Three things we learned from Arsenal’s humiliation in Croatia

Arsenal are the team to have won the most Champions League games without ever lifting the trophy. And tonight showed why.

Wenger’s teams have always been fairly consistent in Europe, but year on year they leave themselves with too much to do. Last season’s last 16 opponents Monaco was Arsenal’s most favourable last 16 draw for quite some time, but they did their best to mess it up. The unfavourable match-ups they’ve faced over the years have been down to their coming second in the group and having to play a bigger team in the knockout round.

This game was one where, had Arsenal gone about it in a more professional manner, they surely would have won. Instead, Wenger rested players and the players on the pitch didn’t really help his cause, with Olivier Giroud getting himself sent off needlessly.

It was always going to be tough for Arsenal to finish top of their group ahead of Bayern Munich, but it looks even more unlikely now. They should still qualify, but it might come down to that same old problem for Wenger – Arsenal qualify second and get knocked out of the competition early by a bigger side who managed to win their group.

Here are three things we learned from the game.

Arsenal cannot underestimate anyone

They really should have learned this a long time ago, or at least in last season’s Champions League when they were unceremoniously dumped out of the competition at the last 16 stage by Monaco last season. Last year, Arsenal thought they’d found a favourable draw, but a poor defeat at home to the Monegasques sent them out of the competition as Arsenal thought they could just attack their Ligue 1 opponents.

Tonight, Wenger rested key players with an eye on the crunch Premier League meeting with Chelsea at the weekend, and Arsenal paid the price. The Croatian champions weren’t the pushovers that Wenger expected them to be, they scored twice and it could’ve been more.

Arteta is not even a poor man’s Coquelin

 


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