Wenger slams ‘suicidal’ Arsenal and reacts to Giroud and Oxlade-Chamberlain errors
PUBLISHED: 05:35 26 February 2015 | UPDATED: 13:05 26 February 2015
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Arsene Wenger was left fuming with Arsenal’s “suicidal defending” as their nightmarish 3-1 defeat to Monaco left them on the brink of Champions League elimination.
Arsenal were the big favourites against Wenger’s former side Monaco, but the unfancied Ligue 1 outfit have one foot in the quarter-finals after they ruthlessly punished the Gunners’ kamikaze defending in the first leg encounter at the Emirates Stadium.
Geoffrey Kondogbia put Monaco ahead with a deflected strike in the first half, and former Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov doubled their lead with a breakaway second goal after the break.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pulled a goal back with a superb finish in the dying minutes, but Monaco substitute Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco raced free to score the visitors’ third goal at the death as Arsenal’s dreadful defending was laid bare again.
“Congratulations to Monaco, they had a perfect result and played the game they wanted to play,” said Wenger in his post-match press conference. “On our side, I believe that we missed the chances and we were a bit suicidal defensively,” said Wenger.
“We were not at the level defensively and we were a bit unlucky as well because the first goal is deflected. On the second and the third goal we were suicidal.
“We had the luck to come back to 2-1 but not the right to give away a goal the way we did because that makes our task extremely difficult in the second leg.
“It looks like we have lost our nerve and our rationality on the pitch. The heart took over the head and at that level it doesn’t work.”
Olivier Giroud had a night to forget for Arsenal as he missed a string of chances, including one open goal, before he was replaced by Theo Walcott with half an hour still to play.
“I felt he had an off night tonight,” said Wenger. “He missed easy chances and it looked like it was not one of his best days.”
The Gunners’ boss also admitted goalscorer Oxlade-Chamberlain was bitterly disappointed with his role in Monaco’s third goal.
The 21-year-old lost possession in midfield in the build-up and allowed Monaco to break, but Wenger felt his defenders were to blame.
“He’s very disappointed but it can happen that you lose the ball 70 metres from goal,” said Wenger. “It doesn’t mean you have to concede a goal, you have defenders behind you.”
He added: “The players wanted to do well and come back when it was 2-1. They wanted to come back to 2-2 and forgot their elementary cautiousness.
“We have a smaller chance [to qualify] but no matter how big the chance is we will go for it. We need to recover from this disappointment and prepare for the next game.”