Arsenal Restore Pride And Belief In Champions League Exit

Arsenal 3 – 0 AC Milan

1 – 0 Koscielny (7)
2 – 0 Rosicky (26)
3 – 0 van Persie (43 pen)

Beforehand all that everyone could agree on was that the performance had to restore pride. That happened; my goodness me, how that happened. How anyone cannot be proud of the players’ endeavours last night is beyond me, beyond comprehension even.

It was a match that captured the essence of knockout cup football. Overwhelming obstacles almost overcome; hopes raised, belief instilled albeit in some cases just for the occasion. There were no first night nerves in this one night stand. It highlighted how perverse and tired the format group format has become.

As I mentioned in the preview yesterday, there was a sense of jumpers for goalposts about the match; the next goal wins. Milan score first and tie was over. Arsenal score and score early; dare to believe. And Laurent Koscielny duly obliged. Oxlade-Chamberlain’s corner was met by the Frenchman who had  found space in the area, delivering a calm and assured finish. It was the perfect start, the one that was required to drive the team and start to put doubts in the mind of the Milanese.

The momentum was building. van Persie’s shot might have been comfortably saved by Abbiati, the signal of intent could not be missed. Milan were not allowed to settle on the ball, forced into working hard to close Arsenal down as the hosts sought to use all of the width of the pitch.

Arsenal’s expansive passing and movement was underlining the impact of the decision to disrupt the flanks of the San Siro by relaying the pitch. A second goal before the interval would have made the second half interesting.

It duly arrived from a resurgent Tomas Rosicky. The Czech’s inspired form of recent weeks has seen him find the back of the net with the regularity that Arsenal have been missing from their midfielders. Theo Walcott put his head down and charged toward the byline, the cross was almost as aimless as Thiago’s clearance. Rosicky shimmied before caressing the ball into the back of the net, beating Abbiati at his near post. No haste but plenty of guided power in the finish.

The lid of the box of dreams was being pushed open, the Champions League desperate to be released.

As the half wore on the dream became more real, kicking and screaming it’s way toward freedom, an outcome that became believable as the interval loomed. Oxlade-Chamberlain squirmed and wriggled in the area but Milanese bulkheads blocked his path, illegally and suitably punished as van Persie buried the spot-kick, sending Abbiati the wrong way.

The half-time whistle came, too soon, unnecessarily. Milan were rolling as Arsenal rocked; the break enabled them to clear their heads, have the fug fully removed. Perhaps Arsenal needed it too; El Shaarawy drilled his shot wide when hitting the target was easier. Had it gone in, the dream would have been shackled and dumped unceremoniously away once more.

A lack of ambition had gone close to killing the visitors in the opening half, the second would see them attempt to press more. Arsenal reverted to a counter-attacking style, one that ceded impetus to some extent. Yet it almost bore fruit fifteen minutes after the restart.

And how the score remained at three is still a mystery. Gervinho’s shot was too much for Abbiati to hold onto, the ball fell to van Persie and Hollywood took over the world, spinning it at a slower speed as the Dutchman flicked his shot upwards and over Abbiati toward an unguarded Italian net. How the goalkeeper stopped the ball before it reached it’s apex is a mystery. It baffled him as well since he was unable to detect it’s location when his parry stopped the ball’s flight. Aretha might have said a little prayer but I would venture that i Rossonerri are offering as many prayers of thanks to their respective gods as is possible.

In hindsight, it was a pivotal moment. Had the ball finished in the next, it is not unbelivable that the final score would have been six or more. As it was Ibrahimovic nearly brought the mountain back to full size, seizing on slack distribution by Szczesny but firing wide.

The introduction Chamakh and Park brought no breakthrough. It brought home the iniquity of the transfer window; I wonder if the manager pondered for a moment over what might have been had Henry or Arshavin or both been on the bench to call upon?

Nocerino had two late openings in quick succession, Szczesny’s shotstopping qualities not in doubt with two fine saves.

But the goal to usher in extra-time would not arrive. The energy levels expended in the opening seventy minutes possibly meant that was welcomed by the players on a physical level but any thoughts of tiredness would have been banished by the mental boost of a fourth.

