Thursday, 10 December 2009

An extremely creditable performance considering it was a dead rubber. Match report.

Take out Silvestre (who by the way was rather good) and the average age of the Arsenal team last night was 20.

Then take into account that this was the biggest game of Olympiacos' season and that they were roared on by fanatical home support who were desperate for their team to get through to the knockout stages.

In doing this, it is impossible not to be impressed by Arsenal's performance last night. It would be easy to call this a Carling Cup team but it actually had even less experience than we usually field in that competition.

And yet the players were not overawed. They passed it around well and while it was a relatively open game, it's fair to say we dominated. We created some great chances and were unlucky not to equalise at the end but ultimately, this match was not about the score.

It was about blooding some players for the future. Some of them - like Kerrea Gilbert - probably won't make it at Arsenal but if a few do, it will have been a very worthwhile exercise. In fielding the team we played last night, Arsene Wenger fielded the youngest side in the history of the Champions League.

Often, it's easy to criticise Arsenal for their reliance on youth. But, the team which played last night will embody part of Arsene Wenger's legacy at Arsenal: a plethora of young players which can help us for generations to come.

Once again, we've qualified from our group as group winners so there is nothing to complain about. While we may lack the consistency to win the League - who's looking forward to Burnley away on a cold Wednesday in December next week? - the Champions League is a knockout competition. Let's see where the draw takes us next week and be hopeful.

Keep the faith,

(No Tom Cruise jokes. No Tom Cruise puns. Does this blog lack star quality?)

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