Arsene Wenger blames Arsenal's suicidal defending for 3-1 loss to Monaco
Arsene Wenger has accused his players of “suicidal defending” and has said that it was the crucial factor in Arsenal’s surprise 3-1 humbling at the hands of Monaco at home. The two teams met in the first leg of their round-of-16 Champions League match at the Emirates Stadium last night.
Goals from Geoffrey Kondogbia and Dimitar Berbatov put the French side ahead for good. The Gunners looked to have given themselves a lifeline with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scoring in the 91st minute, but Yannick Ferreira Carrasco fired an injury time goal for Monaco to restore their two-goal advantage going into the second leg.
Wenger admitted his team's chances of making it through to the quarterfinals of the competition were quite bleak now. He said, “It was a horrible night, but congratulations to Monaco. They fought well and caught us on the break, but we had both aspects wrong. We had the chances we didn't take and we were suicidal defensively.”
“We were opened up on the second and third goal. We knew at half-time that it was important that we kept our nerve and with the vast experience we had through this competition, we knew we couldn't afford to do this.”
“On that front, we are very guilty, even at 2-1. How can we just leave it open the whole half? It's difficult to understand. We knew before the game what they would do. Absorb pressure and hit you on the break. What happened? Exactly that.”
“Everything went for them tonight, but on top of that you can see why Monaco has done well in the group stage. They are well organised and physically very strong. They didn't weaken through the game, but we did."
Wenger still sees hope for progress
The Arsenal manager went ahead to suggest that his side still have hope of making it through to the quarterfinals, but he recognized that the feat will require a herculean effort.
He said, “The task is massive now. The third goal makes it even more difficult. We will have a go, of course, and see what we can do there.”
“It's very, very disappointing, but the Champions League is down to performance on the day. When you don't perform to the level that is requested for 90 minutes, you are punished because the teams have the quality.”