Thursday, 18 September 2008

Were we good? - No, but we weren't bad either...

“Let us not underestimate the privileges of the mediocre. As one climbs higher, life becomes ever harder; the coldness increases, responsibility increases. - Nietzsche

1 point gained or two points dropped - that is the fundamental conundrum which has to be addressed when looking at the result from Kiev. In the 85th minute, we would all have been grateful for a point, especially with Sky's ridiculous commentary, making it sound like we were being humbled by a team comparable to Milton Keynes Dons. Make no mistake, Kiev are a side who are difficult to break down and with a midfield which seemed to lack creativity on the night, we didn't create as much as we usually do. This is exemplified by how quiet Cesc was last night.

But, I'd much rather we worked our way into the Champions League and built ourselves up to a crescendo of our first European Cup in Rome than start fast but it lead to nothing. Bear in mind, that we won our first 3 games last season but then only 2 further games out of seven. And that this Kiev side was cynical to the extreme.

In Bucharest last year, we won 1-0 and it was considered a professional performance. Here, we would have won 1-0 but for a dodgy penalty

I think that encapsulates the crux of the problem - it's difficult to play away in Eastern Europe, and if the decisions don't go your way, it won't be your night.

Where Nietzsche speaks of how "responsibility increases", I would argue that this is what happens to Arsenal now: other teams raise their game when they play us, for we are considered a big scalp on the world stage.

Including yesterdays result, we have won 3 out of our last 12 away games in the Champions League proper - us failing to win away in Europe is common.

What that stat means, is that we have to win our home games. And on past experience, there is no reason to expect we can't take 9 points from 9 at home.

Ultimately, the most important thing in the aftermath of Kiev, is that we don't lost any momentum, but rather kick on in the league, especially whilst one of our main rivals is struggling.

I'll probably post after the Bolton game, but it is a game we should win if we have serious title aspirations. And we all remember last year, mind I don't want a repeat.

Keep the faith...


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