Monday, November 29, 2021

Report: Arsenal 3-2 Benfica (Gunners win 4-3 on aggregate)

Result: Arsenal 3-2 Benfica
Competition: Europa League
Date: 25 February 2021
Venue: Karaiskakis Stadium, Athens

Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney, Ceballos, Xhaka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Saka, Aubameyang

Subs: Ryan, Hein, Cedric, Chambers, Mari, Elneny, Partey, Pepe, Willian, Nketiah, Lacazette, Martinelli


Bukayo Saka laid on two brilliant assists for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as Arsenal survived an almighty scare in Athens to secure a 4-3 aggregate win against Benfica.

The Gunners were pegged back at the break when Diogo Goncalves cancelled out Aubameyang’s opener with a stunning free-kick. The away side then put themselves within touching distance of the last-16 when Rafa Silva took advantage of a terrible mistake by Dani Ceballos only for Kieran Tierney to get us level again on the night with a fine left-foot finish.

Just as it looked like Benfica might hold out, Saka teased a cross for Aubameyang to head home the all-important winner with two minutes remaining.

Pre-game

Kieran Tierney may have been knackered after completing 90 minutes against Manchester City on Sunday but that didn’t stop Mikel Arteta from selecting the Scot for a second start in quick succession. Inside the left-back, David Luiz and Gabriel, who partnered each other in Rome, returned in place of Rob Holding and Pablo Mari. Thomas Partey was fit enough to make the bench but not quite ready to play from the off so Dani Ceballos was selected alongside Granit Xhaka. Ahead of them, the boss stuck with his trio of young creators – Martin Odegaard, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka – and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang led the line.

First Half

Coming into the game with the advantage of an away goal, the Gunners seemed reluctant to go hell for leather from the off. We controlled the tempo and the ball, made pretty triangles all over the pitch and patiently bided our time. David Luiz did a lot of pointing and seemed to want to slow things to walking pace. Thankfully others showed a bit more urgency.

Odegaard saw a lot of the ball and with Saka close to him, you always sensed we had the quality to create something. The question was whether Aubameyang was in the mood or not. Our captain hinted that he might be when he chased down a Xhaka diagonal, danced into the box with a couple of stepovers and then tested the keeper, albeit with a tame effort.

Benfica focused their efforts on trying to hit us on the counter when Ceballos and Xhaka were backtracking. On a couple of occasions, they seemed to have us outnumbered by their decision-making in the final third was woeful. Their lack of progress looked like it was taking a toll on their confidence and we really took a grip on the game.

Xhaka tried his luck from range and Tierney, found by a brilliant pass by Odegaard, picked out Smith Rowe who couldn’t quite get a shot off.

Two minutes later, the goal we’d been teasing, finally came. After very precise, patient build-up play, Odegaard fed Saka who spotted an Aubameyang run and threaded a delightful reverse pass for the striker. As the keeper rushed out, he executed the perfect dinked finish and the ball nestled in the back of the net.

Having missed three great chances in Rome, this was the perfect riposte. He was quick to thank Saka for what was a quite brilliant pass. (1-0)

Six minutes, later Saka came desperately close to doubling the advantage. His run picked out by Ceballos he only had the keeper to beat but saw his shot saved by a foot. Replays suggested it might have been disallowed if it had gone in.

Given our dominance, it was all the more frustrating to head to the dressing room on level terms. In the closing stages of the half, Ceballos gave away a cheap free-kick 25-yards from goal and Diogo Goncalves stepped up and curled an unstoppable shot over the wall into the top corner. (1-1)

Second Half

Knowing we needed a goal to avoid extra-time, we started with purpose. A brilliant pass by Odegaard freed Aubameyang behind the defence on 49 minutes and just like he did for his goal, he brilliantly dinked the keeper. This time though, the flag went up and VAR confirmed the offside.

Odegaard spreading the play to Tierney was a common theme but getting somebody on the end of the Scot’s balls into the box proved difficult. We won corners, but as it turned out that was not a good thing.

