It would be incredibly churlish of me to point at the referee as the reason Arsenal crashed out of the Champions League.
To be honest, I don’t even want to write this review but needs must.
The referee who handed Bayern Munich a penalty in the dying minutes of our game against them last season, despite nobody else seeing a foul, once again made a number of errors as Arsenal struggled to find three goals against Monaco but it’s hard to say if any of them had an impact on the game.
There was the blatant back-pass that he missed as well as his apparent dislike of Alexis Sanchez and insistence on ignoring every time he was fouled. Then there was the decision to book the Chilean player for a dive when he’d actually clipped his own legs, that call coming just moments after he had gone down softly much to the annoyance of the referee.
On the flip side, having booked Sanchez for diving he could have issued him a second yellow for a late foul and many refs in Europe would have done so with glee. Francis Coquelin also got away with one early on when he went through the back of a Monaco player and was lucky not to pick up a card.
He was also warning Monaco about time-wasting from the 14th minute which was nice, but they weren’t actually doing much of that really. But it was good that he was aware it might be an issue.
There were throws given to the wrong teams, goalkicks awarded when they were corners and other niggly little calls not given, but both sides have cause to complain, Arsenal perhaps more-so but I realise that I am biased.
Arsenal have no one else to blame for their exit from the competition. Their first-leg shambles left them with a mountain to climb and they just weren’t able to scale the heights.
Maybe next year, eh?