The match petered out but you could tell from the players reactions how close they felt they had come to making the impossible seem possible. Anguish and pride were etched on experienced faces; heroic failure on the football pitch. And a realisation of what might have been had the first leg not been cast into the four winds.

Many positives come from the result, not just in keeping a winning momentum going. After all, successive cup defeats had not negatively impacted on Premier League form. I think more will be gained from the comprehensive manner of victory; Milan were brushed away with ease. They may not have the calibre of Baresi or Maldini at the back but still they haunt the upper echelons of Serie A. Quality opposition reduced to distinctly average.

I hope this has a galvanising effect on both support and players. Knowing that such heights of performance can be reached should instill belief for the remainder of this campaign. Hope should never die.

’til Tomorrow.

393 thoughts on “Arsenal Restore Pride And Belief In Champions League Exit

  1. The atmosphere there was marvellous the whole of the NHS is 100% united against it (except the RCS – cunts) but it looks as though Cameron will ignore them all anyway and plough on. What do they know about it anyway?
    It’ll be the end of the Tories for some time ultimately – this will be a fuck up of monolithic proportions and we’ll spend the next 6 years trying to put it right.
    The Tories are making an error of judgement here so massive it is beyond belief but they don’t know how to climb down and save face.
    The public will not forgive them this – I think the next election will be a Labour landslide – though getting rid of ‘Millibland’ would help.

  2. Yogi’s Warrior | March 7, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    what?! so the numbers that show wenger doing more for english football than ferguson by giving players left right and centre for the whole of english football to go up a notch, you will interpret them as wenger’s mistakes ?

    yes sure that makes sense ….

  3. nah mate im not talking about this with you, i got no beef with you ive got nothing else to say.. i’ll talk with you about football though if you want.?

  4. “how else do i demonstrate to you in writting the pause of thought?”

    Errrrr. You don’t have to? This is one of the differences between writing and speaking.

    No wonder what you write just reads like a stream of consciousness.

  5. if you mean that only a crazy arsenal fan would waste time making that list oh then yes im guilty and i dont care …you make a blog for arsenal you telling me you aint obsessed ..that there is no madness involved……

    does arsenal pay you ? i dont know …i figure out you do it because of your own “madness” with our great club ..

    bad form yogi ..bad form..i disagree with all your attacks on my posts the last half hour or so…. respectfully of course ..

  6. Errrrr. You don’t have to? This is one of the differences between writing and speaking.

    what difference ? can you not deliver the effect of thinking in written form ? i dont have to ? lol…. what if i want to ?

    my conscious is fine dont worry

  7. Hunter

    Wenger doesn’t sell players through altruism, it’s because they aren’t good enough for Arsenal or they want more money on offer elsewhere. It’s got jackshit to do with giving to the English game.

  8. hunter

    What are you wittering on about. As I’ve told you on many occasions before, do not press the post comment button until you have re-read that which you’ve posted and are sure it makes sense.

    Your posts don’t make sense – that’s why you’re finding holes picked in your arguments.

  9. Hunter
    When you are becoming tedious to the good guys,its time for a deep breath and a bit of reflection.
    And good guys.Lecturing someone on their writing style is a bit rich on a football blog.As long as it does not contain too muck Text talk,people should get over themselves.

  10. You can do what you please Hunter, it just makes your writing very hard to read, and/or take seriously. Especially when it is coupled with posts that are usually 6 times longer than the lead article.
    A little concision goes a long way.

  11. Hunter, how did you get your avatar? Seems too appropriate for it to have been assigned at random.

  12. Wenger doesn’t sell players through altruism, it’s because they aren’t good enough for Arsenal

    i already told you that yogi ..what isnt good for arsenal might be good for middlesboro. i stand by my words .

    you havent read it and youre giving me shit ?

    nice one mate …………… goodnight ..

    did that make sense? lol…i havent checked you see …

  13. Hunters outpourings are for me no better than text speak George. I find them very hard to read.

    I’m with YW – some judicious editing would make a huge difference.