On the hour mark, keeper Svilar claimed from another lame set-piece and quickly launched a long-clearance that had Ceballos back-peddling. He didn’t look at all comfortable as the ball fell out of the sky and when it bounced he tried and failed to head it back to Leno. Stealing in behind him, Rafa Silva picked up the loose ball, strolled past the German and tapped into an empty net. Benfica couldn’t believe their luck. (1-2)

Arteta responded by sending on Partey and Willian for Ceballos and Smith Rowe. The response was quick. The Brazilian pulled the ball back to Tierney, who stepped inside his marker and crashed home a low shot on the diagonal. Game on. (2-2)

David Luiz, against his former club, fired wide from range. Darwin Nunez did similar for Benfica. We looked as likely to concede as score. The visitors messed up a break after we gave away the ball sloppily and Saka fired over after Aubameyang had done well charging down a clearance by the keeper.

Lacazette came on for Bellerin which meant Saka went to right wing-back. The change left gaping holes in midfield and left us very exposed. At a time when we should have been dominating proceedings, they were all over us.

It took five minutes of panic football but we got a grip on things. Then, with three minutes remaining, we got the goal we needed. Saka on the right, clipped a perfect cross to the back post for Aubameyang to head home. You beauty! (3-2)

Could we hold out in four minutes of stoppage time? Chambers and Elneny came on to sure things up. We sat deep, 11 men behind the ball. Silva hit the post for Benfica with a header only to be flagged offside. Hearts in mouth stuff. Not long after the whistle went. Fucking hell, Arsenal. You don’t make it easy, do you?

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Cheerio

I’m a pretty rational person otherwise so I have no idea why I put myself what this club gives us

goongot

I am glad we went ahead but i am all in for manager change in the summer.Nothing against arteta,but this group of players can do better with good manager.

Cheerio

I’m still making my mind up on the manager but it does feel like for yeaaaaars we prefer taking the longest, most difficult way of going from point A to B

Nketibag

I’m not sure that’s fair on Arteta. He’s already got a trophy in the cabinet don’t forget. Give him one season where Partey plays every match and judge him after that.

Hank Scorpio

A decision should be made at season’s end. Another full season of mediocrity is not on. No point sacking him half way through next season if this continues. It will be a full season lost. Give him some targets for the rest of this season and take it from there. For me, a 10th place finish and Europa League failure would be enough to move him on

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Were you really expecting a manger with zero experience to come in and be the next Pep or Klopp? I’m sure his bosses didn’t expect that. In a covid season too, with virtually no pre season, and players that he clearly didn’t want around.

He deserves another full season at least.

Hank Scorpio

Absolutely not my expectations but that’s a lot of excuses and disclaimers there. Arteta is on a learning curve and in particular he needs to improve his man management in my view but I’ve not said he should be sacked or said he’s shit and think my point is valid. We should have a degree of confidence of an upward trajectory before committing to another full season with Arteta.

TeddyT

Improve his man management skills? Xhaka – turned one of the most hated players at arsenal into a top 5 player for us this year and someone who’s been picked for almost every important game. Aubamayeng – got our leading goal scorer to sign a new contract Ozil – moved him on and got the distraction out of the way and not sure if you have looked it up but he isn’t doing too well in Turkey. Geundouzi – sent him on loan for attitude reasons. Hertha just came out saying he is in puberty and has bursts and gets… Read more »

mrugunner

Xhaka – turned one of the most hated players at arsenal into a top 5 player for us this year and someone who’s been picked for almost every important game. —- we are f***ing 2nd half of table. no wonder he is in our top 5 player Aubamayeng – got our leading goal scorer to sign a new contract —— when we should have moved on Geundouzi – sent him on loan for attitude reasons. Hertha just came out saying he is in puberty and has bursts and gets angry ——- so basically saying he doesnt know how to deal… Read more »

TeddyT

I didn’t want to respond but wow. So much wrong In your statement. Arteta turning Xhaka around is not the reason we are 11th. Lol he did turn a player who we would have had to sell for nothing into a very important player and got the best out of his limited abilities. Aubamayeng – who the f**k would be have signed if we let him go on our budget??? That’s right there is no one of his quality available on a budget we don’t have Douzie – sending him out on loan BECAUSE he is a rowdy teenager who… Read more »

David Dein

I like your non negotiable!

Giuseppe Hovno

This group of players looked shite before Arteta

Frank Bascombe

Thank you.

Hank Scorpio

Without him we wouldn’t have ‘climbed’ to 10th and scraped a win today.

