Well you can’t say you weren’t expecting the result. I’m more worried about the knock on effects than with the result. Barcelona have the best attack in the world, keeping them out for 90 ,inutes was always going to be a chore and for like 60 minutes we did pretty okay. Like I was impressed. We dug deep, we didn’t allow them space, I was beginning to hope, but just like we usually do we went ahead and were silly.
I must say in my humble opinion, I think Mertesacker was at fault for both goals and I’m not attacking his pace. Many talk about how he can’t run and yada yada, but for the two goals I don’t his pace was the issue. For the first, he attempted to make a tackle up the field to keep the pressure on and he missed it allowing Neymar to steal past him, at that point we were in trouble as we were 2v2 again two of the best players in world football, we stood no chance.
For the second while people will point at Flamini (and make no mistake I’m steamed about that.) It was Mertesacker’s poor touch that allowed Messi into that space to begin with. If he had made a one-time clearance or something we might still have stood a chance, but he didn’t. His touch was poor, Messi took it and Flamini made the tackle—penalty.
Naturally I’m disappointed, we’re more or less out and while I wasn’t expecting a win, the nature of the defeat was annoying.
As for the manager’s decision to bring on Flamini…I don’t understand. I don’t think I ever will. I love Arsene Wenger, I refuse to be labelled or boxed into some convenient category of Wenger lover or Wenger out brigade, I find the faction thing foolish, but that’s for another day. For yesterday’s game though, I felt that decision was—to put it mildly—less than wise. Yes, we have the benefit of hindsight, but there was no one watching that game that saw Flamini come on and was like ‘Yeah, smart move’. Next thing we know they have a penalty.
In attack we were also poor, our profligacy cost us, not like we had many chances but we did have some and we didn’t finish. We had precious little of the ball and when we did have it we weren’t convincing with it. That’s sad. I won’t say something simplistic as ‘yeah if we had a world class striker we would have scored there.’ Maybe we wouldn’t, the rest of the crew didn’t do so great. Alexis was clearly fired up with some great tracking back and so on, but his passes were wayward and I don’t remember his taking a shot.
I quite like Welbeck when he came on, he was the only bright spot and I feel he could really add to our season which is a positive, maybe he’ll become a beast, who knows.
Well it’s United at the weekend, let’s hope the players are up for that for we can still surely win the Premier league, we just have to screw our heads on straight.