Wenger: We missed a little something

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Arsene Wenger praised Cologne’s spirited defence but made clear the Bundesliga’s bottom side were lucky to beat Arsenal 1-0, courtesy of a generous penalty.

The Gunners’ second string dominated possession throughout but struggled to create regular clear-cut chances on a tricky pitch. Ultimately, the defeat didn’t matter as a draw between Partizan Belgrade and BATE Borisov ensured top spot in the group.

Speaking after the match, Wenger reflected: “We had a lot of possession. We lost the game to one shot, basically. It was a very nice penalty that we have to take on board. It was honestly not a penalty at all.

“We missed a little bit of the accuracy in our passing in the final third that is required to score more goals. We had plenty of dangerous situations but we always missed a little something to finish our chances.

“I must also say that Cologne defended with spirit, with commitment and overall the crowd was absolutely fantastic for them.”

Wenger opted to start with an experienced XI before introducing youthful flair from the bench. While the result may not have gone the way of his side, he still had praise for his squad:

“I must say that the attitude was good. It took us some time to inject some pace into the game. In the second half, it was much quicker. The pitch was a little handicapped tonight, and the players were because of it, but I cannot fault the preparation or the concentration of the players.”

Asked about what finishing top of the group means for Arsenal’s chances in the competition, the boss added: “I don’t know. I will tell you after the draw. You feel you have done the job to finish top of the group. We now play our final game at home against BATE Borisov without much at stake, other than the fact that we want to win the game. What does it really mean? I don’t know. It’s what we wanted.”

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20 Comments on "Wenger: We missed a little something"

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Rich

I think that “little something we were missing was quality in the final third.

Gooooooooonnnnaaaaaaaaa
Gooooooooonnnnaaaaaaaaa

I fault the manager 100% not the players. Can someone please explain to me why elnenny, coquelin and Giroud deserve to play ahead of Nelson and Willock? Does the manager select players according to age and stature or according to form and what actually works for the team?

Our lineup was so negative, coquelin and elnenny DOES NOT WORK! Two idiots just recycling possession. Giroud, coquelin and elnenny don’t deserve to be anything other than subs, if they don’t like it they can F off. If Walcott was fit he probably would have started despite doing absolutely nothing to warrant that.

The old Arsene Wenger who used to say “if you’re good enough, you’re old enough” is gone. We now have a manager who doesn’t want to offend his players and plays players according to reputation and experience rather than those who’s performances merit a start.

I love Giroud, I really do. But he can’t start games for arsenal anymore, especially when we play a back 5 and lose someone in midfield. I was really looking forward to seeing a front three of Iwobi Welbeck Wilshere (I thought Giroud was still injured). I would have given niles the opportunity to start in a more forward position.

Typical rookie mistakes from one of the most experienced managers in football. We need to sign a fucking left back and start playing playing in their strong positions – to me that’s common sense.

Fireman Sam

Do you also blame the manager 100% for winning the group?

caligunner

First off I know this formation has been solid since switching to it but I very much dislike it.

With that said you are right about ME and FC starting together. Against a horrible Cologne club AW decides to play 2 barely average DM with a this formation? Already won the group why not give a youngster a chance tonight to play.

I’ve said this in another thread but AMN is much better the Coq and getting close to ME level. He will make mistakes because he’s young but I’m willing to live with them over seeing Coq pausing with the ball or passing backwards.

Yes OG deserves to start. Its unfortunate our club sucked tonight at feeding him passes.

AusGunner

“if they don’t like it they can F off”

maybe you could take your own advice!

Runcorn Gooner

For “Little Something” substitute “Virtually Everything”.

Notice he just said that it wasn’t a penalty rather than the usual rant. Sums up the whole apathetic approach to this match.

Frankie

I think they call it a game plan….

Could always try actual tactics…..

May be even starting with two up top and some actual wing play where we take it to the byline and actual cross the ball to our target man….

Rah…

nimble foot

That’s lazy analysis. It’s not tactics nor game plan missing. We lacked urgency, precision and fluidity in the final third. Nothing to do with game plan. There were crosses put in and they weren’t accurate so you can’t come on here trying to condemn the manager for a lack of game plan.

Frankie

Maybe you were watching a different game. As my analysis seems pretty spot on….

ronaldo

yes you can, all our problems lie with the manager

lyonsl

We missed the manager. Anyone could see that elneny and coq were struggling a lot. I pray to God that we will never ever see again a partnership of coq and elneny. I would rather see youngsters fighting than experienced internationale players struggling.