Guns Up

Distinctly possible, yes. And stop fixating on the table with a third of the season yet to be played. After City, it’s about the tightest table I can remember – let’s see where we end up after the easiest run-in of the top half teams.

Hank Scorpio

Not arguing with you. I’m happy to wait for season’s end. For Arsenal there’s no such thing as an easy run-in.

Murphy was an Arsenal Fan

Don’t know what you’re getting downvoted for. Do people seriously not remember the run-in we had under Emery in 2018-19? Arsenal slipped from a seemingly unassailable 3rd to 5th.

charvakan

I believe everyone knew that it was not possible that Arteta would be a good top flight manager after a few years at City as an assistant. The hope was that he would become a good top flight manager, progressing along with the squad. It is WAY too early to give up on him. He didn’t pick a lot of the players he had to manage. Some had to lose bad habits and pick up good habits. He had to impose discipline and drill the squad into playing a certain way. As was mentioned, he does have an FA Cup… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

A handball in the box. A silly foul on the edge of the area, and a complete fuck up from Ceballos. It’s unfair to put those on the manager.

David Dein

I like your non negotiable!

Jorin

Yup, I lost some of my hair when Willian came on as a response to going a goal down. But, he had an assist. Such a rollercoaster, our beloved club.

Anonymarse

It’s the arsenal way

Thierrys_Tears

That was as switched on as I have seen Willian. Appeared to be willing to work today. No complaints on him.

I’ve been asking myself that question since 09😂😂😂. Supporting this club is a cardiovascular experiment in itself.

I’d bet your average Arsenal supporter has higher blood pressure levels than most other supporters.

Anonymarse

Its like being in an abusive relationship

viegunner

perhaps this is being an arsenal fan now. holding your breath and seeing us making it into the last-16 in the el.

you know what, this was awesome. it was horrible but it was great, too. if this is where we are right now, you might as well enjoy it. i sure did. can’t remember the last time i was so pumped with a goal. fa cup final i guess.

Marjani

You think that’s bad? Try Liverpool!

Backpass Bill

I can confirm Salibaba – red and white since 69 – quad bypass – and the missus still thinks it was the stress and the beer!

Granit(e) hard!

Yeah..hear hear

Bob's Mexican Cousin

Supporting Arsenal is definitely not boring lol

CAZORSAKANELLI

WHAT does Arteta have against Martinelli? Why is a leggy and obviously tired ESR starting ahead of Martinelli? Also even if the started why isn’t Martinelli brought on when it was obvious we needed some injection of pace. Also Saka was absolutely Knackered just exhausted and yet he still provides the assist of the game. I thought Martinelli would come on for him I don’t understand Arteta but man like I’ve said if he doesn’t win Europa League he must be fired.

TCGNR

That’s a really lame take; if he doesn’t win Europa, lol, have you seen the other teams that are in this tournament? They will *never* win Europa.

Frank Bascombe

Yet, here’s you, unable to post a comment without error… Funny that.

Backpass Bill

Yes you do – same for all of us – it’s beyond our control!

Grymelock

I know the feeling, I keep asking why I do this to myself, now of all times? 😥

Holy FUCK that was rough. We needed to win that or I feared for this club. Honestly, Ødegaard wants to play right, so let him, Saka back left & ESR back centre. We’ll be better for it.
And thank you Ceballos, for convincing us not to waste a penny on you.

Prakhar

This game is why we love football.

Give youth a chance

Arsenal… Bloody hell

Murphy was an Arsenal Fan

The way I see it, Arsenal keeps me fit. Without kicking the ball in anger for anyone, I get plenty of Cardio exercise.

Johnny 4 Hats

Slight hyperbole warning coz we won: Is there any player in the history of Arsenal who, as a teenager, has 100% carried and ran this side? In fact, how many are there in world football that have bossed an elite (don’t laugh) side like Saka does? Apart from Messi, I can’t think of another player so young who can do that at a top club. Fab was great but I don’t remember eternally relying on him in his teens. We are officially a one man team. Now give that lad a rest! Phew. I’m off for a codeine tablet and… Read more »

Frank Bascombe

You’re the gift that just keeps giving you mate.

Qwaliteee

Top post. Nailed it.

Enjoy your drink. 🥃

SB Still

What a special set of young talent we have Tierney and Saka. I would definitely add ESR and Martinelli, although I’m not sure if Arteta see them the same way. Arteta seems to value experience more than potential. we won the match with Willian and Elney on the pitch!

