Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Arsenal - No champions league silverware....again

Once again Arsenal tease us, and once again they fail in their European efforts: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/europe/4321517.stm

While overcoming a 1-3 deficit is a hurdle to overcome, especially against an inspired Bayern Munich team, hoping that Arsenal could win 2-0 at home was not too much of a stretch, especially coming on the heals of Chelsea's 4-2 drubbing of Barcelona and Lyon's 7-2 goal fest vs Bremen. This loss once again shows that Arsenal are in need of an overhaul to some extent, this formula has not worked in Europe...Henry is count on too heavily to carry the scoring load, the flowing football Arsenal plays, when it is on, is unstoppable. But there does not appear to be a "second gear" a different style of football that Arsenal can fall back on to win games when need be. I feel that teams like Chelsea can win free flowing with Robbens running around or drag it out and stick Terry, Gallas, Makelele et al in the back and go for the 1-0 win. Man U can come at you with a variety of strike combos - Van Nistelroy, Rooney, Smith, Saha,Ronaldo, Scholes or they also can plod along putting one striker and then sitting back on Keane, Ferdinand, Neville etc. AC Milan can come at you with Kaka and Crespo or control the midfield and defensive half with Maldini et al.

Other one dimensional clubs in Europe have the same problem - Real Madrid...if they are not scoring and pushing the ball up on the backs of Ronaldo, Raul, Owen, Zidane, Beckham then what do they do? Sit back play controling football and go for the 1-0? Granted, Real is still in second place in La Ligua, and Arsenal only 2 back of Man U for second place, but lets face it, these teams all strive for the ultimate prizes...Real have their 9 Champions League titles, even Nottingham Forrests (back to back!) has lifted the trophy... alas it will be one more year that Arsenal does not lift the trophy.

2 comments:

samsternjones said...

Hey froggy, what are you thoughts on last season, did they just not need another gear cause they were so good, or did they have it?

GFC said...

Good point Mr jones. But let us look at last year's run.

During the Premier Championship title run they had the regular presence of players like Edu, Gilberto in the midfield and the forgotten man: Parlour. These players allowed Arsenal to play the grinding style that was sometimes needed to rack up points. While Parlour did not have such a large presence as he had in other seasons, but his very presence and ability to do the dirty work when on the pitch allowed players like Pires, Viera, Berkhamp etc run free flowing football. In addition, Henry was out of this world last season, this year he is merely the best striker in the Prem. The ability to play this style works very well during a long championship run.

In addition last season we saw the problems Arsenal faced when playing in the Champions League. they once again struggled in the group stages, needing a huge win at Inter Milan to get through to the knock stages. Then in the quarter finals they succomb to Chelsea at Highbury. Arsenal were too slow to modify their style of football in the home game versus Chelsea, ending up losing the advantage of having scored an away goal.

Last year's title was a combination of high performance as well as a slightly different mix of players allowing Arsenal to grind out the season and title, but once again on the European stage they teased us only to fall short...

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