Arsenal flop disastrously against an ordinary Chelsea side in the Europa league final. It’s time to stop kidding ourselves. Well, after a sleep, it became a less angry, more objective piece with the odd barb.
UEFA managed to create the dullest atmosphere in football history by placing the Europa league final in the back of beyond. In a stadium with around a 68,000 capacity both sets of supporters collectively made up about 6,000 and it felt like you could hear a pin drop at times.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) May 29, 2019
Arsenal could have been far worse off than the lenient 4-1 thumping, with another three clear chances that went begging. It was a result that summed up Arsenal’s season with another flat,unimaginative, insipid performance that gave them what they deserved, nothing !
For thirty minutes of the Europa League final, the gunners made a game of it, mainly through the purpose and drive of Lacazette, who looked incredibly lively, causing ripples in the opposition defence every time he faced the oppositions goal.
He should have had a blatant penalty after a trip in the Chelsea area and may have benefited from a more observant referee when Azpilicueta tried to take an early souvenir in the form of the strikers shirt.
After which there wasn’t much to note, apart from Chelsea’s ascendency through until the half time whistle in the Europa league final. Worryingly, they had started growing into the match, growing in confidence and began finding space by getting beyond the Arsenal backline.
Hazard looked to have woken up in the latter stages, as Arsenal’s defence allowed him more latitude and freedom. One sensed that the second half would be a challenge, with Arsenal’s strongest possible line up revealing its range of well documented flaws. It was all too familiar, a team that seemed to implode at crucial stages of the season when passion, intensity, commitment and application were required.
Really didn’t want to see Lucas Torreira in tears, but this shows he really care about the club. Representing the feels of every Arsenal fan. Frustrating night. pic.twitter.com/wxejpZ35qB
— Arsenal Related ? (@ArsenalsRelated) May 29, 2019
Only three players turned up to tick those boxes in Europa league final last night, Sokratis, Lacazette and Maitland Niles. You can also add the substitutes Alex Iwobi and Joe Willock, who fizzed immediately on their arrival, by injecting energy and urgency into the proceedings but in all honesty, the majority of the team needed replacing.
I’m not going to go into detail about the Chelsea goals in the Europa league final or how Arsenal failed to deal with an ordinary Chelsea side that were made to look far better than they actually were. Instead I’m going to look at the Arsenal side for all the negatives and the few positives, before a disappointing transfer window begins.
Much was made of Arsenal’s strike pairing before the game but apart from the surging runs of AMN, I can’t really recall anything of purpose on the other side of the pitch. The strikers never received the service they needed and haven’t done so all season.
The majority of their goals in Europa league final have come from their own predatory instinct and own industry, something that Lacazette strived to repeat but he found no support and no one who looked up for a fight. Aubameyang was so far off his best, it was hardly worth him staying on the pitch, in fact, if the choice had been mine. He would have been hooked fairly early in the second half.
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He contributed nothing in the Europa league final and looked like delivering nothing, which was not entirely his fault but at the same time, his position should have been given to someone else to see if they could have an impact on the game.
That brings us in to Ozil, where to start ? The German was so uninspired in the Europa league final that it was annoying, offering a minimal contribution that made him almost invisible. At times I had to remind myself that he was playing and a series of short, unambitious passes summed up his entire contribution for the season, not just the final.
Maitland-Niles has suffered enough at right back and I’d like to see him further up in his preferred central role or as a winger because at times Arsenal were totally dependent on the youngster in attack and it’s something Emery should explore. On more than one occasion, AMN turned Emerson inside out, twisting the Chelsea man like a pretzel but when the game changed in the second 45, he was preoccupied with defensive duties.
No Arsenal player had more touches (48) or made more tackles (2) than Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the first half of the #UELFinal.
He also completed the most take-ons for his side. ? pic.twitter.com/KKqmu3oBbh
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 29, 2019
Kolasinac, on the other flank offered 1% of the youngsters effort and realistically, the strapping Bosnian should only be used as a utility player in a crisis. This performance underlined his lack of quality in a role that was essential to Arsenal’s cause.
In defence Sokratis was determined and fierce but as the Europa league final game went on, he became overrun and lacked the support of others. Koscielny and Monreal just don’t have the legs anymore and although they tried both were proven to be past their best. Xhaka did nothing wrong but nothing right either and Torreira was completely off his game. When the little man was replaced, he looked to be in tears as he sat in the bench. I tried to work out if it was because of his own performance, the performance of the Arsenal team or that he agreed to join the club in the first place.
Moving on, reservations about Cech’s appearance in the Europa League final were initially without foundation as he pulled off early saves but again, it was clear that his best days were consigned to the past, as he failed to get down or react quickly enough, especially to the opening goal.
The bright spot in the Europa league final for Arsenal was the Iwobi goal. The ball pinged around the Chelsea box and was headed out to the prowling substitute who met it with the sweetest, truest contact, which saw it thunder past the sprawling Chelsea keeper.
Other than that, it was a night to forget. A night where even the staunchest supporter realised that this current Arsenal team has no place in the elite of Europe. It is a mediocre side with ambitions it can’t meet or fulfil and lacks the mindset and quality to reverse the trend.
I hate to say it, but I feel so disconnected from the current Arsenal squad. Very few of them seem to be 100% in it for the sake of the club. I prefer past players/staff on a personal level to their modern-day counterparts. We don’t really have a set style. The list goes on.
— Patrick Timmons (@PatrickTimmons1) May 30, 2019
At best, without solid financial investment, Arsenal are looking at a top six place and a domestic cup run. That’s it. Miracles happen but generally, they are only found in books of fiction and Hollywood films, not in a glorious stadium situated in North London that no longer has a side worthy of playing in it.