Porto 2 Arsenal 1: See yesterday’s blog – but we can win at home

In Arsenal FC, Champions League 2009/10 on February 18, 2010 by Highbury N5 Editor

It was a disaster waiting to happen, it was a disaster that should spell a new goalkeeper in the summer because by God do we need one. Come back Almunia, all is forgiven.

I suppose it really isn’t that bad of the face of things, we got the important away goal and are still in the tie, a 1-0 at home will put us soundly through. So is it so bad considering we were without most of our best players?

Fans are probably so angry because both goals were preventable in the extreme, the first was an incredible piece of incompetent goalkeeping and after the Stoke disaster and the FA Cup semi-final display under Lucasz Fabianski’s belt, it is hard to see him staying at the club much longer if fans have their way. The ball was crossed into the six yard box and somehow he fumbled it into the net, it was Roy Carrol-like. He has just done it too many times now and whilst he has obvious talent, there are massive question marks over his mental strength.

I feel sorry for him, for whatever reason he isn’t good enough right now to be Arsenal’s second choice, Almunia isn’t good enough to be first choice. We need a world class keeper badly, especially given our attacking game.

It seemed the damage was limited when Sol Campbell scored to make it 1-1, credit must go to Rosicky who flicked the ball back across goal – into the danger area – for Campbell to head it home. What a story, Champions League final to Notts County, back to scoring in the Champions League again. Incredible.

The goal to make it 2-1 Porto was just unbelievable. The ball was played back to Fabianski after Sol Campbell accidentally made contact with the ball, and Fabianski picked it up. A) No free kick – the back pass was unintentional.  B) Fabianski should have put his foot through it but panicked.

It got worse.

Fabianski threw the ball back to the ref quickly, who allowed a quick free kick. Fine. No problem. We have done it in the past. No complaints about that. But, the ref gave the go ahead whilst blocking Sol Campbell completely. How utterly ridiculous is that?

Then there was the penalty appeal, a blatant foul on Rosicky – cast iron. His legs were taken. Arsenal will never get a penalty again it seems, its so frustrating, on another day, with another ref the game could have been so much different.

We can’t hide the same old failures though, the naff defence and keepers who are just not up to standard, we must stop conceding if we are to go anywhere in the Champions League but I just can’t see us tightening our defence. If we were playing a better side it would be game over. This time its Porto though, who are really not very good.

It is frustrating, so frustrating but we are only at half time. We have the advantage of a three week gap until the return leg so whilst the missing players will probably not return for the Sunderland game, they should be back in those three weeks.

I said yesterday that it could be a case of damage limitation, but we made our own damage, we dug our own grave and what Cesc Fabregas described as ‘schoolboy errors’ will frustrate him more than anyone. He deserves better if I’m honest. He addressed the fans on the plane as normal after the game and promised us a win in the return leg, and we will get one, no doubts about that.

This team don’t seem to get much in the way of luck, and wouldn’t it be just their luck if we drew one of the few teams we fear in the competition? Barca, Chelsea, United and at a push, Bayern Munich. There is a lot of work to be done though.

Til tomorrow.


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