FC Porto (2) – (1) Arsenal
Estadio do Dragao
For Sol Campbell this was his return to Champions League football since the heartbreaking final in 2006, where he marked with his last game for Arsenal with a headed goal. He scored a valuable goal tonight and just like in Paris we lost this game 2-1.
Football’s a funny old game isn’t it?
But co-incidences and irony aside, this was a poor night for Arsenal.
At a time when Arsenal find themselves just about back in the title race and supposed to be showing determination, solidarity and spirit to kick on for the last part of the season they were a collective shambles.
Almunia was injured (Arsene’s code for dropping a goalkeeper) and started with Fabianski. Unfortunately, whenever Almunia has played poorly and given Fabianski a chance (and there’s been a lot) the young Polish keeper hasn’t stepped up. He looks terrified and you couldn’t even say that he’s completely inexperienced. He’s made over 30 appearances now.
Vito Mannone is the best goalkeeper we have at the football club. And that’s saying something about the dire situation Arsenal are in.
The two goals Arsenal conceded were so shambolic they are something you would see on a second rate Christmas bloopers compilation DVD but unfortunately for Arsenal fans there was nothing funny about the ridiculous and quite frankly amateurish mistakes we seem to be making lately.
We’ve debated why Arsene doesn’t teach defence but do we actually have a goalkeeping coach?
The sheer ridiculousness of the mistakes Arsenal make these days are just depressing now.
I would compare the mistakes to ones made in Sunday league football but that would be a huge insult to Sunday league football.
Against Manchester United, terrible defending made Nani look like Ronaldo. The fact is he is an average player and we made him look world class. Against Chelsea, more shocking mistakes gave Chelsea an easy victory.
And tonight? Well you wouldn’t believe it unless you saw the game.
Their first goal was a cross from the wide right and for some reason he wasn’t set, and despite the fact the ball was just going across the goal Fabianski amazingly managed to turn the ball into his own net.
This is basic level stuff, and I have no idea what our goalkeepers do in training. Probably overhead kicks and heading.
Similar stuff to the Nani/Almunia goal against Manchester United a few weeks ago, so it’s good to know Fabianski is learning from Arsenal’s number one.
And the second goal was just as farcical.
The ball was running back to the goalkeeper with no threat from any Porto player, Sol clipped the ball and instead of kicking it, Fabianski picked it up.
Now, you can debate whether it was Campbell’s or Fabianski’s fault for conceding the indirect freekick in the penalty area, but what happened afterwards was even more farcical. Instead of holding up play (we even do this in my local Sunday league games) they literally handed Porto the ball, and stood off as they rolled the ball into the net.
In a Champions League game of this magnitude and could very well shape our season, we do not one, but two stupid things!
I can’t explain what the hell is going on with Arsenal at the moment.
Arsene can moan about rules and the freekick but the sad and sobering truth is Arsenal are a shambles. We’re not ruthless enough to kick the ball away or waste time nevermind win enough games to win the league.
Are Arsenal’s players just over pampered kids who don’t understand football?
Teams and players that have experienced success know what it takes to grind out a result or get a slight advantage here and there, but none of our players seem to have a clue.
Remember the Thierry Henry days when we were the team that would punish teams with quick freekicks and nice little tricks? That used to be us.
But nowadays we’re seeing the same ridiculous mistakes time and time again from our players, and I’m just sick and tired of it.