Happy that we live to fight another day.

atom

It’s scary to think about how bad this season would be without Saka. He is 19 but arguably already our most important player. I know he just got a new contract but we need to offer him a new one already with many more years added on.

The Peter Simpsons

The kid is an absolute gem – our biggest challenge will be keeping hold of him. Luckily he has Arsenal DNA.

Comedian

Arteta is starting to confuse me of what kind of football does he wish to play. I always thought he wanted attacking pacy wingers and Martinelli is the perfect player for that but he keeps playing players who love taking their own sweet time for a pass. Even Odegaard looked more careful with his passing, problem might be the coaching as well. But I hope i am wrong and it is just my mind creating doubts.

Urs Seiler

Looks like Arteta doesn’t know either.

John

I think it’s clear now from how he’s first choice is Odegaard (which I’m not arguing with by the way) and Smith-Rowe together with Saka that neither Martinelli and Pepe are his ideal wingers for how he wants to play. Signing Willian and persisting with him with him (which I am very much arguing with) makes some sense in this regard, from Arteta’s point of view (or rather what I imagine it to be).

Hank Scorpio

And yet by doing this he has dropped Pepe just as he was playing well and contributing out on the left – output that contributed to good results. This will no doubt impact his confidence which only just seemed to be returning. Then you need to weigh up that ESR (and Saka for that matter) could do with a rest and that keeping Odegaard next season could come at too great a cost. Worst of all the fact that Willian’s assist will vindicate to Arteta his persistence with Willian when all today’s assist showed was support for the infinite monkey… Read more »

Eyob

Saka is really unbelievable. He is going to make a wonderful City player.

charvakan

I can’t like this post, but it’s funny, in a tragic way.

Fatgooner

How dare you say that!!!!

He’s going to Chelsea.

Hank Scorpio

A lot of down votes but a couple more tenth places and he’ll be off. Sterling left Liverpool after they finished 6th. Let’s hope we can match his ambitions

SB Still

I would say I area we have improved is Leno didn’t take out that man.

Also in a few years I look forward to Tierney captain this side. His frustration when we conceded the 2nd goal and passion when he scored, Adams like.

davorsuker

What’s Arteta’s plan with Martinelli? Getting worried about his neglect

charvakan

He picked his nose during training, so won’t be played for a while. Discipline.

davorsuker

Yupp, totally the young Brazilian lacks humility and hard-at-work mentality that’s pretty obvious. Our man’s body language tells it all

Kwine

That was a real shocker, but yet exactly what I was expecting. Can’t even count the assist of the clown as Tierney demanded the ball and it was the easier iotiin for him

Fuzz

easy

The_Golden_Wrigglesworth

Two up, too easy.

Justno

Thanks for trying but it’s time to go Mikel.

Santi’s Flip Flop

Have a day off pal

Justno

What has he actually done this season?

Prem? Nope.
EL? We barley beat Benfica 🤣.
Cup? Nope.
Player management? Average (e.g. Saliba, Willian)

Emery and Wenger got ‘sacked’ after better results/performances

TCGNR

Better performances by Emery?! That’s an incredible rose-tinted glasses load! We were HORRIFIC under Emery, what are you smoking!!

eternalflamini

Rubbish!
Wait til the end of the season and THEN sack him.

Baichung Bhutia

I am really surprised why there is so much support for Arteta. Genuinely trying to understand. Is it all because of the FA cup win?

John

Personally, I don’t think Arteta is to blame for the state of our club. I see improvements. I support him as a coach. Where I have issue is with him being manager as well. I don’t think it’s good, and it’s only because our owner and board doesn’t have the football knowledge to recruit properly.

SB Still

Lucky for Arteta he succeeded Emery and not Wenger.

We were hoping for improvements after the later but glad to see some semblance of a team and a plan after the horror show under Emery.

Hank Scorpio

A bit like a sunk cost I suppose. A lot of hope has been invested in him. It would be a waste to give up on him after committing all that hope to him turning things around at the club. So keep invested in the guy even if it’s not evident that he can progress this group. Objectively though, the jury is out on him.

Joe

He not only won the cup but has tightened up a defense whose leakiness everyone decried (reduced goals conceded per game by .25).

