Thursday, November 22, 2012


So, Arsenal have qualified for the knockout phase of the premier European club competition, the Champions League for the 13th season in a row. It is some achievement. Even the so called “great” teams like Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus have not managed the same feat. It is a commendable achievement no doubt.

As much as the achievement is commendable, it also remains a fact that all of these teams (barring Juventus) have won the Champions League in the same period at least once but Arsenal’s best performance has been finishing as runners up, once. Herein lies the irony. Is competing bigger than winning? Is consistently reaching the knock-out phase bigger than winning the tournament itself? Arsenal fans need no reminding of such questions because they have been asking the same questions for the last 7 seasons as Arsenal have failed to win any trophy yet have qualified for the group stages of the Champions League consistently. There is no specific answer to this question. However, yesterdays match in my view, gave away some of answers to our questions.

Yes,we won the match 2-0 but still we never played like we would win against any team. In fact, in the first half, we were lucky to be 0-0 thanks to some poor finishing from our opponents. Even in the second half there were quite a lot of nervy moments for Arsenal. We will not be as lucky in all the matches that we play. The need for a leader in midfield and defense was so evident in last night's match. You could see that our players were nervy. They were perhaps a bit awed by the occasion because they knew how important the match was. As I have mentioned so many times in my previous posts, we must be defensively solid. The only time we were solid in Europe was when we reached the Finals in 2006 when we did not concede for almost 900 minutes till the final where we were dealt a cruel defeat. Every other season we have conceded more than we scored before heading to the exit.It is a fact. And based on this fact it is quite clear that unless we get a defensive solidity in our team , we will might not fill our trophy cabinet.

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