Football

Roy Keane says Arsenal's Champions League hopes are over

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Roy Keane believes Arsenal have already proved they are not strong enough to win the Champions League following their 2-1 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb.

Arsene Wenger had claimed before Wednesday's match that his players have a "huge desire" to finally lift the trophy after 17 consecutive years of trying and failing.

But their title charge got off to the worst possible start at the Maksimir Stadium in Croatia with Olivier Giroud's first-half red card supercharging them towards defeat.

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The ten men of Arsenal would fall 2-0 behind before Theo Walcott scored what eventually turned out to be a consolation goal.

While he still expects them to qualify for the knockout stages–albeit second behind Bayern Munich–Keane believes that the Gunners will come up short in their bid to lift the big-eared trophy for the first time in their history.

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No surprises

"It's what I expect from Arsenal, they are short," Keane said on ITV. "Looking at the spine of the team, the players in the middle of the park.

"They were up against it down to 10 men but roll up your sleeves and get the job done. You feel Arsenal have a weakness through them.

"I still expect them to get out the group, obviously in second. Further in the competition they do come up short, though."

The killer blow

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's 24th-minute own goal had already put Arsenal on the back foot when, in the 40th-minute, Giroud was shown his second yellow card of the match and dismissed.

The Gunners still had ample opportunity to avoid defeat until, at least, Junior Fernandes was gifted a free header from a corner to make it 2-0 in the 58th minute. Keane believes that the Arsenal defenders showed a lack of courage in their attempts to clear the corner.

"It was the killer goal," Keane added. "It was a good delivery and the guy attacks it well, but I think it's about desire, who wants to head the ball? And clearly one or two of the Arsenal players weren't brave enough. Arsenal would still get a chance at 1-0, but this was a killer moment."

Harsh red card

The former Manchester United captain does, however, sympathise with Giroud, saying the second yellow card was a little harsh.

He said: "There is no problem with the first yellow card, but he [Giroud] didn't deserve the second. It was a big factor in the game, and it was a shocking decision from the referee, no way is that a red.

"It was typical striker's challenge, but the player's over-reaction played a factor. It's not right trying to get player sent off."'

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Topics:
UEFA Champions League
Premier League
Arsenal
Roy Keane
Football

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