Real Madrid 2 – 2 Arsenal (3 – 2 on pens)
One defeat changed the narrative. Yesterday’s Scottish press claimed we’d thrown our toys out of our pram over Kieran Tierney. After last night’s performance, there’s just a pause in those proceedings. Anyone who watched the match will understand why we must sign not just a left-back but central defensive reinforcements.
If you didn’t watch the match, remember the Europa League final. We were that bad in the second half. The first half was a different story; we looked good, even before Nacho rightly received a red card for handball. Pat Butcher drew a good save from Navas from a direct free-kick; Mkhitaryan ran both sides of the Real defence ragged, ably supported by Jenks and Kolasinac.
Remember the good attacking points because they were hopeless in their day jobs.
Real exploited the Arsenal right ruthlessly when the teams found themselves 10 vs 10. While it was 11 vs 10, nobody noticed how poor Jenkinson’s positioning was. Real didn’t attack. After Sokratis’ dismissal, it was a different story. The Spaniards hit the post, missed numerous chances and in all honesty, it should have been 2 – 2.
A storm raged outside and in the referee’s head. He was so bad that he fluffed his PGMO audition. Arsenal crowded round him to get Nacho sent off following his deliberate handball while Lacazette went from the ridiculous of hitting both posts with his penalty before scoring, to the sublime flick which sent Aubameyang through to make it 2 – 0.
Crowd The Refs
Remember that crowding the ref thing? It came back to haunt us as Sokratis committed one stupid foul and then another in a short time. Real proved no matter how lacking in match practice they are, they never lose their touch at haranguing officials. The Greek centre-back launched the ball toward the moon such was his frustration at the referee’s decision. Like the Arsenal squad which remained on the pitch, he found payback is a bitch.
The commentary team found the best remedy to Zidane making them look arses over Gareth Bale, was to have a 45-minute wet dream over the Welshman. Think Gary Neville’s orgasmic cry but on a more amateurish level and with a lot more guff. They only ran out of puff when he missed his penalty in the shootout.
Real’s goals offered plenty of food for thought. Emi Martinez put in a decent performance for most of the game. He was, however, culpable for the first while the second showed an element of weak hands. I immediately remembered the 7 – 5 win at Reading where he swatted the ball into the net for one of the Biscuitmen’s goals. A trait to be concerned about or just a ‘one-off’ which happened before?
Emery’s game management was questionable. Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Lacazette and Aubameyang lasted until the 75th minute before the youngsters came on. Instantly, our counterattacking improved and Nketiah missed a couple of good chances to score the winning goal. The tour de force saw his tour end as a farce.
Inexplicably, Granit Xhaka remained on the pitch. Another non-descript performance gave way to a player who was absolutely shattered. By the time he ambled to take his penalty, he was out on his feet. Emery lacked options on the bench with Guendouzi and Torreira both absent.
His options are limited following yesterday’s match. Marco Assensio departed on a stretcher, causing consternation about Dani Ceballos’ loan deal. Unai openly admitted that he didn’t know if the midfielder would join given his current teammate’s misfortune.
Xhaka wasn’t the only flop. Energetic Mesut quickly gave way to Pat Butcher when Sokratis left the pitch. Our ball retention was abysmal, a skill Ozil supposedly possesses in abundance. Mkhitaryan the same; two experienced players who went missing on a reasonably big stage.
Laurent Koscielny’s situation is far clearer. As far as Emery is concerned, the former club captain can do one.
I’ve spoken about him, with respect to him. I tried to be with us in the position here and continue working and finding one solution between the club, between him and us. When he decided not to come here with us on tour, the solution is now only for the club and him.
He decided to be out.
I respect him but I have a responsibility, he has a responsibility, and the club have their responsibility. Now it’s one issue only for the club and him.
My idea is to continue with the players we are working with, and the players that want to be here.LKoscielny’s Goose Is Cooked
Even the second-half sh*tshow couldn’t find Koscielny a place in the XI…
Defeat allowed the demons from last season free reign. When things go well. we’re good. When they go against us, we lack the collective character to deal with situations. That is the ‘take’ from this tour. That, sadly, outweighs the immense positives the development of young players brings. For this Arsenal, it’s business as usual and that’s no good thing.