Adam

So said that the fairytale story of ‘very exciting thursday nights’ in the pointless tournament for 2nd sort european clubs has turned to such a dull story. Really whats the point of european league? Exciting games-no. Worthy trophy-no. Challenging 1st team players-nope.

luka6234

the draw was beetwen Red Star Belgrade and BATE, not Partizan 🙂

santori

Well it serves as a reality check for the limits of some of the second stringers.

May be a good thing in the end to remind us that we may still need to mix internal development with top quality purchases lest our gaffer starts to fall into the trap in thinking he has all the resources in hand to develop post Alexis/Ozil departures.

Coming up tops today IMO was Maitland Niles. So underrated and turning his disadvantage as a “jack of all trades” to a benefit. He is now expressing himself in that LWB position and making a case for himself as future back up to Kolasinac.

I thought Chambers was more muted but we also have to remember he is only just back from long lay off. It was good to see Wenger finally reverting him to his natural positions and he started to gain some joy towards the second half taking on opponents on the right.

Metersecker was a rock making uncountable number of headed intercepts. Holding look as per usual accomplished on the ball but for one big mistake.

Debuchy I don’t think we can fault for a soft penalty and whilst his future maybe elsewhere this summer, we may still need him for the rest of this season should a crisis rear its head in the back line.

Mixed bag for Coquelin. Two good attempts at goal but also several uncharacteristic panic moments and a couple of poor passes.

Elneny’s passing was more steady if unadventurous and frankly he adds little to us. His corners leave much to be desired. An average player whose only positive is he is willing to fill in from the bench.

I thought Iwobi should have started. He was energetic and bright and moved things around better for us.

Jack tried to as well but his attempts to lay off with Giroud this game were poor and he made to many attempts going through traffic although you have to say his ability to pick through congestion is one of his benefits.

I thought we would keep Welbeck on longer. Frankly, his touch still leaves much to be desired. he is capable of good control but sometimes it evades him and at times he takes too many touches.

Giroud had a poor game by his standards, marked out second half for most parts. Nor did we find good balls to his strength aerially.

Reiss Nelson I fully expected to come on and he is such a wonderful and natural player. NO reason why Wenger was OK releasing the Ox for the matter, Walcott could also be deem surplus thanks to young Reiss. That precocious jinking solo effort should have been rewarded for a goal had he finished it lower.

Eddie also had a good effort and it is no doubt the manager has again unearthed two potentially excellent (near) future players.

In the end, we paid for a lack of incisiveness in front of goal.

alx

Spot on analysis…

Ivan Parasite

There are enough evidence that Giroud cant start a game. He just cant! He needs to come only from the bench to be effective like Solksjaer. He needs to study the game from outside and come to score at 60-70mins when he has identified the waygame to score like he always do. But whenever he starts, he doesnt have a clue to spark an attack.

sambo

Hmm im not sure why we couldn’t beat a team that hasn’t won a game in their league. I understand these are effectively our second team players for all positions but realistically they are supposed to be first team quality and pushing to make the first team 11. They didnt look like they cared THAT much about tonight. A few players looked like they were upto it. Welbeck considering he just came back gave a different tempo to our moments when he was the starting point of it. Niles of course and Debuchy at least had the pedigree out there, the aggressiveness. It wasnt a pen but ok. We topped the group so it doesn’t matter. My concern is if we get a good team in the next round in the competitions where this ”second” string 11 play, are we going to field them knowing they could potentially loose quite easily. I hope not. I want us to be ruthless and play our best 11 come the next round.

Man Manny

Well, they may have missed a little something tonight, but so did they in the last two games in the competition. And if in three games a team manages a single goal, then I think they’ve missed more than a little.
That performance was lifeless! Coquelin and Elneny combo was be the most unimaginative and one-dimensional midfield pairing since football began!
This is where this team will struggle: after the team that showed power hasn’t – and may not in a while yet – changed hand in NL over the weekend, the second team is quite poor.
This team missed more than a little Arsene.

lula

I felt this would b our toughest fixture yet. They dived for the penalty but we were pretty toothless.

I hate to say this and I’d give him the season to prove me wrong but Jack looks a very diminished version of himself. The two behind him could play for Köln and there are one or two more we could probably upgrade on supposing we are not running about frantically trying to repair things once Sanchez and Ozil leave.

Still this all aside, I’ve enjoyed the cup so far. And safe in the knowledge that not just this summer and January window but these periods for years are going to be frantic, I choose to insouciantly enjoy each game. Next up, a throwaway game that means nothing in the Europa. Perhaps we should start Willock, Maitland-Niles, Nelsson in their actual positions and give Nketiah half an hour.

Goonerink

I hope this turns out to be a good thing.
if we went unbeaten in the groups with this team, how far into the competition would wenger use that winning team?

I hope now it wont stay A and B teams for the knockout stages of the Europa league.