good sides. So we always find a way to discredit our wins like them pundits, who rather blame our wins on our opponent’s poor performance rather than our good performance. Plastic fans! SMH.

  12. Can’t believe people are disregarding how bad we played …it very much looks like we are just a bang average europa league team and what was that admin it looked like we were missing xhaka do me a favour

  13. Great performance by the lads. Had all the blood flowing into my head after the second goal and Wilshire giving the balls away. But we came through in the end. Great skills from Welbeck. Elneny Man of the match. Ramsey exquisite goal. Bring on anyone

  14. I’m fed up with Jack Wilshere…he flatters to deceive. Wilshere is pants and at the moment I would not miss him if he left. All I hear people say about Wilshere is he plays with passion, fight and commitment. I’d rather see him play with a high level of technical ability than the show pony that he has become. I’m beginning to believe that the only reason why fans haven’t turned on him is because he is white and English.

    1. White and English my balls. What do you want fans to do with him. Find him and hang him for being out of form?

      1. it’s essentially what is done to Xhaka/Welbz/Iwobi when they play poorly. Jack has definitely been treated kinder by the fanbase despite his poor form. Ozil, Giroud, Ramsey have also taken a TON of criticism from us fans, even though they played 90% of our matches and all carried the team at different times over the years. Jack has never done this and it feels like he lives off of one game against barca to this day. Being English is definitely feels like one of the reasons, not my place to say if it has anything to do with race.

    2. I was realy pleased with JW at the begining of the season he was playing some good footbal but since talk of playing for England in the World Cup it seams his trying too hard to please but failing miserably, Jack go back to basics or just go

  15. I read a foolish comment on here, wrote by an idiotic old fan, stating that El Neny cannot give a crucial pass….Here is your answer!!!!

    1. Much as I agree with you on Elneny, I do disagree with you calling a fellow Arsenal fan “Idiotic” for making his views known. no opinion is “foolish” as its just an opinion.
      I do recall speaking up against Phil and Jon Fox who had insulted you on previous threads because they had issues with with your post on that thread. Do unto others as you would want others to do to you!

        1. Pires, You didn’t have to mention the name. Any perceptive fan here knows who you are referring to. The point is we should be polite to each other and avoid insults. Always remember that everyone has a right to their opinion whether we agree with them or not.

  16. I am delighted for all the supporters that we have went through but honestly we played s..t. one great performance in 8 is not good enough. But all in all I’ll take the result.

  17. Did you expect us to go all out when we had a three goal lead to protect? AW set up the team to counter CSKA and it would have gone to plan if not for the individual defensive errors (Cech; most at fault with his poor punches which provided the opportunity for the goals. Kocielny; not commanding enough, lost too many headers and did not provide leadership to the other players. Mustafi; another headless chicken/raging bull performance, his ball watching has cost us goals in two consecutive matches. Bellerin; what can I say? playing more like Jerkinson with each passing day. Was nowhere to be found when the two goals went in from players he should have been marking. Monreal; best of the lot but guilty of not winning the header that resulted in the first goal conceded.
    If the defence had kept a clean sheet in the first half, CSKA would have taken more risks and left more gaps for us to explore and put the game to bed earlier!
    Wilshere’s pattern of play slows down and kills attacks. Holds on to the ball too long instead of releasing to a player who is open, ends up either losing possession or being fouled. Very poor today and contributed greatly to the poor midfield display until he went off.
    If we had gone gun-ho and ended up losing the tie, you’d be here saying they should have played more conservative! damned if they do and damned if they don’t innit?

    1. @Nice one Abel. If it was Mourinno or Pep that pulled this off , it would be sheer genius. We don’t appreciate what we have,

  18. Just want to say well done to those fans that traveled to Moscow for the game and can one of you bring me back one of those hats they gave Arsenal fans ??

  19. Two teams left in Europe and no coincidence both have an Egyptian running the show for them

  20. Game finishes at midnight in Moscow, no chance of a flight home, cargo only that time of night, back to the hotel 1-30 am, 8 hours sleep, up at 10, get to airport 11-30, check in, flight 1-00 pm, lands at at Luton 5 pm, get away 6 pm, get home between 7 or 8 pm, in on Friday for some light training, fly to Newcastle Saturday for the game, get to St James’s Park 12 Noon on Sunday for a 1-30 kick and they still couldn’t let us have the late kick off. D’you know why? Because they would to ask their beloved Manchester United to kick off early. Can you imagine the outcry, “WHAT, US KICK OFF EARLY, ARE YOU MAD, WE NEVER DO EARLY KICK OFF’S”.

    1. Sorry, makes it even worse, in on Saturday for some light training, evening flight to Newcastle.

  21. I wonder why it bothers certain people when Ramsey scores, for some reason it bugs the hell out of them. They can’t just say nice one we needed that, or not bad finishing for a CM player all the same. It’s like they had some much trash to say about him that they’re determined to stay on the same page, and they say Arsene is stubborn, it must be catching. You got yourself stuck in a moment there lads, you’ve gotta get yourselves out of it.

    1. You ever stop and think maybe we wouldn’t be in the position we were in in the game, that required the goal, had his poor play not put us there to begin with?

      That’s all man. No hate. He just reflects who we are – 6th place

      1. I just read Roy Keane’s opinions on Wilshere and why he thinks he’s so overrated. He said for an attacking player he doesn’t score much goals does he, he said he doesn’t get assists. That’s the thing, attacking players are there to score and assist, it boils down to that. If any attack minded player is weighing in on that front well then on the large he is doing what he’s put there to do, no arguments. If others are under-performing you cannot lay that on Ramsey’s feet, he’s performing, that’s what it’s called when you make very few mistakes and are scoring, assisting, on top of midfield duties.

