Sunday 28th April 2019
At nil nil there is all to play for. Whether your tactics are right, you are dominating the game or if you are simply hanging in there. In the modern game however, if you are reduced to ten men with an hour or so still to play, the match is pretty much over as a contest. And today, in a match littered with fouls, the referee decided Ainsley’s pair of distinctly debatable misdemeanors warranted a red card, so determining the inevitable result.
This is not sour grapes. Arsenal’s ten men were well beaten today. But not when the teams were numerically even. We will never know if we could have got the result we all craved.
Our first trip to the Midlands this week saw us play into our hosts’ hands I felt. They expected us to dominate possession, defended properly and well, before picking us off on the break. And with Leicester being at their best doing the same it was crucial we didn’t make the same mistake this time out.
And on that front, tactically I think we got it about right. The Foxes enjoyed the majority of possession and created a few chances although only one set piece header caused Leno the requirement to make a save of any note.
We knew if we could keep a clean sheet we would enjoy chances and sure enough both Laca and Alex Iwobi saw the best two opportunities of the half go begging.
And then, after what were at worst two innocuous fouls, the referee decided to change the game enormously in our opponents’ favour.
I’m not saying we were brilliant up that point. But not only had we adjusted our game to not make the same mistakes as Wednesday night but we were well a truly in the match.
We need something not much short of a miracle to finish in the top 4 now after an incredibly disappointing week. But Thursday means we still have a huge amount to play for.
We need a lift, the players needs lift and the club need a lift. And that shouldn’t be a chore or difficult for a European semi final.
But it is only possible if we do it together.
Keep the faith Gooners.