Thursday, March 13, 2014

Why don't more teams 'go for it'?

Arsenal and Manchester City can have few complaints when they see they are not in the final 8 of the Champions League. Yes, there were bad decisions, penalties, red cards and chances missed, but neither team really went for it in the second leg.

You're 2-0 down on aggregate away from home against the biggest teams in Europe, and you don't change the game plan. Both Arsenal and City started with one up front and flooded the midfield. It has worked for them domestically, but they have better players than 80% of the teams in the Premier League. Man for man they can just about compete with Bayern and Barca, but at some point you have to mix it up.

Arsene Wenger and Manuel Pellegrini seemed to be want to keep it at 0-0 in the first half, with neither English team really pushing forward. In all honesty, both were lucky to be scoreless at half-time.

But if the plan (and it's worked) is to keep it at 2-0 overall with 45 minutes left, you then have to go for it. Bring another attacker on at the break, change the system, gamble.

Losing the tie over 2 legs isn't the worst thing in the world, but losing without ever really trying to win is pointless. City had more changes than Arsenal, and at least rolled the dice with 30 minutes left. Arsenal don't really have the squad (or strikers) to do it, but this is why their managers are paid the big bucks - or is that just my opinion?

And who cares if you lose 3-1, 4-1, 5-1 or 6-1? You're out of the tournament regardless, and maybe grabbing that first goal puts the cat among the pigeons and ruffles a few feathers. You're not brave, heroic or valiant losers for hanging on for a draw after losing the first leg... you're just losers.