Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 Arsenal: Not the Start We Hoped For
Dinamo Zagreb 2 (Pivanic 24′, Junior Fernandes 58′) – Arsenal 1 (Walcott 79′)
Sometimes you just wonder how things that are going so well just go wrong all of a sudden.
Yes, the manager had half an eye on the Chelsea game this weekend in Stamford Bridge and some players in the squad were in need of rest but hey, it’s not as if the ‘replacements’ were some 16-year-olds without any experience or something. David Ospina was the first choice goalkeeper before he lost his place to Petr Cech, Matt Debuchy was Bacary Sagna’s direct replacement before Hector Bellerin usurped him, Kieran Gibbs used to be miles ahead of Nacho Monreal before the tables turned and Arsenal’s decision not to buy a holding midfielder this summer indicated Mikel Arteta was Francis Coquelin’s deputy. The big guns like Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud featured, so it was a very strong squad.
What did we witness? Another classic shitefest from the Wenger boys. No cohesion, sloppy play, committing errors that we all thought we had eradicated. Then a familiar feeling surfaced yet again – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain losing concentration on the defensive third and we were punished for it. Ospina made a good save from Pivanic’s initial shot but it ricocheted off Pivanic / Ox to award the hosts the lead. Many Gooners had voiced their frustrations on seeing Aaron Ramsey on the wing but Oxlade-Chamberlain’s hot and cold performances haven’t done anything to show that he deserves to start ahead of the Welsh Jesus.
After some more shambolic defending, Dinamo Zagreb extended their lead from a simple header from Fernandes as the zonal marking was exposed yet again. For a player as vastly experienced as Koscielny, that was some pathetic marking. Then as you’d expect from a reactive manager like Wenger, he decided to bring on the cavalry with Theo Walcott, Joel Campbell and Francis Coquelin going into the fray to at least have some influence on the game. Walcott made a good impression as well as staking his claim for a starting berth in this weekend’s blockbuster against Chelsea. He latched onto Sanchez through ball, picked his spot and placed it past Eduardo in goal.
At the end, it wasn’t enough as the Gunners dropped their first points of the Champions League campaign, making their next clash against Olympiakos all the more crucial. With Bayern bossing the Greeks on their turf, Pep Guardiola’s side would be on course to run away as group winners but Arsene Wenger’s men will have to stand up and be counted.
It’s sad to see how such things happen to the Gunners, especially when it seemed like the team was trying to pick up some form. There was the usual rubbish on the official site on how the players were going to bounce back and all, but I can’t be bothered.
The game is long gone and we can only hope that the Gunners do better in their remaining fixtures. Till then, there is a game against Chelsea to prepare for.
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