Arsenal just love to make everything far more difficult than it actually has to be.
Rather than deliver a top defensive performance to see off their 4-1 aggregate lead, a majority of the players played poorly, on the night, and were nearly knocked out by the Russian side.
Goals from Fyodor Chalov and Kirill Nababkin secured a 2-0 lead for the hosts just after 50 minutes, but well worked goals from Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey towards the end of the game destroyed all hope of a comeback.
As usual, the fixture was yet another game this season where Arsenal have underperformed when playing away from home. Obviously, travelling and playing in Moscow isn’t exactly an easy task, but the Gunners' underwhelming season has been dictated many times by their poor away form.
To put this into perspective, in the Premier League, the Gunners have won 13 of their 17 home fixtures but only three of their 15 away games across the entirety of the season.
With Arsenal in the Europa League semi-finals, they can’t afford another performance like this in the away leg and, should they get there, the final.
Out of all of the Arsenal players on the pitch, Mohamed Elneny was quite easily the north London side’s Man of the Match and deserves a lot of praise for his performance. The Egyptian midfielder delivered a tireless performance for the Gunners and did well to stop the opposition defensively and even contributed offensively.
The 25-year-old created both goals, includinga perfectly placed pass to the feet of Welbeck. The latter’s movement on and off the ball was exquisite, and Elneny’s assist for the goal was sublime. Given their performances in recent weeks, I think it’s time for the midfielder to start the most important games and replace him with Jack Wilshere.
I’m not sure why but the Englishman has consistently performed below standards in the last few games he has featured in. I could be wrong, but he doesn’t look like a player striving for the supposed “top contract” he wants with the club.
Overall, it’s a shame to see really, especially considering this could be the beginning of the end for Wilshere at Arsenal. If that is the case, I hope he ends his time here by lifting the Europa League trophy in May.
Elsewhere, reported Arsenal target Aleksandr Golovin performed very well in both legs of the fixture. In the first leg, the Russian midfielder’s fantastic free-kick did well to bring the game level, but the team lacked the necessary quality overall as Arsenal eventually won the fixture 4-1.
In the second leg, the Russian midfielder was arguably one of Moscow’s best players on the pitch and also created one of the host’s goals.
Arsenal face Spanish side Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals of the competition. Arsenal couldn’t have asked for a more difficult game, but perhaps they have a better chance over two legs in comparison to a one-off final.
It’s crucial the Gunners can maintain a good run of form in the league to keep morale as high as possible in the dressing room.
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