What an incredible night.
TS Hoffenheim needed to win with a five-goals margin to dislodge us from the second spot and qualify for the quarter-finals and came very close to achieve that despite not doing anything stellar to get there.
I cannot think of a better way to describe last night’s game than to compare it to AC Milan’s incredible capitulation in Istanbul, when they lost a Champions League final to Liverpool. There is no logical explanation to the way we conceded three goals in five minutes, nor to the fact that we didn’t score more or couldn’t defend better.
Overall, the team’s performance wasn’t as bad as the scoreline might suggest but the inability to capitalize on the chances we had, combined with the way we gave away three goals, surely reflects bad on the team.
It has been a very difficult night for Eidevall and the team, a very frustrating one because of the doubts that it might be planting in everyone’s head: how good is this Arsenal team, really?
We started our season extremely well, played some great football, scored lots of goals, conceded almost none, won pretty much every game in very composed, controlling way then something happened – but what? Although we don’t know exactly what happened, we know when it happened: during the last international break.
Before the international break we were conceding 0.55 goals per game while after the break we are conceding 2.75
Before the international break we were scoring 3.88 goals per game while after the break we are scoring 1.25
Jonas Eidevall himself mentioned the international break a couple of times recently, first when talking about the defeat in the FA Cup final, then to point out how the team became less composed and reliable at the back. It all goes back to that moment in time, as if something truly happened in that small windown of time.
There is just this much that can be analyzed about the game against TS Hoffenheim because we did create enough to cruise through the game and didn’t really do anything terrible to deserve such a heavy defeat bar zoning out for a mere five minutes. As mentioned by the head-coach himself, it became a psychological problem and we almost let it slip through our hands, we almost crumbled because of some silly mistakes, probably made because of a lack of energy and focus.
I strongly believe that this team really needs a break and I don’t agree with Jonas Eidevall when he says that he is not “desperate” for the winter break to come. I, for one, cannot wait for it to come because I feel that this team and the manager could benefit from taking some time to regroup, refocus and work on the pitch to find some solutions. Last night we were on the brink of ruining our European campaign without any valid reason or any specific merits from our opponents and I struggle to find any other explanation than a lack of attention and mental resources.
As makeshift as it can be, our defensive line is much better than what they produced last night and so are our forwards, who should have scored at least a couple of goals last night
Next up is Brighton at home, on Sunday, to wrap up the year in style and keep Chelsea four points behind us.
One last effort before the end of the year, then it will be time to draw a line and start fresh.
Thirty-something Italian, currently in Switzerland. Gooner since mid-ninties, when the Gunners defeated my hometown team, in Copenhagen. Twelve years ago I started my own blog (www.clockenditalia.com) after after some experiences with Italian websites and football magazines. Debate, don’t insult or you’re out.