herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Berbatov returns to haunt Arsenal and put pressure on Wenger

Berbatov
Berbatov

ITS great to know that some things never change and that there at least some certainties in this mad old world. Take a bow Dimitar Bernatov.

He hasn't lost it. He still sulks. He still sits on the ground after a foul or a dive as if he might not bother getting up and if he does, everyone should be bloody grateful.

Arsene Wenger was briefly seduced by his sublime skills and 12 months ago, toyed with the idea of a January transfer move but didn't act. Good call at the time, bad one with hindsight.

He wasn't to know that Arsenal would run into Monaco in the Champions League but Berbatov's desultory approach to the game meant that Arsenal were effectively playing against ten men for a big chunk of the game.

That was the good news. The bad news was that ten was more than enough to put fear into Gunners' hearts and in the 38th minute, just one, Geoffrey Kondogbia, was needed to put the ball in the net.

Occasionally, Berbatov shifts himself and scores, as he did last night, a body blow moment for long-suffering Gunners' fans and a typical hatcher's goal.

This was the night, according to Wenger, when his team was supposed to show that they are on the up. That would have been defying gravity and reality. His old team Monaco showed how it is done these days.

Efficiency, physical strength and a tight defence will go a long way when the players involved have plenty of skills in their locker as well. It helped them a great deal that Arsenal showed no interest in putting in the hard graft needed to win a Champions League tie in the knock-out stage.

Alex Oxlade Chamberain gave a crumb of comfort but Carrasco buried Wenger's Champions League hopes with a third goal. Time up Arsene?

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