Thursday 8 March 2012

Proud of the lads 2nd time around

That was so much better than the first leg, there's just no getting around that and it was just a terrible shame that the first leg deficit was too big to claw back last night.  The commitment and tempo were there, as was the organisation.  The first half was terrific, we played Milan off the park and thoroughly deserved the handsome 3-0 lead, and if there was any justice in this world we would have gone on to victory, unfortunately this world is not fair and Milan edged through.  At least we can proud of the performance.

Although we lost the first leg 4-0 it was nowhere near as one sided as the scoreline suggested, we were just done by some excellent finishing, some terrible defending and a terrible piece of Ibrahimovich cheating, sadly this non-penalty was the difference between the sides in the end.  The 3-0 scoreline last night was also slightly flattering as the 4-0 had flattered Milan, the Italians had some great chances to score last night and really should have put the ball in the old onion bag on more than one occasion.

The positives were multiple.  Szczesny was again solid, the defence worked better together as a unit, catching Milan out with the offside trap time and time again.  The midfield were the real difference, Song, the Ox and Rosicky were sensational.  The Ox played with a discipline and maturity that belied his years, Song was the machine he can be, and Rosicky was such a spark.  The Ox's hamstring niggle really hit us in the second half as we slightly ran out of steam, we didn't have the quality on the bench to change the game and if there can be any criticism, it was again that of our lack of real strength in depth.  Theo was dangerous all night long and his performance was a big plus, his pace terrified Milan's defenders.

The referee was utterly useless.  He carded several of our players for the most mild of fouls, the Milan players were cheating by rolling around theatrically after any kind of challenge for the ball within a mile radius of their legs.  He also missed several nasty and cynical Milan fouls, some he didn't even see as fouls, others should have been at least yellows but he preferred to book our players for far less.

The best explanation for this kind of biased performance other than UEFA being corrupt, he systematically favoured the away side in a way which was almost bizarre, it is hard to believe that such a poor showing could be down to pure incompetence.  UEFA's decision to charge Arsene just makes it all look more suspicious, their hatred of English clubs is summed up by what they punish us for, while letting the big Spanish and Italian clubs get away with far worse.

Onto the next one and that is Newcastle on Monday, we need to keep on the shoulder of the spuds and we have a few days in which to recoup.  The injuries didn't look too bad, Ox's hamstring must have been very mild as he played on with it, he will also heal quickly being so young, maybe a couple of weeks out maximum, while Theo's injury looked like just a dead leg, hopefully he'll make Monday.  Come on you Gunners.

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