Tagged: Anderlecht

Arsenal 3 – 3 Anderlecht: Did that Really Just Happen?

So, that just happened.

A night’s rest did not wash away Arsenal’s most recent debacle. The Gunners 3-3 draw with Anderlecht means the possibility Arsenal could just slip into the Europa League is still there. It’s unlikely but not impossible.

It was all looking so good too.

There was a liveliness in attack that suggested, even though it took almost 30 minutes, that the goals were coming and that things wouldn’t be as frustrating as against Burnley or as generous as it was from Sunderland. It was still mainly down to Alexis Sanchez though, who had a part in all three goals.

Love that guy by the way. As I stated before, Sanchez is Arsenal’s Best Buy in Recent Seasons. If anyone is going to get the gig as my favorite player when Thierry Henry retires it could well be Sanchez. Cesc Fabregas had his chance and, well, we know what happened there.

It was in midfield and defense, again, that the problems occurred. Mikel Arteta was okay, as were the fullbacks but Santi Cazorla was anonymous and Aaron Ramsey still struggling for form. The wonderfully composed centerback display from Nacho Monreal was a pleasure to watch as well.

As has been the case throughout the season, and pretty much most seasons during Arsenal’s recent history, the Gunners never really looked solid defensively. Even Arsene Wenger admitted as much during his post-game interview.

There’s really not too much else to say about what happened in terms of individual, tactical or other errors as most of them are pretty obvious. It basically boils down to a repetition of the same old gripes.

Anderlecht looked dangerous throughout and, offside goal aside, credit to them for coming back. When Arsenal got through a few early scares including Wojciech Szczesny’s stopping Sacha Kljestan’s abominable mustache from scoring(the US midfielder could seriously play a role in the next Anchorman if he keeps that thing in shape and he resembled Clive Owen in one of his mustache-wearing roles from afar).

The duo of Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini seem just able to cut it against the likes of Sunderland and Burnley defensively but when it’s just one of them things are dodgy and sometimes fall apart very quickly. It may be better with a proper defensive midfielder but even they won’t be any help if Monreal continues to play centerback.

A better team may not have needed as long to come back, or may not have been in the comeback position at all. When watching the replay and the stream froze after Anderlecht’s opener I considered calling it a day.

Partly because an ambiguous but, my brother being my brother, Arsenal being Arsenal and me being me, ominous WhatsApp message left me weary of watching the game in the first place.  I just felt that the eventual result was coming once the first goal popped in. Call me a negative Nancy if you want but you can look back through the seasons and see plenty of evidence to know that that’s just typical Arsenal.

One other thing to point to was Arsene Wenger’s substitutions. They weren’t really going to change the game.

Podolski provides a threat in  and around the box but wouldn’t really scare Anderlecht on the break, while Tomas Rosicky showed once or twice that he’s shaking off cobwebs due to a lack of playing time. Arsenal really weren’t enough control at that point for either of them to be effective when you consider those things.

On a side note, let’s again admire a young talent who, for once, I wouldn’t mind Wenger spending money on before other pieces(Not really). Yoeri  Tielemans is still only 17 but I really wouldn’t mind him joining sooner rather than later.

Swansea lies in wait over the weekend before the international break. A tie or a loss will make things even more interesting with Manchester United(home) and Borussia Dortmund(home) the next two fixtures after some rest. We’ll see what happens.

Until next time.



Anderlecht 1 – 2 Arsenal: Happy Birthday Wenger

F@()@(*g lucky, and undeserved. That about sums up Arsenal’s 2-1 victory over Anderlecht in the Champions League. 

For all the Sky Sports commentators blathering about Anderlecht being a young team etc. etc. the only time that really looked to be the case was when they gave up what should have been a surefire victory.

By the way commentators, it’s quite annoying hearing constant chatter about Arsenal rolling over their “much weaker” Champions League opponents on the night. Almost seems like you didn’t know much about them which, granted, I’m not going to say I know a whole lot but enough to know it was never going to be an easy game even from day 1. A positive result was even more in doubt after the crap that was on show against Hull City over the weekend.

Before we go into anything else, let’s wish Arsene Wenger a happy belated birthday. I’m sure your wish came true because the only thing you could have wished for was for your team not to embarrass themselves. Except, they did.

So as not to turn this into a rant let’s look at the positives.
Alexis Sanchez

The Chilean is confirming his status as one of Wenger’s best signings in recent times, and may well become one of the best ever. Yet again, he was most threatening Arsenal player on the pitch and the winner, or anything positive for really, wouldn’t have come without his contribution.

Okay, Kieran Gibbs’ goal was fantastic, and very suprising, but I guess sometimes you need that in the game of football.

Wenger’s use of six midfielders was also a bit baffling when you consider the three players who came on, Lukas Podolski, Joel Campbell and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Tomas Rosicky still didn’t feature. The omission of the Ox was understandable after his 90 minutes against Hull but why not give one of the other two a start? It couldn’t have made things any worse.

Sure, Podolski got the winner but he and Campbell did little else. That’s down to lack of playing time. Given how poor he has been when on the pitch so far this season it was a shock to see such an important contribution. World Cup winners do have little extra I guess.

Arsenal were pretty toothless throughout the game until the dying minutes and you would think it’s because they lacked the extra attacking punch another forward or winger would have brought even though Aaron Ramsey is direct. By the way, how long until the pitchforks from the fickle fans come out again for the Welshman?

Things weren’t much better in defensive midfield or defense as Mathieu Flamini’s occasional snarling at teammates was a bit comical, while 3/4 of the back four were culpable for the Anderlecht goal. Nacho Monreal let the cross come in a bit too easily, Per Mertesacker was basically in no-mans land marking no one in particular and Calum Chambers got sucked in as Andy Najar snuck in behind. Nothing much to do there expect continue to shake our heads and wish time travel was available.

Continuing with the defensive theme, Anderlecht 17-year-old midfield starlet, Yoeri Tielemans, has the makings of a fantastic player. Wonder who will win the race for his signature.

The weekend brings a trip to Sunderland and fans hopeful of pouncing on a Sunderland side still recovering from their 8-0 hammering.

Professionalism is the key here as you dont want to underestimate an angry cat. The Black Cats will be keen to appease the fans at home so things will more than likely be difficult.

Until next time.