AC Milan 4-0 Arsenal
I have not been blogging recently and I must say, I’ve not really missed it. It would not be fair to solely blame the gradual declining form of Arsenal for the gradual declining form of this blog but the seemingly perpetual cycle of poor defeat followed by gentle recovery followed by poor defeat does not help. Arseblog churning one out every day at the moment beggars belief – I’d need the help of medical science to do that. Either way, every time I have sat down to put finger to keyboard I’ve run out of steam before the boiler has even been stoked. Which I suppose segues me rather well onto Arsenal.
Make no bones, this was a bafflingly bad display in a season that has been marked by them. From pretty much the off Milan had the look of a streetfighter picking a fight with an urchin. We didn’t play as a team, our passing was poor, our defending was rank, our energy was low – nothing was right. It was so easy – far too easy – for an admittedly hungry and impressive Milan. We were awful.
Wenger did not mince his words post-match, calling it Arsenal’s “worst night in Europe” and a “shocking performance”. He’s been much freer in public with his criticism of the players this season, presumably to motivate them, but it doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of difference. Besides, he knows that the buck stops with him and the sad fact is that on last night’s display, this looked to be exactly what it was – a distinctly average Arsenal side.
In the Standard yesterday there was a piece comparing the 2008 team, who won 2-0 in the San Siro, and this one. It rated all the players and came out with a tally in favour of the side of four years ago. Some of the ratings are arguable but the essence is not. This team is not as good as that one was. The decline might be gradual, but it’s there for all to see.
The amazing thing is that that 2008 team had Almunia, Eboue, Senderos and Hleb in it: four players who declined badly and who many people were happy to see go. But that night, they played as a team, with purpose and power, and they had Fabregas pulling the strings. Last night we didn’t play as a team and who was pulling the strings?
Overall then a sad end to Henry’s second spell at Arsenal, and barring some kind of miracle, a sad end to the Champions League.
It makes Saturday’s FA Cup match at Sunderland just about as massive as they get. Rotation? Forget it.
Anyway, that’s me done. Erm, enjoy your day?