After another shocking performance in the league, I must say my diagnosis seems correct: Arsenal are suffering from an acute bout of semi-finalitis. This involves the patients saving themselves for the big occasion and doing less than required in the present.
Although it was another poor result, Arsenal did at least score, albeit from the spot after a soft penalty award.
If you thought that was soft, how could the second be defined? The Brighton player went down as if he had been felled by a brick. In reality, he had barely been touched by Xhaka who, nevertheless, was foolish to put a hand on an opponent in the box. Of all the stupid penalty awards I’ve seen, this was the most ridiculous. Surely Emery had told Arsenal not to concede a penalty from an incompetent ref, who was keen to even things up.
In the event, Murray converted, as he normally does and Arsenal had only one point to show for their efforts.
In that sense, the Gunners huffed and puffed a bit against the 17th-placed side in the league.
Lichsteiner put in a decent shift on the right, while Lacazette looked electric, at times.
Tempo, there was, but penetration was lacking, so it was no surprise that Arsenal couldn’t add to their single strike from the spot.
Now a trip to Valencia beckons and a tie that’s still in the balance despite Arsenal’s two-goal advantage.
If the Gunners get the job done it will probably be the formidable Chelsea in the final. Few will back Arsenal if that’s the case.