Oh mighty Arsenal.
Okay, before we go completely destroying them, let’s remember a few things. One, there’s a second leg coming up, and they can re-write wrongs at that time and grow stronger as a team from this debacle. Second, Sol Campbell just resigned, so he’s still in his learning curve. Third, the brain cramps that occurred this week can’t possibly happen again, can it?
That being said, this performance from an Arsenal team with aspirations of winning the Premiership and hoisting the Champions League trophy was pathetic. The goalkeeper, Fabianski, was downright amateurish in allowing both the first and the second goals. Sol Campbell was a good signing to be a veteran voice in the Arsenal defense, but the worst place to have a slow, old defender in right in the middle of the field, and Porto exploited that all game.
Yes, he scored a good goal to keep Arsenal in it early, but as the game went on, Hulk and Falcao ran at him constantly and kept Arsenal on their heels. Any chance for an in game adjustment by the manager?
The obvious question, long and short term, is this; what is Arsenal to do to get better? This is a team that a few seasons ago was running unbeaten through the Premiership, challenging the giants of Europe and wowing the football world with the stylish play of Bergkamp and Henry.
Arsene Wegner failed at the beginning of the season to bring in adequate veteran leadership for this team, and on nights like the one this week in Porto, it showed. This team lost one of the best goal scorers in England, Emmanuel Adebayor, last season, and failed to replace him. Just like they failed to replace Henry when he left for Barcelona. Arsenal has young talent but no proven leadership. Their best player, Cesc Fabregas, is inconsistent and not a goal scorer, more of a facilitator. Well, who’s he going to pass to with no scorers up front? That all adds up to entertaining, but not championship winning football.
It’s time for Arsenal’s ownership to take a long hard look at Wegner, and decide if he should be given more time. This team has good players, but not enough talent to win any titles this year. Focus on next season, get some punch upfront, remove that godawful goalkeeper and lets see the Gunners stand up again.