  14. and dont piss me off before i start finding holes in your sentences

    Wenger doesn’t sell players through altruism


  15. Jonny only here could that shower of shite get elected. How can a group of Toffs and failed public school boys represent ordinary people in this country, it is paradox that can not suprise even the most politically ignorant. We have a cabinet who if they travelled back in time would not be out of place in the 19th century House of Lords, yet enjoy the privelige of governing this country.

    Every generation needs reminded of how truly horrible the Tories are unfortunatelty that means having to experience them in power.

    – I warn you not to be ordinary

    – I warn you not to be young

    – I warn you not to fall ill

    – I warn you not to get old.

    Those words have more meaning now than they did 30 years ago.

  16. Wenger doesn’t sell players through altruism, it’s because they aren’t good enough for Arsenal or they want more money on offer elsewhere

    That was the whole sentence Hunter. Try reading it. Don’t piss you off? I beg your pardon? Are you seriously stupid enough to threaten me. Seems that way…

  17. Nah. I honestly rarely read what Hunter posts – far too much like hard work.

    BRF – it’s not just this country that – plenty of other countries have voted in even more right wing.

    The kicker this time is the Tories are trying to mess with our heritage and a uniquely British institution – and they got in by repeatedly promising there would be no top-down change of the NHS.

    18 months later and they have thrown a hand-grenade into its heart.

    They’ll regret this.

  18. Yogi – I honestly don’t think he works in sentences.

    As George said, it’s best give the dog the rope sometimes.

  19. We can’t all be surgical strike teams,.Hunters well he’s a bit different, I’d describe him as an unrelenting albeit often inaccurate balista, attacking the mighty doomer stronghold of Wehatewengerium, but Jibber and Shoogs haven’t put their heads above the parapet recently have they? lol.

  20. threat?

    lol..nevermind … obviously you win….. 😉

    great to see you telling me to read the whole posts when you admit you never read the one you first critisised 😉

    no im not stupid …thanks for asking 🙂

  21. BRF they’ve all been banned!

    Along with gains and a host of others, who never made it out of the ‘eternal spam bin’.

  22. Jonny i’m reading some stuff about Podolski, how well informed or more importantly how close to the club are your beeb sources. I’m thinking Podolski could be great for us.

  23. And what a purgatory that must be Jonny.
    Imagine being stuck anywhere with that lot!
    I have spent some time on in that there bin.It is fucking horrible/
    So think on Hunter.Never abuse hospitality ,or take hospitality for granted.
    This really is the best party in town.

  24. Not close to the club but being the Beeb they (usually) only confirm when it has credible source.

    They were pretty damn accurate for me last summer.

    George – I hope I never find out!

  25. Why are you all ganging up on Hunter? You may not like his style, but at least he is an Arsenal supporter. You’ve already chased off one passionate Arsenal supporter. if you’re not interested in what he has to say, just ignore him. I’ve seen more tolerance on here of some people who are clearly not Arsenal supporters.

  26. Can’t wait til Monday, might be a good thing given that we seem to have alot of Arsenal knack going around. Need to get some sleep i’ll leave the night shift to PG and Jonny.

  27. george i havent abused anything …only the cunt doomers 🙂 ….while yogi’s digs have included …madness, drugs and then asking if im stupid…. lol…..not that i take offence obviously but i could if i wanted to 🙂

    and all this because he interpreted a list, which was designed to shut up a manure mug in defence of our manager, a bit wrong…

    ok his place his rules but lets know what were talking about …..telling me to read the whole posts – when he hasnt read the one he critisised me for? ..thats what doesnt make sense …

    anyway cool… 🙂 that cunt cesc gave 3 – 4 assists i lost count …

  28. Passenal I did not chase off Gains – in fact his ban has precisely nothing to do with me.

    I warned Hunter to be careful just a few moments ago – I was genuinely encouraging him to not dig a bigger hole than he already has for fear he would get himself banned – surely that’s the opposite of what you are saying?

  29. im done with it jonny dont worry 🙂 hope he is too…

    but i will still use dots….lol…

    i thought of putting up the cheese of cheesiness ” gary moore – oh lord please dont ….cant even say it ..too fkn cheesy …lol

    anyway …humour..or else without it we wont make it…. 🙂

  30. Crikey that was a pathetic dig Pass – bet you can’t be bothered to even try to back it up.

    Right – I really am going to bed now.