To me any arguments to fire him must stem from the (absurd) premise that this squad should be challenging for the top 4 despite missing our best midfielder/new signing for most of the season.

Jimbo

Who would you replace him with?

Baichung Bhutia

Someone experienced. Diego Simeone perhaps.

Bob's Mexican Cousin

Perhaps he won’t be interested after winning La Liga

Fezec

“Someone experienced. Diego Simeone perhaps.“

Why not Pep? Or Klopp?

Bort

Hahaha I needed a laugh after all the stress caused by Ceballos. Thanks!
Just look up Simeones salary, and Atletico’s league position.
Also his style is the opposite of Arsenal, he’s an expensive -and really effective- park the bus type of manager

Baichung Bhutia

I think we have quickly forgotten the kind of football we played before the Chelsea win. From what I have watched of Arteta, he is a very very cautious manager and there is nothing wrong with. God knows we have had our share of gung-ho attacking football with clowns at the back. I know there is little chance of getting Simeone, but he is a manager I really admire.

Man Manny

Why not Mourinho then?

Justno

Favre- Solid, good with youth
Allegri- Proven, Experienced, knows how to build a Worldclass defence.
Jesse Marsch- outside the box, but have you seen RB Salzburg play? Impressive (Even in CL/UEL on occasion)

Santi’s Flop Flop

I’d rather guide my dad into my nan than watch an Arsenal team coached by Simeone or Allegri. Favre is having an awful season with Dortmund and Marsch is an interesting choice, but one for the future.

This Arsenal team are well coached, but lack players. My key issue is with recruitment, not coaching.

Justno

At least Allegri and Simeone teams are able to punch above their weight class.

Favre had an alright season at Dortmund and considering how often his players were sold and the limited recruitment, he did really well.

Marsch is less of a “one for the future” coach than we got now….

Considering recruitment is in Artetas hand, it’s not really making a case for him

Joe

Dortmund has Sancho, Reyna, Bellingham, and Haaland, you’re having a laugh saying they needed extensive recruitment.

Alex

Ancelotti and Brendan Rogers are both managing smaller clubs with lesser budgets to a better place more quickly. And Ancelotti has won everything.

John

Rogers has been knocked out at this stage of the EL five times…
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John

Sorry, that was supposed to be a smiling emoji. Didn’t work. 🙂

Announce Bendtner

Wow. We win a game and you call for our manager to be sacked.

goongot

we were like 5 minutes away from this report being bombarded by arteta_out post. Jury is still out on him. If a better manager is available, we should get him.

Futsboller

Yeah, I think I’m done with website, unfortunately. I need to find a place that actually celebrates when their team wins … maybe it is time to create one of my own.

Chris

Send me the link when you get that set up. I could do with some positivity too

corkey19

Excellent idea, Futsboller. Then, when your website is full of comments that counter your narrative, will you close it and start another one? I agree that we should be positive, but zoom out and soak up the broader perspective, for the love of everything holy and good

Bob's Mexican Cousin

Be sure not to tell anybody so your website stays right on your taste

Tapps

I’d sign up!

Unnecessarilystupid

We shouldn’t be getting knocked out of Europe Galatasaray one year and nearly benfica the following.

JBF

Who gives a fishes tit, onwards!

Unnecessarilystupid

We should be putting teams like this to bed. What we’re producing should not be accepted as good enough for Arsenal.

matthinc

Dude, it’s football. Other teams can be good. We won!

Mentalista

We won despite Arteta, not because of him. All goals came from lapses of individual brilliance, but the overall attacking play, i.e. the coach’s input, is still terrible.

Joe

“Lapses of individual brilliance.”
Well i guess you take the award for inadvertent individual brilliance in commentary, but your argument re: our manager is not convincing.

Russ

He’s only just got rid a load of deadwood. He’s starting to shape things which takes time. Yes he’s making mistakes but what did we expect, we knew it was his first managerial job.

Let’s support him, too fucking quick to say, right change manager… When would it end.

So pleased we won tonight, wasn’t easy but we did it.

Justno

We barley beat a team who isn’t even in the top 3 in Portugal.
Arteta has spent plenty of money on players thus far and the results have actually gotten steadily worse since more than 6 months.

We making mistakes isn’t a problem, not recognising mistakes and making the same ones over and over-that’s a problem.

