Turkish champions Galatasaray rallied late to defeat Arsenal in London in the Finale of the Emirates Cup by a score of 2-1.
The home side dominated most of the match with their passing, sprinting, skill and overall ability to play as a team on both ends of the field.
The Turks were a bit sloppy on defense, in the midfield and, of course, in the attack as well… until the man who loves making Arsenal miserable — Didier Drogba — entered the game.
Down 1-0 with 12 minutes remaining, the Ivorian front man struck a double without even breaking a sweat. If it for weren’t him, the Turkish side would have lost the match for sure — his inspired play motivated the entire team to step up their effort.
One huge hole on Arsenal’s defense was none other than Per Mertesacker who let a 35-year-old Drogba cut to the right of him before placing the ball easily into the back of the net. The defender is tall and somewhat strong, but he is way too slow to be a starting center-back on a team that prides itself on a speedy style of play. He starts over Thomas Vermaelen who is stronger and quicker than he is, but he is also prone to making awful errors at times. Once this issue is solved, Mertesacker should be placed on the bench — he is simply not good enough to start anymore.
This is a trophy that was invented by Arsenal and yet they have lost out in the last two editions. 2011 to the NY Red Bulls and now to Galatasaray. We can add this to their seemingly endless list of trophies that they have lost out on for the past several years. Luckily for them, this was considered a friendly tournament.
One day, Arsenal will get back to the top… if and only if they find the answers to all of their issues, which are defensive holes, striking issues and a strong midfield that can both defend and build up and counter attack to near perfection. That is a lot of ifs, but they are professional players that get paid to get the job done.