Tag Archives: Champions League

Arsenal need to learn Champions League lessons

There is a lot that Arsenal can learn from Tuesday nights Champions League games ahead of tonight’s tie against CSKA Moscow.

The ultimate lesson is do not try and defend the lead.

Barcelona went to Rome with a 4-1 lead from the home league. They were in a similar situation as Arsenal face tonight. A 3 goal lead, but with the opponents having a crucial away goal.

Whilst Barcelona had the majority of the possession, they did little with it. Pass, pass, pass. Sideways, sideways, sideways. 57% of the possession resulting in just 9 shots.

Manchester City did similar with a 4-0 lead over Basel.

They were leading 4-0 from the away leg, but lost the home leg 2-1. Despite having 78% of the possession, and going 1-0 up, they were just not interested in scoring.

Liverpool in the first half against Manchester City on Tuesday was a similar story. They were defending deep, looking to hold on to what they had rather than increase their lead.

It was only in the second half when Liverpool decided to attack that the momentum of the tie changed. What was looking like being an incredible Manchester City come back ended up with Liverpool leaving the Manchester Commonwealth Games Stadium having won both the battle and the war.

Tonight Arsenal need to be aggressive. They need to come out and play their normal game. To attack. To not let CSKA Moscow get back in the game.

As we saw on Tuesday with both Barcelona and Manchester City, the first goal can change the complexion of the tie.

Manchester City scored in the first 3 minutes. This forced Liverpool even deeper. Had City’s second “goal” not been wrongly disallowed, I am sure they would have gone on to win the game.

Roma were similar. They scored in the 6th minute. And when Daniele De Rossi scored the second goal, Barcelona players looked scared.

In 90 minutes, it is the equivalent of being 2-0 up. You’re in control. Should cruise to the end. A few substitutes come on. Starting to relax. Then it is 2-1. It is hard to then get back on the front foot, get the mentality right, and often it ends up 2-2.

This is the same for Arsenal. At 4-1, we should get through, but we need to show the right attitude. We need to get on the front foot and ensure that we are dictating the game and being a threat. Just a single Arsenal goal in Moscow will change the tie, as it takes out the away goals. But to get that goal, Arsenal need to attack.

We saw is against Ostersunds.

A poor attitude led to sloppy defending which led to the Swedish minnows going 2-0 up after 23 minutes. Arsenal started the goal with the wrong attitude, thinking they could just pass their opponents off the pitch, and nearly ended up paying.

Against AC Milan, leading 2-0 from the away leg, Arsenal conceded first at home. Hakan Calhanoglu scoring from 30 yards looked to change the tie. Luckily Arsenal shook themselves down and responded quickly.

If we go 1-0 down tonight, we could be in for a long 90 minutes as the natural response will be to defend deeper.

Arsenal need to learn the lessons from the Champions League and come out attacking.

Be aggressive and we go through.

Keenos

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Only The Arsenal matter

Yesterday Liverpool proved that they are the greatest team of all time, with the greatest manager of all time. In Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain they have the most improved player of all time. The hyperbole from the media and fans was almost as cringe as Spurs appealing for a goal to be given to Harry Kane.

Fair play to Liverpool though. They were under dogs against Manchester City and performed well to knock them out – even though they got a huge slice of luck from the referee with a goal disallowed that would have made it 3-2 on aggregate.

Despite running away with the Premier League, Manchester City have now suffered 3 defeats in a row. 4 losses in 6 games, and 3 home losses on the trot.

It is not a massive surprise about Manchester City’s recent stumble.

At Bayern Munich, Pep Guardiola’s side always seemed to struggle in the last quarter of the season

In 2013/14, Munich messed up a chance of an unbeaten season when they drew 1, lost 2 on the spin. In April they were also defeated by Real Madrid in the Champions League. A year later, they lost 3 on the spin in the Bundesliga and were once more knocked out of the Champions league at the semi-final stage.

Whilst in both seasons, the defeats happened after the title was sown up, it still highlights a fall off in performance at the later end of the season.

