Arsenal wasted 16 minutes hoping for a ‘Miracle in Monte Carlo’ rather than creating one!

Olivier gave us hope, ultimately dashed

Olivier gave us hope, ultimately dashed


Yes, we played well in Monaco.

Yes, we could have scored at least one more goal.

Yes, we showed character and desire.

Yes, we gave the qualification away in the home leg.

Yes, we fell short.


The win in Monaco is very difficult to take, especially when you see the authority, command and maturity showed by the Gunners at the Louis II stadium; it’s impossible to believe that the performance we witnessed last night was from the same team that served us up such a horror show three weeks ago at the Emirates.

How in Earth could players like Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla – among others – put in such a childish performance?

How wasn’t the manager able to correct it during the game?

I don’t know, no one knows and I don’t even want to launch the umpteenth debate about players & manager in-game management.

What left me fuming last night was the way we pushed for a third, decisive goal after Aaron Ramsey’s low drive to the far corner.

It was minute 79 if I’m not mistaken, we had 11 minutes plus injury time to find another goal and fulfill the miracle of Monaco; anyone who played football knows how long sixteen minutes as it turned out to be are on a pitch but our players started to throw long balls towards the penalty box and hope for something to happen.

We were facing arguably the best defensive line in Europe, a unit that had conceded only THREE goals from set-pieces or crosses in all competitions this season, of which two came on round two of Ligue 1 back in September, and we fed them with long ball after long ball!!!


At that time we had Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Özil on the pitch, did we really expect any of them to win headers in the box?

I had a quick look at goals conceded by Monaco this season and the majority of them came from a low ball squared backwards in the box straight after an overlap from a full-back or a winger’s burst: how hasn’t anyone spotted this trend? We had speed, skills and intelligence in abundance on the pitch but instead we went for long balls.


Hector Bellerín, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Özil were all kicking the ball towards the box – not even trying to aim for one of our players.

I understand it is very difficult to keep your cool when you are running out of time and you are desperate for a goal, however I expected better from our players; our best chances came when we combined around the box, passing the ball swiftly in search for the good opening – why have we changed it?


Olivier Giroud goal came from a nice combination between Santi Cazorla, Danny Welbeck and the Frenchman – surely not from a long ball; the second came from a ball squared backwards by Nacho Monreal – SURPRISE! – collected by Aaron Ramsey after Theo Walcott’s first attempt.

But we decided to go long, instead…

Before you say it, I know we almost scored from a set-piece but that one chance wasn’t worth squandering those precious minutes in-between Alexis Sanchez header, to me.

Instead of sticking to a strategy that seemed to work, we crumbled under pressure and decided to play Sunday league football during the most important minutes of our European campaign.

Dare I say it is this tactic not the one that LVG employed against us at Old Trafford only 8 days previously? A tactic that we as Arsenal fans universally mocked him for?

No, we didn’t try our best in Monaco.

We were supposed to go to Monte Carlo and create our own miracle, not hope for one to happen like we did during those final minutes.

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13 Responses to Arsenal wasted 16 minutes hoping for a ‘Miracle in Monte Carlo’ rather than creating one!

  1. Jimmy Balantyne March 18, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

    Fuck Off.

    • AndreaR March 19, 2015 at 10:06 am #

      Hi Jimmy, thanks for enlightening me with such a great analysis.
      I must admit your feedback brings a different light to the whole story and I hope I could use such wisdom in the future.

      So much awareness condensed in two words, amazing!

      Thanks mate

  2. Awolowo Olumide March 18, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

    Fantastic piece. If there’s anything we should learn going into the UCL next season, it’s to have a go at the weaknesses of our opponents FROM THE FIRST LEG.

    • AndreaR March 19, 2015 at 10:09 am #

      Thanks for your comment, it’s much appreciated.
      I think our scouting did the job analyzing our opponents’ weaknesses but we didn’t believe this strategy enough; maybe we were tiring and decided to gamble on a deflection or a mistake to score the third.