Russ

They’ve been top 3 for the last thirteen years I think they said and are currently 4th…

They’re pretty tough opposition, out of the English teams I think we had the toughest test and (or be it just) we’ve come through it.

I think this will be really positive for the team and something we can build on.

Even Willian did alright this evening and that won’t have done him any hard either

Russ

(Harm not hard)

Justno

“pretty tough”? What do you call Sociedad in that case? 😂

charvakan

I don’t see any sign that Arteta has “lost the dressing room.” He’s given our good young players a chance and they’re coming through. He’s dealt with the toxic Ozil situation and we won’t have to watch Mustafi “defend” anymore. Xhaka is a new man. Arsenal lost ground because Kroenke was late to the spending party and then Sanllehi misspent the money when he had it. I hope Arsenal give Mikel until the end of the next season, and have reasonable expectations for the club.

Comedian

Phew
We really can’t be this static, with certain players taking their own sweet time for a pass, also again felt Mikel still struggles with his subs.

Abhishek Dutta

Esp. Luiz. Slows down the build up play

StuArse

I agree. Please don’t give Luis a contract extension.

Glen Helders left foot

Arteta is a poor manager

DialSquareGoon

I’d rather say he’s far from the best.

Jean

I can not agree more, we look pedestrian in our passing at times, partly due to a lack of mouvement in front of them. The only player willing to drive at the defense is Saka, if we loose him well I can not imagine what can happen. I also think that having odegaard drifting exclusively on the left leaves gaping hole in the center. If only we had another midfielder or attacker running from deep in theses spaces (Pepe might do like against southampton), we would have been much more dangerous. ESR as good as he is can not play… Read more »

Jean

Odegaard drifting on the right sorry

CAZORSAKANELLI

ARTETA doesn’t know his best players yet this season is a big Giant pre season for him. Because if he knew what Martinelli is capable of he would play him more instead of Willian

Hank Scorpio

My concern is that he’ll now justify his persistence with Willian and return him to the starting line-up

Unnecessarilystupid

Let’s be honest, we made a pig’s ear of managing this tie and we’ve done this over and over for as long as I care to remember. I’m fed up with what we’ve become as a club. We used to be a club to be feared. We’re now, and have been for some time, a laughing stock. Win or not, this tie should have been out of site last week. Its fucking ridiculous the regularity of our monumental fuck ups. Also, I love Tierney.

Maniac

To be honest, I think Tierney should be club captain. He’s vocal, he leads from the front and he forces the team to perform better when we’re playing badly. No disrespect to Aubameyang, but he just doesn’t seem particularly inspiring on the pitch, let alone when we’re up against it.

Sheldon

I think scoring twice, and in the dying minutes to save our bacon is pretty inspiring.

Duno

His time will come. Chill.

Urs Seiler

Completely with you, this is exactly how it feels – kind of pointless.

C.B.

Phew!!! Season was practically over (especially with Willian coming on…). Well done Saka and Auba.

Hi-brid

Past it, that Aubameyang bloke (™J Redknapp).

A M

redknapp has egg on his face

Nainsley Aitland Miles

That’s disrespectful to an egg.

backsakacrack

Rednapp was born with egg on his face

Backpass Bill

More like face on his egg

Maniac

Phew. Definitely feeling a lot more relief than excitement right now. Somehow scraped into the next round after almost completely manufacturing our own demise. We conceded 3 goals in two legs, yet I’m not sure Benfica actually created a single chance themselves. We need to be much, much better if we want any chance of progressing any further in this competition.

backsakacrack

Aha that is spot on.
It would have been the ultimate suicide result. They did the square root of fuck all in 120 minutes.

Voldermort

The team and particularly Arteta got away one there.
Bringing on Willian despite his assist is bordering on negligence.
This team is so flaky ,who knows if we could win this thing.

A Different George

I don’t like Willian either, but he not only got an assist, he was instrumental in all our attacks. The best he’s played for us since Fulham. Still don’t want him, but there’s no point in blaming him no matter what he does. Reminds me of Mustafi.

Hurensohn

He didn’t blame Willian or his performance, he blamed the manager for bringing on a player that has shown nothing since he arrived at the club. Based off what we’ve seen previously he’s right.