Pep Guardiola is so intense, his training sessions, the way he deals with players, etc, that it is only natural that they get burn out. We are maybe now seeing the same with Manchester City.

A defeat to Spurs at the weekend could see Man City not securing the league title until May. It will be a case of limping over the line for a team that was considered one of the greatest in history (after the current Liverpool side).

Anyway, I did not watch the Champions League game. I have no real interest.

Instead I watched The Island with Bear Grylls. Great TV viewing if you are not already on it. Hopefully in the next episode, whalers will come along and harpoon the 3 poor people. Workshy, lazy, overweight wastes of oxygen. They are a disgrace to working class folk who grind 10 hours a day to put food on the table.

All I care about is Thursday. The Europa League.

At 4-1, you would think Arsenal are comfortable. But last night Barcelona went to Rome with a 4-1 lead from the home leg. They lost 3-0 and went out on away goals.

This result could be good for Arsenal. Arsene Wenger should make players watch the game on the flight to Moscow, to avoid complacency.

To those going out there, enjoy the game, stay safe.

A final thought of the day…

Up the Arsenal.

Keenos

Cheap Arsenal tickets and Cologne still not sold out

Numerous times in the past I have blogged about my dislike for Champions League football.

A mixture between having the same old opponents, the same predictable performances from Arsenal, my dislike for UEFA and their money making machine, and my total dislike for mid week football.

Whilst I understood the annoyance of many when we made the Europa League, both due to finishing below Spurs and the financial implications, I really was not that bothered. At least we are in a competition we might win.

Making the Europa League also saw my season ticket drop dramatically.

There are 11 of us going out to Germany for the match against Cologne – trains rather than flying – and it is going to be a quality 3 day bender with a good bunch of people. But I digress.

For years many of us have complained about match ticket prices. Season tickets are too expensive. Single match day tickets are too expensive – peaking at £126.It is alienating the normal fan. A dad can no longer take his 2 sons to a game without taking out a second mortgage.

Taking into account how many people complain online about ticket prices, it came as a shock that tickets for Cologne in the Europa League were still on sale.

 

Tickets are now on sale via the Friends and Family service to all valid members of the Arsenal membership using the Ticketfast print at home facility. This service allows Arsenal members to buy an additional 4 tickets on their membership account.

So a member can now buy an additional 4 tickets on their membership account – on top of the one they are already allowed to buy, making it 5 in total.

The reason I am surprised tickets are on sale is due to how cheap the tickets are:

Junior Gunners can but tickets for as low as £4.25. Adult tickets start at £15.50 and the most expensive tickets are £23.50. These are dirt cheap.

Even if your lads are not  Junior Gunner’s, a dad can take his 2 kids for around £75 max, if he go’s for the most expensive tickets.

What has happened to all those people who constantly moan about ticket prices? Why have they not picked up tickets for a Thursday night game?

Last season in the Champions League we played PSG at the group stages. My ticket for that game was £64. The most expensive tickets were £126. The game sold out in no time, and I was able to shift my ticket on the ticket exchange with no problem.

What I am getting it is how so many people seem to pay lip-service to ticket prices. They use it as an excuse not to go to games, but when tickets are more than reasonable – it is cheaper to go to Cologne v Arsenal than the next Leyton Orient home fixture in the Conference – they also do not go.

It is no surprise tickets are so high when people eat up the Cat A tickets within seconds, yet the Cat C and EL4GS tickets struggle to sell out.

My theory is ticket prices are not the problem. The problem is too many fans want to pick and choose what game to go to. They do not want to go to Stoke, Doncaster or Cologne. They only care about going to see Arsenal play Man U, Chelsea or Bayern Munich.

When I go to games, home and away, over land and sea, I only care about seeing Arsenal. I go for the Gunners. Sadly it seems many of our fickle fan base only want to go to the big games.

If you are one of those who moans all day on Twitter about ticket prices, and are not taking advantage of £15.50 ticket prices for Cologne, then you have no right to moan about the £126 tickets for when you want to see Arsenal play Man U.

Go for The Arsenal, not the opponents.

Keenos