isnt the predictability of last night’s result so very Arsenalian in the way in which it transpired, eh? Isn’t it just so indicative of this Arsenal team to give you a glimmer of hope only to see it slowly disappear.

That’s what we’re all facing up to this morning, dumped out of the Champions League by a bang average Monaco side that showed that no, they weren’t masters of a tactical gameplan but recipients of fortune and timing.

Monaco were fortunate that they caught Arsenal on an incredibly bad day at the office in the first leg, that they caught the Arsenal of last season in a big game, so they were able to capitalise. They were fortunate with the first goal at The Emirates with a deflection. They were fortunate that Big Per forgot he was a centre half for the second. 

Last night only served to strengthen that argument, as Monaco contrived to give the ball back to us time-after-time and set up to be strong defensively and rely on their good home record. And even then it nearly didn’t work. If they get to the semi final – unless they play Porto – then I’ll eat my hat, because I saw a team that took advantage in the first leg and relied on fortune in the second.

For us, it’s yet another season in which we’ve headed away from home and played for ‘pride’ almost, yet that suddenly seemed to be out of the window and qualification a very real chance when the impressive Rambo drilled home number two. Monaco had been rocking all evening and even before that second goal they were lumping the ball into touch, but the Arsenal waves kept coming as we dominated possession, chances, territory and just about every stat you can think of. 

There was real purpose in the side from the first minute. We had abandoned the lethargy from the first leg and replaced it with drive that resulted in yet another Giroud goal in the first half, as well as a deserved one from Ramsey in the second. We even had a chance we’ll saved from the ‘keeper after the second goal, but he palmed out well to keep his team still in with a chance of going through.

Performance wise I thought it was brilliant. A lot has to do with the mind frame of our opponents, who were content to let us have the ball, but we still had to break them down and  we certainly fashioned enough chances over the 90 to do so. The only player that struggled seemed to be Alexis. Booked for diving (unfairly), he never really looked like he was in the game and to me he is looking tired, so I hope Arsène considers a rest or two for our dynamic Chilean. He’s played almost all of the season and in his first in the Premier League it would be surprising if he didn’t suffer a fatigue-related blip at some point. So I do wonder if this weekend’s game against Newcastle might prove an opportunity to rest him and offer a bit of squad rotation.

The rest of the team were excellent. Defensively we never really looked like conceding and Berbatov cut a lonely figure at the top of the pitch, looking like his usual useless self as opposed to the mastermind that he was portrayed as in the first leg. The midfield looked dominant and Coquelin once again mopped up, whilst Santi and Mesut pulled the strings. When Özil is able to find pockets of space in between opposition defence and midfield he really does run the show and I thought he did so yesterday. Up top Giroud got his goal and was a handful all evening, whilst Welbeck was busy and enough of a threat to warrant his inclusion from the start. 

But what was the end result? Defeat. And I don’t know about you but I keep coming back to that third goal in injury time at The Emirates. For all of the poor performance of that night, we still could have given ourselves less of a mountain to climb than we did yesterday evening, had a bit more in-game management been used more effectively. Which you can only look at the management – not just the manager here I’m talking about – who have failed to adequately drill into the players how to play an effective two-legged tie. It’s all very well turning up to the second part of the affair, but it’s getting tiresome, all this ‘glorious failure’ lark. I know it’s cliched, but the first leg was only the first half. So in what match would you be one down going in to halftime, knowing you have a whole second half to come back, then being so gung-ho as we were? It’s crazy.

Still, it’s done, so now we have to turn to the Premier League and FA Cup and hope that we can finish strongly and pick up a trophy. 

Up the Arsenal.