Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen thinks that Arsenal are given too much credit, and last night's disastrous performance against AS Monaco in the Champions League only backs up his argument.
Arsenal have struggled at the Last-16 stage of the competition in recent years, but they have faced tough opposition in those previous games. When they were drawn against Monaco, they probably thought they had their best chance of going through that they’ve had for the last few years.
However, Arsenal were dreadful and Monaco played them off the park. The French side left the Emirates with a 3-1 win thanks to goals from Geoffrey Kondogbia, Dimitar Berbatov and Yannick Ferreira before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave the Gunners a glimmer of hope for the second leg.
Owen wrote on social media site Sportlobster.com: “Arsenal played poor on the night, but the only people surprised are those who continue to believe they are better than they are.
“Saying this, I would take Arsenal to beat Monaco more often than not.”
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There is no denying that Arsenal were expected to win the match, especially at home, but they literally fell apart in front of their manager Arsene Wenger, who had no ideas of how to stop it.
Arsenal fans are notorious for tipping their team for huge success every year despite the Gunners never really showing anything to warrant it. With a squad that has as much individual talent as they have, it is a mystery why they are never challenging for the title anymore and, in Europe, they are not considered as favourites to go all the way.
Off the back of their win against Manchester City in the Premier League, which in fairness was a good performance, their fans, again, started to think that they are good enough to beat anyone. But there is a huge problem at Arsenal, the fact is, at this point in time and for some years now, they are not good enough.
How can Wenger go from getting the win at City so right tactically, to getting the game with Monaco so wrong? There was a massive difference in quality between Arsenal and Monaco, but it wasn’t in the favour of who many people would have thought. It was Monaco that were by far the better team.
Arsenal have so much experience in Europe after all they have been playing in the competition for the last 17 years, so you would, by now, think they might have something to show for it. What gives their fans the right to expect them to walkover a team like Monaco?
England falling behind?
In a week that saw two English teams lose to European opposition, with Manchester City also losing to Barcelona, the former Real Madrid striker, Owen, dismissed the claims that it means the Premier League isn’t as good as other leagues.
He said: “I fail to get carried away by two results. There is too much rubbish written about the Premier League being inferior to other European Leagues.”
In fairness to City, they played a very impressive Barcelona side that have been a European powerhouse in the last decade. However, Arsenal played Monaco, a team that reached the final in 2004, but have not had any impact on the competition since.
It is hard to see a way back for Arsenal, as Monaco ripped them apart and they didn’t even have their full strength team playing. Arsenal fans were leaving the Emirates early in droves, with a lot of them missing Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goal, but can you blame them?
Arsenal fans should have high expectations given their talented squad, but they continue to be let down year after year, it’s amazing how they remain so optimistic throughout each season, when they see their team fail at every big hurdle.
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