24th November, 2010
Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger opted for pragmatism rather than panache yesterday and paid the price as his Arsenal side lost 2-0 in Braga to leave in doubt a berth in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
Arsenal are hoping to reach the knockout phase for the 11th consecutive season, but they did their cause no good at all in shipping two late goals to a side they had thumped 6-0 on home turf. Their discomfort was music to the ears of Ukraineâ€™s Shakhtar Donetsk, who won 3-0 at tailenders Partizan Belgrade to cement top spot with one match remaining. Donetsk are now through – and likely as group winners – unless they lose by four goals at home to Braga as they lead Group H by three points.
Arsenal, runners up in 2006, will expect to see off Belgrade in their final group meeting to take them onto 12 points, however recent performances would advise against complacency. Shakhtar will be favoured to beat Braga at home, leaving the English Premier League side to face a group winner in the next round assuming they belatedly make it through.
It was a difficult game against a team that used all the tricks to slow the game down,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. “We didnâ€™t create many chances.” The Arsenal boss also believes his side suffered from a “minimum of communication” in defence.