Will history repeat itself this season? Last year, Arsenal were the victims, along with a number of other EPL clubs, of terrible calls (or omissions) from the officials in key games and their own inability to finish off great chances.
It happened again, as Arsenal, fielding their youth team, missed a possible tie against a fluid but unimpressive Juventus team fielding their best, thanks to a poor decision by the far side linesman. Just minutes before, he had signalled Trezeguet offside, disallowing a goal to Juventus. The game was a fairly tame affair until Trezeguet’s offside goal was allowed. It then picked up pace and both teams attacked, with Arsenal having the better chances but, just like last year, failing to make them count.
Bendtner seemed ready to forgive past frictions with Adebayor and both were menacing all game, but, as is often the case with the Gunners, their joint playmaking led to wide misses or bumbled shots. Nasri and Ramsey showed promise, and didn’t seem out of their depths, while Arsenal’s defensive back four were less than reassuring, both in the tackle and in the air. It is clearer than ever that Wenger needs to reinforce this questionable defense with a powerhouse centreback, capable of taking charge and eliminating any dangers in the air.
Adebayor, in particular, appeared to be off his usual game and was slow, inaccurate and inopportune most of the time. The team did display their traditional pinpoint passing, sharpness of buildup and an extra aggressiveness at times that promises an interesting EPL season.
While disappointing for Arsenal fans, tomorrow’s game could still redeem this Tournament. However Real Madrid will be a very stern test of the Gunner’s character and resolve, as well as their goal-scoring abilities and defensive prowress.
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