Arsenal lost a tough away game to Shakhtar 2-1, but, having played a weakened team, they were thoroughly outplayed.
Arsenal lined up in a 4-2-3-1, with Craig Eastmond and Jack Wilshere holding.
The two lineups. Credit UEFA.
Arsenal went into the lead after Jack Wilshere half cleared half passed to Theo Walcott, who outran the defenders and cooly finished, to give Arsenal a 1-0 lead.The lead would not hold, though, as Shakhtar pressed back, and made it difficult for Arsenal to play. Eduardo, nominally lining up on the right, drifted in and between the lines, causing Arsenal problems, and allowing Srna to get forward. Willian caused problems for Eboue on the right, skinning him multiple times, and winning the foul that lead to the equalising goal. With Eastmond being inneffectual at this level, Jadson also caused Arsenal’s back four problems. While the second goal was an error from Clichy, it was symbolic of Shakhtar’s attacking play: Eduardo drifted inside while Srna latched onto a long diagonal, and then crossed for Eduardo to finish. It was also symbolic of Arsenal’s play: The two midfielders, Wilshere and Eastmond, didn’t track the midfield runners, while the front four pressed, opening up space for Shakhtar, as Arsenal, who were uncoordinated, failed to close up space.
In the second half, Arsenal tried to get back into the game, and made attacking subsititutions, with Vela coming on for Eastmond early on. He went behind Bendtner, with Nasri dropping deeper. To counter, Shakhtar brought on more pacy players, and they could’ve scored more on the counter attack. Despite all of Arsenal’s pressure, Shakhtar defended well, and Arsenal didn’t have their usual penetration, with Shakhtar letting them play up to the box, and then defending deeply and narrow.
A poor game from an Arsenal perspective: Poor in the attack, poor in the defense and uncoordinated. Shakhtar played extremely well, with Eduardo and Srna causing Arsenal’s left problems all game, and with Jadson and Willian causing Eboue and Eastmond problems. They defended well, and had a better tactical plan for winning than Arsenal. It was, though, a tough away game, and a loss here isn’t the worst result, as Arsenal should still comfortably qualify.