English Premiership

Gunners must cope with pressure

2015-03-18 13:02
Olivier Giroud (AFP)

London - Arsenal's failure to assert themselves and win under pressure led to their exit from the Champions League at the first knockout stage for the fifth successive season.

The defensive frailties and overall poor showing in the home leg of their Round of 16 tie against AS Monaco, which they lost 3-1, proved too big a setback for the Gunners who played well and deserved the 2-0 win in the away fixture on Wednesday.

Their former striker Charlie Nicholas, had no doubt why they lost a tie most people thought they were going to win easily.

"When they have nothing to lose, they can go for it," said Nicholas, who spent four years at Arsenal in the 1980s.

"But they need to start turning up when the pressure is on them. That's why they don't win big football matches domestically. That's why they have been put out against Monaco.

"They have all the class and their ability is as good as anyone else. They are probably second only to Barcelona playing fluent football, but they only play when the pressure is off," he told Sky Sports.

The odds were stacked against Arsenal going into the game. The last team to overturn a two-goal deficit from a first leg home defeat and advance in UEFA's top competition was Ajax Amsterdam who overcame Benfica in 1969.

No team have done it in the Champions League era but Arsenal came close as goals from Olivier Giroud and substitute Aaron Ramsey took them close.

They out-played Monaco for long periods and although they ended as the moral victors it was a familiar tale of them falling just short again.

Angry Arsenal fans called a radio phone-in afterwards and blamed manager Arsene Wenger for the failure and many said the team would never win the Champions League or a major honour while he was in charge.

But the reality is somewhat different.

Arsenal are currently third in the Premier League after winning eight of their last nine league matches, and are favourites to retain the FA Cup with a semi-final next month against Championship side Reading.

Skipper Per Mertesacker attempted to keep things in perspective, saying: "We have a lot of confidence for the FA Cup and the League because we have done well in recent weeks.

"We were outstanding today and if we go on like that we have a great chance of qualifying again next season."

Read more on:    arsenal  |  champions league  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Monday, 18 December 2017
Everton v Swansea City, Goodison Park 22:00
Friday, 22 December 2017
Arsenal v Liverpool, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Saturday, 23 December 2017
Everton v Chelsea, Goodison Park 14:30
Stoke City v West Bromwich Albion, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v AFC Bournemouth, Etihad Stadium 17:00
Swansea City v Crystal Palace, Liberty Stadium 17:00
West Ham United v Newcastle United, London Stadium 17:00
Southampton v Huddersfield Town, St. Mary's Stadium 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Watford, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur, Turf Moor 19:30
Leicester City v Manchester United, King Power Stadium 21:45
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.