Arsenal were dealt a crushing blow to their Europa League hopes on Thursday night.
But the Gunners are now facing a fourth consecutive season of disappointment in the competition at the hands of Slavia Prague who are hoping to eliminate a third British club in 2020/21.
Arsenal vs Slavia Prague
The Czech club have already dumped Leicester City and Rangers out of the Europa League this season and must now smell blood after securing a 1-1 draw at Emirates Stadium.
However, that so nearly wasn’t the case as Arsenal entered stoppage time with a 1-0 advantage despite Mikel Arteta having been roundly criticised for his team selection on social media.
And it wasn’t until the 85th minute that Arsenal had even managed to carve out their goal and it seemed painfully apt that it came from two players who had emerged from the substitutes’ bench.
Arsenal concede late equaliser
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang paved the way for Nicolas Pepe to deftly find the net in the manner that Alexandre Lacazette, who missed a glorious one-on-one opportunity, had failed to.
And with 91 minutes on the clock, Arsenal looked in complete control of their lead when Cedric Soares was in possession of the ball in what appeared to be a completely innocuous situation.
However, let’s face it, we wouldn’t be here if that turned out to be the case because Soares’ poor decision to pass the ball back to Gabriel Magalhães started a damning chain of events.
Arsenal’s critical error
In fact, it ultimately led to Slavia Prague winning the corner from which Tomáš Holeš scored their crucial away goal, which is staggering when you consider how safe Arsenal appeared to be.
But alas, Gooners were absolutely furious with Soares’ decision to play backwards and the whole mishandling of the situation makes for painful viewing on a rewatch. Check it out down below:
Xhaka expresses his anger
However, fear not, Arsenal fans, because you weren’t alone in your frustration with Granit Xhaka ensuring that his teammates were painfully aware of how livid he was with the situation.
That’s because Goal’s Charles Watts observed that the Swiss midfielder was ‘furious’ at full-time and was openly ‘screaming’ at the defenders whose poor decision-making led to Slavia’s corner.
Xhaka was even heard fuming: “Just clear the fu**ing ball away man”.
Yeh, I don’t think you’re alone in feeling that way, Granit, because it goes to show how the slightest decisions and negative playing styles can lead to scenarios that affect the course of the game.
It remains to be seen whether the entire tie will be impacted by Arsenal’s sloppy corner concession but one thing we do know for certain is that it’s made their life much, much harder.