        1. Make very few mistakes? That’s where we completely disagree. He consistently gives the ball away, consistently tries flicks and tricks and shots that don’t come off, consistently leaves his position to get forward to try to score only to leave his midfield partner exposed.
          Square peg round hole. His style is not what Arsenal need in an 8. He may be good, but not for the style we want to play. That’s all.

          I can concede he might be this player people say he is, but not for Arsenal Football Club. He’s not technical enough. Trying to force him in – along with countless others – is a massive contributing factor to our lack of success.

          1. See that to me sounds like past tense, he was allot like that which is why he seen the bench allot of the time. Its why I said earlier they seem to be stuck on the same page and cannot just digest what they are seeing. Yes he’s going forward but he is supposed to, he is getting back into shape as well as having two other midfielders who’s job it is to not let it become an immediate danger. All players will lose the ball in the final third, its a hard place to work in. But if a team breaks and beats two midfielders our defenders and the GK, that’s not on any player who loses the ball in the final third. But again, you are not saying what you are seeing, you’re saying what you want to see.

            1. Wrong.
              Loses the ball repeatedly in the defensive and middle third; constantly abandons his position when playing as an 8, and even more so when playing as a 10.
              You keep taking pieces of my statements and then changing them to fit your narrative. You acknowledge his turnovers in the final third, but say nothing about the ones all over the other areas of the field.
              Give it a rest.

  22. Cech’s getting allot of hate on social media. I thought that was a great save on the first goal with how close the player was and where he directed it. Arsenal defenders were the ones that fluffed it, first Monreal then Mustafi just allowing that player ahead like Keown mentioned. Someone in here said it too, that Mustafi should be quicker in reading a rebound. I don’t think he could have done much about the second, and he made a great save from a free kick that he couldn’t see til late. Seriously, is it me or did he have a bad game.

    1. Break-on-through, agree with you on Cech’s good performance in making the initial saves; the only proviso would be that for the second goal, as he got both hands to it and its height he may have been able to catch the ball.
      For the first goal Monreal was a bit weak in competing for the initial header which Cech saved and Mustafi failed to follow the run of Chalov, who scored from the rebound. With the second goal, a younger Cech may have caught the ball, but again Monreal failed to follow the run of Nababkin who scored from the rebound.
      With regard to Elneny, I believe he is under rated, maybe because he cost £5million. He is a quiet achiever. His header for the disallowed for off side goal was excellent, his interchange with Welbeck was Arsenal of old, the final through pass was perfectly weighted for Welbeck to score and his pass to put Ramsay one on one with the goal keeper showed great vision. In addition he ran through on the left of Ramsay to be available for a pass if required.
      We must admit that the finishes from Welbeck and Ramsay were first class; Welbeck’s confidence in front of goal appears to be growing, despite one miss against Southampton. Maybe he can become the wide player Arsenal needs. Note the first person to congratulate Welbeck was Lacazette, who made many runs throughout the match, but rarely picked out.

      1. Thanks for the reply mate. I see where you’re coming from on all points. Maybe a younger Cech might have done a wee bit better. Elneny is underrated, his passing is massively underrated. People don’t like when he plays it safe, but he’s a defender so will use caution. He’s a capable player, not a world beater of course but I like his reliability. The goals were good and I was delighted Elneny made them. Welbz is making a case lately all the same, Lacazette needs to add some intensity to his game.

  23. The defending was such agony…. can’t help but to ask wtf was the defenders doing?

    Boils was great for us. But I have to say, his time is up together w the old fool. There was no spirit in what the defenders are doing.

    They are nervous and looked more like school boys in distress. Seriously, no one can blame fans for no attending the matches. Maybe horror stories ain’t a good idea for them.

  24. Very relieved

    4 teams left
    Atletico Madrid

    Madrid are still the favorites but we got a chance.
    I hope we don’t get Madrid in next round
    I don’t fancy our chances in 2 legs
    Madrid have more higher quality players
    In final anything can happen though
    But not in my hand

    Also even if we get Salzburg or Marseille. They still have quality to beat us
    Wish we had Aubameyang

  25. I wish Mkhitaryan can recover as soon as possible. I notice ozil plays a lot better along side him. Iwobi is just not ready…

    1. Yes. Ozil needs quality players in front, behind and next to him to get the best out of him. Like Mkhitaryan and Cazorla when he was playing.

      We desperately need another Cazorla type player and defensive midfielder who can get the ball to Ozil

      Iwobi is no where near good enough to start yet.

      Its really exciting watching Ozil, Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang/Lacazette play attacking football. Pity its taken years to get it right

  26. I personally love Jack so much. I still want him to be at Arsenal. I know he was not influential yesterday but was he that bad..?? He didn’t lose the ball that many times… He lost d ball only 3 times.

    1. I lile Wilshere too
      Very useful player to have
      I hope we upgrade central midfield but still hope we keep Jack

  27. Czech,Mustafi and Wilshere please exit first door left.Elneny was the top player but would be have played it xhaka had been fit?

    1. We need a squad not just 11 starters
      By all means get a top CB, CM and GK
      But Cech, Wilshere and Mustafi are still useful of the bench
      We can’t afford to buy World Class players to fill the bench

  28. Mustafi, Czech and Wilshere are regarded by Wenger as being in his first eleven.The current squad players including Holding,Elneny and Maitland Niles are likely to remain as such next season.My point is that neither Wenger nor the three first team picks are not good enough for this club and as such the quicker their services are dispensed with the better .

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