Arsenal were back in the champions league again as they are every year but could this season be different to the last few years where we have gone out in the last 16?
Well… Probably not as we got off to the worst possible start against Zagreb away from home. I was expecting a win but I definitely underestimated them as did Arsenal.
I had heard that they have been unbeaten for a while but the Croatian league isn’t very good. It does however give a team confidence to win so much and they certainly showed that. They were also used to playing on the pitch as well as their fans really making it a hostile atmosphere.
But in the end we can’t have any excuses because they played a lot better as a team than us and could have scored more.
My only problem is Wenger’s team selection as he made six changes to the side. This was because of the fact that we thought it would be an easy game and that we are playing Chelsea on Saturday.
New players included goalkeeper Ospina who showed why he was number 2 to Petr Cech. Both full backs Debuchy and Gibbs didn’t impress on their opportunity to challenge our first choices and this was disappointing as they were both very good for us last season.
The main difference though was Arteta for Coquelin where it showed that we are in real trouble if the latter gets injured. Arteta wasn’t that bad and passed well but he didn’t offer nearly as much as Coquelin does in terms of his protection for our back four. He is quite old meaning he has experience but he isn’t a defensive midfielder like Coquelin and I really think that this was a big reason why we lost.
I don’t know why Wenger decided to change the team in a champions league game but the team still should have won and it might be worth it if we beat Chelsea.
Another main point of discussion was Giroud’s performance. He is always under pressure to play well and it looked like the pressure got the better of him. He had a good header saved before hitting the post and he should have scored from the rebound. But this was all before he got himself sent off by getting a silly yellow card for dissent before making a clumsy tackle.
European referees are a lot harsher than English referees but he should have known this and was very unprofessional. He let us down but I think we still would have lost as nobody played that well for us and Zagreb played a lot better as a team.
So 2-1 the final score and the only positive really was that it was the first match so we do have time and enough games to change it around. Also Walcott scored an impressive goal showing he might just be the better striker. I would definitely start him instead of Giroud at the moment and against Chelsea on Saturday.
We also have a lot of hard games coming up with Chelsea and then Spurs in the Capital One Cup away before high flying suprise package Leicester away and then Man United at home.
Our next champions league game is at home to Olympiakos and we should beat them and hopefully end up going through to the knockout stages. But this time maybe further than the last 16.
For me I know it would be very unrealistic to actually win the whole thing with teams like Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid competing and I want us to concentrate more on the premier league this season.
Who knows though in football especially when Chelsea won it when they finished 6th in the league!
Next up is Chelsea and I think it is our best chance to beat them in the league in a while and Mourinho would be under huge pressure if they lose as they are already being said to be out of the title race.
Come on Arsenal!