Arsenal 3 - 3 Anderlecht
Arsenal welcomed Anderlecht to the Emirates after a late comeback in Belgium not too long ago. Arsenal were looking to qualify tonight, and Anderlecht were searching for an upset.
Things started off well. Very well.
Alexis was the man in charge yet again, but Chamberlain was also looking lively down the flanks.
It took The Gunners twenty-five minutes to break the deadlock though. Welbeck won a penalty, and Arteta stepped up and put it away very a great deal of confidence.
Four minutes later, Alexis took a free kick which bounced back off the wall, but the Chilean whacked it right back again, this time finding the bottom corner with a stunning strike. Arsenal looked comfortable, and continued to do so into the second half.
“Arsenal were cruising. Or at least, we thought they were….”
In the fifty-eighth minute, Chamberlain added to Arsenal’s lead with a fantastic goal. Alexis won the ball back in the final third, allowing Chamberlain to race towards goal with great pace, and tuck it past the goalkeeper. Arsenal were cruising. Or at least, we thought they were.
Anderlecht, who looked dormant all game ar some first half chances, suddenly started to emerge. Eventually, they pulled one back. A clearly offside goal put in from close range. Everybody thought it was a consolation, so the offside nature of the goal didn’t really matter too much.
The problem came when Anderlecht got their second. This too was through a penalty, as Monreal pulled down their attacker in the area. A silly foul to give away, especially since they converted the spot kick.
“Suddenly, Arsenal weren’t comfortable anymore. Suddenly, Anderlecht were on top…”
Suddenly, Arsenal weren’t comfortable anymore. Suddenly, Anderlecht were on top.
Predictably, Arsenal buckled for a third time, right at the death. A deep cross was headed into the back of the net by Mitrovic, after he got the better of Mertesacker in the air.
Arsenal had thrown away a three goal lead - at home.
The final whistle blew, and whoever remained in the stands made sure their boos were heard. Wenger looked dismayed, Monreal looked angry and Arsenal looked well and truly spineless.
Arsenal Player Ratings
Made an excellent first half close-range save. Couldn’t do much for any of the goals.
Worked hard, made a few good blocks and tackles.
Per had his hands full all night tonight, and for the most part, I thought he did well. Yet, the header which rescued a point for Anderlecht should never have been. He can’t be getting beaten like that.
Again, Anderlecht gave him some work to do in patched throughout the game, and he held up well, were it not for his stupid penalty-conceding challenge. What was he thinking?
Nothing wrong with his defensive performance, but he had a chance which he should have finished.
Looked far too eager to score, didn’t work particularly hard, and didn’t make much of an impact on the game at all.
We need to upgrade on Arteta, but I still like the job he does at times. A calm head and solid passer of the ball. Kept us flowing well today, and took his penalty well.
Fed up of this guy now. Useless.
The Ox: [8/10]
Worked hard, looked far sharper than in recent weeks, and got himself an utterly brilliant goal. It had pace, power and good finishing all in one move.
Sanchez: [8.5/10] - MOTM
I may as well leave “MOTM” next to his name on a permanent basis. Works, works, works and then works again. Oh, and he scored an absolute beauty yet again, too. What’s new?
Needs to be dropped. His touch isn’t good enough, his finishing is poor, and we’re suffering in front of goal as a result. Had chances, but no sharpness to take them. Olivier, where art thou.
Podolski, Rosicky [N/A]
Soaring to Spineless
Arsenal went from soaring at 3-0, to utterly spineless at 3-3. At bloody home.
Like I mentioned earlier, I don’t think Arteta is good enough or physically ready for big games these days. But what a difference he makes to Flamini. Arsenal’s midfield collapsed when Flamini replaced Arteta, and we just looked like a different team.
Anderlecht came flying at us after their first (offside) goal, and we just gave in. Twice. Our defence is makeshift because of a lack of spending, and our defensive midfield situation is a shambles. We shouldn’t be surprised that we had no spine tonight, because we literally have n0 spine.
I feel sorry for Chamberlain and Sanchez in particular. What a performance one against from the Chile forward, and we went and let him down. Tonight was an utter disgrace.