DBJr

Ceballos did all he could to knock us out of the Europa league didn’t he? Must not fancy playing Thursday’s. G

yen

I’m pretty amused at myself how absolutely unmoved by the drama I became over the years

PGunner

yen is zen

Wish I could say the same about me, but I can’t.

Hurensohn

I was completely apathetic. Our chance of winning this competition with some of the average players in our best 11 and under this miss-management means there was little at stake.

looover

STRESSSSSS… BLOODY HELL!!!!!! At one point a thought I was having a stroke. And we march on.

looover

“I thought”. My apologies.

Jordan Tan

All this mini heart attacks + emotional roller coasters.. this is what Arsenal calls entertainment. It’s amazing how we survived so long on this diet.. ho ho ho.

Jack

If I have stress related breakdown, I want you all to know now it was Dani Ceballos’ fault

Gunner Thesaurus

I don’t even know what to say. It’s hard to process all of this. Atleast we’re going through so there’s that.

pound4pound

Look, if Arsenal are going to keep driving me this close to a heart attack, I might as well take up heroin instead. Same end result, but with far less Willian.

Tomaury Bischfeld

Phew

ItaliArteta

We should have rested Saka 🙂

OdalGooner

I turned off the game at their second goal.

You’re welcome 🙂

Podb

Well done mate … I watched fearfully for 80min, then had to drop the wife at work at 9.30am in NZ, got a coffee, watched the last 10min on return unaware of score, thinking we never head in dramatic late winners. … happy daze. And I’m on holiday for two weeks. Bring on Spuds in the final.

Tapps

I want 5pur2 knocked out in the next round. If it can be by us, so much the better.

Alex

Phew. The result we needed! I’m happy and relieved.

But.

Talk about car crash management. You could SEE Ceballos was not comfortable in the second half.

Needing a goal, we take off our top assists creator (ESR) and go with Willian. What message does that give the team with 4 strikers on the bench.

Keeping the high ground is a golden rule of management. I’m genuinely worried for the long term while empty stadiums allow this to continue

Rubic

Yeah but ESR was knackered. He was already spent in the 1st half… and as it proved – his replacement Willian was clever enough to cut back to find Tierney in the box rather than dinking a cross in. It proved to be the spark that got us back in the match.

So what message does it give the team? That the Manager knows whats needed.

palpitating gunner

Napoli, Leicester, Manu and Villareal still in this competition. There’s no way we can even think about making it to the final if we play like this and if our players keep having these brain farts. Benfica were horrendous and it took an 89th moment of magic from Saka…can’t keep supporting this club for my cardiac health.

goonero

Napoli are out but I don’t back this team to win it anyway. I’m glad the team pulled the result off but it feels more like a stay of execution than progress towards a goal. This team is miles away from being good enough, as is the manager.

Guns Up

Man U, who we’ve beaten and drawn in the league? And no, Napoli and LC are not still in this competition. I certainly don’t EXPECT to win it, but it’s well within the realm of possibility.

PGunner

Get in!!! Love Saka so much

Kostas

Arteta is an amazing coach but we need a better one.

Glen Helders left foot

He’s a poor manager

Podb

It takes years and mega millions to build a top 4 team let alone win prem these days … West Ham, Everton, Leicester, Spuds to get past let alone the money dopers.
Give MA till end of next season at least. Be a bit more patient instead of demanding Instant Invincibles.

Biggles

Phew. At least we’re through which was the main consideration. More goals than I thought there would be and thank goodness Auba had his scoring boots on tonight. Hopefully, this will give everyone a boost which will be translated into our performances in the PL.

Karmafrench

Phew. That was insane. Might be crazy but i think we can finally win this garbage cup. On a side note, am i the only one who is preoccupied by the lack of rotation ? In and between games It feels like we have no energy for the last 15 minutes in every games. And it s weird to talk about the hardness of the schedule while playing the same team ( bar 5 ) for 4 games in 2 weeks. I like arteta and what is trying to do but i realy don t understant that. ( where is… Read more »

StuArse

Going to be tougg winning this cup. Sp*rs, Man It’s, Ajax still there.
I am also worried about ESR and Saka lack of rotation.

StuArse

Phew. We don’t make it easy for ourselves do we?!

Saka looked exhausted, but even so has the quality to do something special. Amazing talent. Had visions of Auba making a horrid miss like last year but thankfully put it away tonight.

We 100% need a new CM in the summer. Ceballos can go back to Madrid and not yet sold on Odegaard.

