It wasn’t negotiable. We just had to win on Wednesday night. The aim before Match day 1 at Dortmund was to top the group and after bouncing back at home to Galatasaray, that possibility was still within our powers.
If we’d lost against Anderlecht, the possibility of staying in the competition would have been in serious doubt. Wenger’s record of making the last sixteen would have been ruined, his birthday too, and we’d have to join Spurs for the Thursday evening lullabies, if we made it. Not that any of these can’t still happen, excluding the ruining of his Happy 65, but getting the win was all that mattered, the 3 points won in less than 3 minutes. We might have ended up scoring three goals on a night where we hardly had deserved one. If anything, after the Belgians scored the first, we might have conceded three more but as we know, football could be cruel.
It was a hard way for the young Tielemans and Mbembas to learn, that football is a game not of 72 minutes but of ninety. Perhaps they will have the more experienced Anthony van den Borre to blame for not putting the game to bed with his rushed hit off the crossbar.
Against a more matured team, Wenger would have lost the second of his three group games for the first time in many seasons, perhaps signs that things aren’t going too well. His team looked so off key, perhaps owing to wrong decisions with regard to player selection.
Hector Bellerin was part of the Hull lull but definitely did enough to have deserved a retained place in Belgium, while the returning Chambers should have gone into the center to partner Mertesacker. Instead, Monreal’s apparently impressive outing last weekend earned him a continued stint in his adapted position and after 9 minutes, the reality of his fish-out-of-water situation began to set in, with a rather careless booking. From then on, he wasn’t free to make tackles at will as that would mean playing against a young fearless attack minded team with a bullet in our feet.
Wilshere’s pairing with Ramsey showed no signs of improvement. While one saw more of the ball without creating much from his forward drive, the other was way too advanced on the pitch to exert any influence usually associated with him. How surprising was it that Ramsey saw more of the ball, and used it with a bit more varied purpose when Wilshere was subbed off. Playing all of his stars has continued to be Wenger’s undoing this season, the manger still unable to find the right balance. There seems to be a weakness in will to finally give Joel Campbell his full chance, while the likes of Cazorla get some bench time as a reality check.
You could easily condemn the whole team to a deserved defeat yesterday, save for a certain over-working Chilean. It was fitting then that he had the main hand in what turned out to be a last-gasp winner, as he did with the equalizer against Hull.
Maybe he is the one who deserves the three points, other than Wenger and his other boys who should have left Brussels with nothing more than waffles and French fries.
Am sure a lot of you will disagree with me but the actual truth is, we didn’t deserve to win against Anderlecht. There is no nicer way to put it.
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