    Podolski eh? This WILL be interesting…no idea how that will work out but I trust Wenger to make the right decision.

  31. Agree with Passenal on hunter13

    I’d rather have a supporter who does no more than a truth distorting doomer.

  32. Gervinho’s movement to draw a defender away from the near post for the Oxlade Chamberlain corner – Koscielny’s headed goal seems to have gone un-noticed.

  33. Excellent posts everyone. Specially. HUNTER13. way to put that manure piece. O shit fan in his place. Way to go PASSENEL and GEORGE. Our good. GREEK ISNT mad. Oh no. He is pissed of as hell about the club he loves…………. 😉
    Say way I have felt since. 2006.
    Disrespecting the ARSENAL is not even the least of it.
    They have green lighted our players.
    Put every obstacle possible in our road.
    Disrespected. The manager.
    Allowed the takeover of clubs like city,manure, chelski. And pool so as to offset the scales financially.
    Etc……etc…. Etc….
    Signed…… a pissed off true. Supporter
    They rest of yous,,,,,,,,, keep your heads in the sand.
    We will get to the summit. AW & his crew. With the. True. Supporters. In tow……..
    UP. THE. GUNS;!!!!!!!!,,,,!,

  34. Well, no one will read this at this time so it’s safe to write it.

    I thought Hunter was fine last night in particular and the last few days in general. His 8.42 was like a summary of one particular debate on here held over the last 5 years oir so. Almost monumental.

    Granted it’s as much mental as monu…..

    I’ve given him more stick than most on here in the past but I can’t take exception to his belief in Arsene and Arsenal. Now he’s given up bashing our history.

    I bet the likes of Spectrum find him really annoying.

  35. top of the morning to you. YW. I don’t know what transpired between you and gainsbourg and if he personally insulted you in anyways. If he did then he woreout his welcome at your blog. I believe that maybe he felt he wasn’t treated fairly in being put in moderation along with Jonny. As such it is possible that maybe he lost his cool and spoke rashly. Anyways, no one can accuse gainsee of having the best of manners at times. He was knowledgeable about his football and super passionate regarding the club. We all knew his personality.
    Bravo on the work you do on this blog and for ARSENAL in your way. Much appreciated.
    I wonder if today’s subject will be podolski. And/or the latest ethifa witch hunt of. AW..

  36. Hunter 13 struck me the wrong way in the beginning too. As a racists and an English hater and someone enamored with AW and not much of. ARSENAL prior to the great man. He has since retracted some of his wrongly worded comments. And qualified them. I believe now that all this misunderstanding was due to his poor command of the English language and poor understanding of the game and EPL during the decades before the. Wenger. Revolution. I just hope he keeps. The. Lol. to a minimum… 🙂

  37. good morning first lady &. Conslsbob.
    Hell of a goal your boy scored against. Meeeelan, first lady. Heck of a player. My favorites. Are. SAGNA. AND. VERMALEN.

  38. No place for being abusive. If we are ordinarily not abusive to others in person as hurt feelings could lead to fights, why should we be abusive to another online?

  39. The subsequent ban may have been because he abused Yogi but it didnt start there!!Not that it is any of my business anyway.

  40. precisely Luke. Difference of opinions can and should be resolved in a civilized manner. Our supporters. And players( specially the injured ones). Deserve much better than abuse. Save the abuse for the nonbelievers. Yah, that’s. The ticket.

  41. Shotta @ 5:05 – Read my post again mate. Properly as well. If you do you will see that I am not having a go or blaming him in one bit.

    Glad I missed all the Hunter frivolity last night. I can’t read the guys posts as they make my head spin.

  42. I can empathise with YW the difficult role of blog moderating, Goonerkam. There is such a diversity of opinions and characters to deal with and possible styles (big stick or light touch) of managing. Ultimately, YW’s authority should be supreme.


  43. On hunter 13, I agree with Passenal as well. And goonerkam and firstlady.

    @ hunter 13
    I get what you are saying about the English players – IF those players were educated at Arsenal before being released or sold, then that is a contribution to the English game, at whatever level, because it increases the technical level of the leagues overall.

