Champions League: Valencia 2 – Arsenal 1… So close!

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
March 20th, 2003 • 4:02 pm

We almost made it… Thierry Henry’s brilliant goal would have been enough, had it not been for Sylvain Wiltord’s error that led to the second Valencia goal by Carew.

But in truth it should never have been such a tight race. We should have won the last game and be home safe and dry. Instead, we had to battle until the last moment, and lost.

There was a certain amount of bad luck: Henry’s header deflected on the post in the first half, two valid penalty claims in the second half… But the bottom-line is that it never should have got to this situation where our fate depended on a bit of luck, which we didn’t get.

As much as I hate to say it, we lost because of the lack of strength in our defence. While Sol Campbell continues to be impressive, Pascal Cygan has failed to convince so far, and Lauren still looks a bit too casual at times. It is quite obvious that, in ORDER to succeed in the Champions’ League, you need to be champions in defence. While our goal difference in the Premier League is pretty good, we have still let in too many goals this season.

I don’t want Arsenal to become a boring team focusing on defence. I want them to be both amazing and creative in attack, as they were again last night with that superb goal by Thierry Henry, and rock solid in defence. Maybe next year.

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