Crvena Zevzda 0-1 Arsenal
Europa League Group Stage
Red De-Starred Belgrade…..
A comfortable win for Arsenal.
Despite immense differences in resources, global scope, fanbase, and finances, Crvena Zvezda has won the European Cup, and Arsenal never has. So we should give them some due respect, despite their comparative “lowly” footing.
However, Arsenal looked comfortable throughout, though looked a little rusty up top at times.
The atmosphere at Crvena was pretty much to type, and not something Arsenal’s players would be used to. Still, they came away with a win, and three points in this group.
It was a mixed affair, with both teams having some good chances.
Theo should have scored, whilst Cech made a decent save towards half-time. Crvena also hit the post, and both teams needed to step up a gear in the second half.
Arsenal looked more enterprising, with Wilshere appeared near his old self.
Nelson also looked bright, and offered good width on the Crvena left-side. He had a chance, where he beat a few of their defenders, and placed a shot to the near post which the Crvena keeper saved well.
Wilshere controlled the midfield capably, and ultimately it was his initiative that led to the goal. He had beaten the Crvena players, and looked up to see both Giroud and Walcott. This resulted in a wondrous interplay between them, and Giroud finishing with a superlative over-head kick to get the winner.
Moreover, the Serbs went down to ten men, due to a challenge from their defender on Coquelin. It possibly was dangerous play, as Coquelin went down holding his head. Crvena could also have been awarded a penalty, though on TV replays at the least it appeared moot.
It wasn’ the best performance, however Arsenal were seldom under any real pressure. Cech was able to handle their shots ably, and did well to keep a clean sheet.
Elneny and Debuchy both started in defence, and looked for the most part OK. Elneny made an error in the second half, though it did not lead to a goal despite putting the Crvena player through.
Holding returned, and looked solid; however Maitland-Niles didn’t provide as much width as Nelson.
Cech 7, Elneny 5, Holding 6, Debuchy 6, Maitland-Niles 5, Nelson 8
The midfield was capable, especially with Wilshere in excellent form. Coquelin was solid, though it was disappointing to see him get injured again. Willock was also pretty subdued.
Wilshere 9, Coquelin 6, Willock 5
Giroud was quiet, whilst Walcott showed pace but not much penetration. Giroud’s goal however was expertly taken.
Giroud 8, Walcott 6
Can Arsenal win the Europa League this season? It’s possible, and quite feasible.
AC Milan are strong, whilst some good teams will finish third in their respective Champions League groups.
Nonetheless, Arsenal man for man are arguably the best team in the competition, and with the big guns out in the latter rounds, it may be opportune to win and retain a Champions League place.
A certain club in Arsenal’s geographic vicinity is proud at a draw at the Bernabeu (despite Arsenal actually winning there years ago, and with a comparatively weaker team….) However, Arsenal could actually win this competition unlike them, and like in May 2017 show what winning things actually is…
Man of the match – Wilshere.
Super Jack, seemingly is back. He provided the drive and impetus for our goal, which ranks amongst the many wonder goals both he and Giroud have played parts in.