    And I second what consolsbob said – great work on the Gunnerblog and Arsenal Vision websites. Some Rectum ass well and truly kicked!

  44. So Goldi Poldi might be a done deal eh??
    Not that he can do anything for us this season but an exciting signing for next no doubt.

    Wenger charged by UEFA – well theres a shock – expect a fine and ban if we make it back to champions league next season

    Diaby 10 days away! Jesus H Christ, will we ever see him fit?

    At least we have til monday to get a few players rested and fit again!

  45. I am equally abusive face to face as I am on line.
    I would never say something I was not prepared to say looking someone in the eye.
    That, Just Another Luke,is the difference between an honest fellow and a coward.
    And you are right,It can lead to fights.But it is a poor do if you have to not call a spade a spade for fear that some abusive halfwit might take it upon himself to swing one at you.
    Unfortunately , mathematics effects even a conversation with a moron, the lowest common denominator sometimes has to be found.

  46. pedantic george – I guess you weigh in at 14 stones adn stand at 6 ft 6 ins.

    What you say is true. Courtesy is merely civilised hypocrisy.

  47. Podolski is just the type of signing we need. Somebody who can fill in for RvP when needed, but is equally capable on playing in the side on a regular basis so will still get game time. I hope it is true.

  48. This diver said that? “Gareth Bale admitted he was not sure the penalty he won should have been given”

  49. George – Personally I think he types a lot and says very little of substance. He also appears to be an Arsenal fan and not necessarily and Arsenal fan. That said, I have nothing against him, he just seem to be a little too hysterical. He needs to take on board some of your calmness (and layout of posts) and maybe his point would come across better?

  50. Yes Luke ,and there are of course limits to how far you can take face to face honesty.
    Any man who claims he say what he wants, to who he wants, when he wants, is either a liar or completely nuts.

  51. I agree pedantic george. Without any statistical backup, I would think that there has to be more living liars than there are living lunatics…

  52. Dups – If it wasn’t so frustrating it would be funny. Players at other clubs always seem to come back early from injuries. Ours are predicted to be out for 10 days and end up missing the full season. It is weird

  53. “On hunter 13, I agree with Passenal as well. And goonerkam and firstlady. ”

    should have read
    “On hunter 13 and G69, I agree with Passenal as well. And goonerkam and firstlady.”

    @ consolsbob
    While Santos was playing, I would have said he had become the clear first choice, but I think Arsene has a dilemma now. Perhaps it will boil down to who complements Sagna best?

  54. There are lots of different levels of hamstring injury. I think Nasri got over one in about 10 days. Mind you that is the only instance I can recall of an early recovery.

  55. Wojo says this
    “”We have a fantastic manager who knows how to run the club. All the players believe in what he’s doing, as well.

    “Sometimes things don’t go our way, but we believe in the way the manager runs the club, the way we want to play football, and doing that we know that even if things are wrong we’re going to turn it around and win games.

    “We’re all even at this club. We have the boss, and we know who is the boss in the dressing room, and that’s Arsene Wenger obviously, and the skipper Robin van Persie who is the leader in the team.

    “But we’re all even in the dressing room, and so I can’t really say anything about it (player power), I’ve never experienced it.”

    Now perhaps the lack of disparity in wages is not all bad .as some experts (chuckle) think?

  56. Cheers. FUNGUNNER. and good morning.
    Hail hail STEVANAGE FANS. We will real the SPUDNIKS one game at a time. I heard the deal for podolski was for. 10•9mill. As opposed to 18mill they were asking a few months ago. I also heard he will be on 100000/wk.
    Not a bad gig if you can get it.
    As far as Hunter 13 , I understand. His posts completely. Specifically his theories,which I subscribe to and believe in for years now. How can one watch the games and not reach the same conclusions. Sometimes it is so blatant and obvious the job they do on our club and manager and players.
    Its like we have to play to a different set of rules than the rest of the league. It is so clear. Its on all FRONTS. We do have a mountain to climb and playing the games is just the half of it. No doubt.

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