  3. alanH March 18, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

    I agree – I watched in amazement as time after time they cut inside and passed the ball across the front of the defence instead of going for the deadball line and putting in the kind of low cross that our forwards thrive on. And what did Walcott think he was doing? He kept going into the box as if he thought he might be able to get a header in – most unlikely. e should of been outsid eth ebox trying to pick upthe ball and either run at the defence or get to the dead ball line. He really hasn’t learnt much during his time at Arsenal.

    • AndreaR March 19, 2015 at 10:14 am #

      Hi Alan, thanks for taking the time to comment on my piece – I appreciate it.
      I agree Walcott could have stretched Monaco’s defensive line more than he did, trying to outnumber their outside players together with Bellerin and Ramsey.
      He decided or was instructed to stay in the box, unfortunately it didn’t work

  4. Boloukuromo Ugo March 18, 2015 at 6:16 pm #

    It’s so easy 2 do post match analysis; every one is an expert n Wenger is the only amateur paid 2 do a professional manager’s job.

    • AndreaR March 19, 2015 at 10:10 am #

      Hi Ugo, I’m not having a go at Arsène at all, I just feel we didn’t show the bravery to stick to the plan until the very last second.
      It was a patience game we didn’t play to the final whistle, we decided to hope for something to happen somehow

  5. ryan March 19, 2015 at 12:17 am #

    Don’t agree at all.

    Arsenal players were clearly tiring after attacking Monaco for the entire match, mistakes were being made, sloppier passes. The incisiveness and cutting edge; quick passes and ability to run past people was dwindling.

    It was also clear to see how many players Monaco had camped in and around the box – a tactic they had employed throughout the match but to an increasing extent as the game wore on. Arsenal had done well to get two goals out of this miserly defence who were already set out to simply defend – let alone at all costs with extra desperate protection from midfield players with only minutes to go. Quite simply there was little room for cutbacks!

    For the last 16 minutes of a 180 minute tie, getting the ball into the box in my opinion is the right tactic. If you haven’t got what you require already then you really are hoping for a ‘miracle’ mistake – any missed headers, poor clearances, deflections.

    I for one was proud of the showing AFC put out, in contrast to my first leg embarrassment. Not good enough over the two legs but far superior when we actually turned up and turned it on!

    • AndreaR March 19, 2015 at 10:20 am #

      Hi Ryan, thanks for commenting on my piece.

      I agree the team was tiring and Monaco was closing spaces around the box, but fresher players like Ramsey and Walcott could have tried to stretch their lines and outpace their opponents.
      I don’t agree on the Arsenal gambling on a poor clearance or deflection, not after what we did during the whole match; I feel we should have kept going and look for the right opening instead of going for long balls.
      Or, if that was the plan, we should have kept Welbeck on the pitch to increase our chances at long balls.

      I was proud of our performance, too, even if I had plenty of regrets for being eliminated by such an average team. I don’t want to disrespect Monaco but I felt we made them look amazing at the Emirates with our incredibly poor display. They are a disciplined, industrious team but nothing really special.

  6. ryan March 19, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

    Andrea, that’s a fair response. I can’t argue with the desire for that approach, that’s what I wanted to see. Nor can I argue that trying to stretch their lines may have earned us that elusive 3rd goal. I still feel with such a short amount of time left, the deepness of Monaco and the tiring of the players, the balls into the box was a not a reckless approach, a fair plan. Shame the balls were ineffective and useless though!

    Glad we agree we can be proud of the performance. I just felt your article was a little on the negative side but its probably more of my positive optimistic viewpoint on all the Arsenal making me feel like that. I tend to give a lot of leeway and excuses involving all things Arsenal!

    • AndreaR March 20, 2015 at 6:33 am #

      Thanks Ryan,
      I’m often very optimistic about the Arsenal and try to highlight the positive of any situation, from time to time I try to let out my neutrality and this piece is one of those blogs.

      I hoped I never had to write about how things didn’t go the right way, tho!


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