Speaking after Arsenal’s embarrassing 1-0 defeat to BATE Borisov, Petr Cech said the problem was that the team didn’t look like they would’ve scored if they’d played for hours more.
Cech conceded one goal in the defeat to BATE Borisov, of course, but he rightly highlighted afterwards that the real problem was at the other end. Arsenal could afford to concede one or two away from home, as long as they scored one or two in response.
That’s the nature of the away goals rule, you get punished if you draw a blank in the opposition’s stadium. Unfortunately, as the goalkeeper pointed out afterwards, a goal never looked like coming.
“Yesterday it was one of those games where if we played for another couple of hours probably we wouldn’t have scored,” Cech said. “But there are games in football like that. You try, you play, the goal does not arrive and you have to go home with the result you don’t want but you have to pick yourself up and be ready for the second leg.
“This is the advantage of playing two-legged ties – when one game goes wrong you can always make up for it. We didn’t take our chances.
“In the first half, in particular, we played well and created enough chances to go ahead in the game but unfortunately, we didn’t take our chances and then we conceded in the last minute of the first half which obviously gave them a lot of confidence and belief.”
A couple of chances did fall Alexandre Lacazette’s way in the match, as he headed over from close range and scored from a marginally offside position. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Nacho Monreal also had good opportunities in the first five minutes of the game. Other than that, it really did feel like a match where an Arsenal goal was never going to come.
Without Lacazette in the second leg, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang really needs to rediscover his goalscoring form in the Europa League. The striker hasn’t scored in three games now, since the opening match of the group stage. Let’s hope he’s up to the task.