Partey time

Odegaard Man of the match by miles..

Ealing

What did you watch?

Tapps

I thought Odegaard was good – but Bukayo was light years ahead of anyone else on the pitch.

What an emotional rollercoaster of a match. I am glad Ceballos didn’t end up being the reason for our exit and I hope he learns from it. I was surprised to not see Pepe come on but that doesn’t matter now anyway. It’s crazy to think that our 1st successful cross from right-wing came from a leftie at RB. Hector needs to improve his game in this regard.

All in all, Tierney and Saka just have a different mentality from the team, they didn’t give up and this was a great test of their character.

On the right path?

Put ESR back in the 10 role!!!!!

Meinby

Agree so much on this. We’re playing slower now. Lack his energy and One touch play and run in The middle.

Kostas

Very good point. I would also add give Martinelli some starts…

Dawdler

I agree with this, strongly. Odegaard is a tidy player and has class but the balance is off and I don’t think his style of play fits our system or modern demands of the game anymore than Ozil’s did. There is a difference between a player’s talent as a stand alone quality and how that talent fits with the squad and demands of the game. There will be games when we need his skill, but imo he does not add anything to elevate our team performances above what Smith Rowe has. Also, he is not even our player and has… Read more »

StockholmGooner

I’ve a resting pulse of 55…
It’s 15 minutes since game over and it’s still 100 bpm+

A M

why do the players love giving the fans chronic hypertension? and why do we as fans still support the club lmao
anyways big win for us coyg

evaristus asobara

If there’s a next life, I almost wish I don’t become an Arsenal fan. This surely counts as a risk for Hypertension.
Nonsense!

Fatgooner

I feel like I’ve just been on the rack tortured for 90 minutes. That hurt!!

Can we have our money back for Ceballos?

Real Madrid

…..

No.

Heisenbird

Never in doubt… ahem.

Torterrier

I had my ‘I love you but fuck you Arsenal’ post readied but instead I’ll say I love you Arsenal but fuck you put us through some stress.

Giddygun

Up Saka. I thought he was tired at times. But when he had the ball, I always had an increased hope that something magic would happen. And he delivered…..twice!

Sammy Nelsons Arse

3 great goals. Saka and Auba great combo. Kieren’s goal got us back into the tie, well done guy from Black Eyed Peas for the assist.

Ozzie

I was going to say the guy from Boney-M. I must be too old.

Gunner J

Well that was fun!

BTW Willian will cost us more than he already has if we continue playing him in such important games, I feel bad for Martinelli poor guy is not getting any action, worse for Nelson and all at the expense of Willian.

goonerrah

Saka and Tierney saved the day. Arteta got the tactics wrong. He owes his job to Saka

Gunner J

Dont forget Smith Rowe

Man Manny

Boy! Arsenal got out of jail there.
Congrats to the boys… no complaints.

mongo

Feel like i’m going crazy reading these comments, we dominated the two ties aside from 3 moments of madness that I don’t know what Arteta is supposed to do?

People complaining about Arteta’s subs, when he subbed on people who turned down a two goal deficit?

People just looking to be miserable

Jean

Well, no matter what Arteta will do, people will ask for his sacking. He is very conservative in his approach because he knows that his midfield is not good enough. Our expectation as Arsenal fans is that we are going to win every games. The truth is that our team is still very much unbalanced quality wise. We need better players in midfield and sadly at RB, Thomas will not do everything by himself. Xhaka is a good cover, not a starter for a team aiming to win trophies ( or is it ? ask the Kroenkes) and Ceballos will… Read more »

Duno

Fucking hell!!! Would be forever in our hearts if we go on and win this. Come on you gunners!!! We know we want it more than anybody and we’re capable!!!

Jungu Beans

Liked Odegaard’s reaction to Tierney’s goal. Shows his heart is in it – desperate for the win.

Paul M

So so happy/ relieved that we got through. I mentioned Ceballos last week and got slaughtered for it but again…what does he do? Neat on the ball, but doesn’t score or assist and nearly cost us a place in Europe tonight. We need to upgrade our midfield in the summer to improve on what we’ve got exc Partey.

StuArse

Don’t know why, but so glad to see Chambers playing. He was looking good before his injury, but haven’t seen him much at all.

Announce Bendtner