Wednesday, 5 December 2012

We lost!!! Boooo -Wenger knows what he's doing! -Rosicky and Meade shine

Morning Gooners.

Well wasn't that interlay predictable? Who would have thought taking a squad full of players who (a) haven't been regular starters in the first team; (b) are returning from injury; (c) aren't in the manager's plans; and (d) youngsters with no first team experience to the home of the Greek champions would have come away with a result.

There were obvious exceptions to the Szczesny's and Vermaelen's of last night's team. But they were the out numbered by the others.

And I don't blame the manager for his choice in squad. We'd qualified for the next round, which is the aim of getting out of the group. We're through to the next stage and whether we are first or second really doesn't matter, we're not going to win the competition with this group of players.

Last season he was taken to task by some for playing Andre Santos (yes, really) in the game at Olympiacos when we'd already qualified and then the Brazilian went and got himself injured. Had Wenger taken the first team - several of who are out on their feet - and one of them got an injury, he'd be criticised again. He was in a no win situation.

When you look at who we can draw in the next round, being first or second in the group doesn't make much difference whatsoever. The one thing it does do is allows you to play the first knockout game away from home and then  you get to play in front of your own fans for the second match.

Has home advantage helped us this season? Not yet it hasn't. This team doesn't seem to like playing at the Grove. It's not been a happy place to be this season.

But going back to last night, I was pleased we went in at half time with a winning advantage. Tomas Rosicky shows exactly why Arsene Wenger loves to play him because of his all action game. He was the one leading the team with his pressing and high work rate. And the goal was a reward for his 45 minute shift. It's clear the manager saw enough in the first half to know he needed to be wrapped in cotton wool for Saturday. A definite starter for me.

The other player I was impressed with was Jernade Meade who had an assured Champions League debut at left back. I was pleased to see him given a start because his performance in the League Cup at  Reading certainly merited it. He didn't let the manager down either. I hope we see more of him this season in the cup competitions.

So overall not the worst night in the world. Some will say we lack a winning attitude and last night was a chance to get a result on the board. I say we've not won in four, so what's changed. What's most important is that no one was injured last night.

The manager knows that Saturday's game at home to West Brom is the most important fixture of our week.

That's it for today. Back with more tomorrow.

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