All in all, a good result.

April 22, 2009

Hello from a sunny, 26C Yokohama. Last night’s game was entertaining, if nothing else. There were some great finishes and Arshavin’s four goals will inevitably lead people to re-questioning why he didn’t start against Chelsea at the weekend. However, had he started that game you could also argue that he wouldn’t have had the legs to get on the end of Walcott’s pass for his fourth goal. So, it’s swings and roundabouts, I think.

Before the game at Anfield I think that all Gooners would have been more than happy to walk away with a score draw. The most disappointing is the manner in which Liverpool’s late equaliser came about. It’s enormously frustrating to see our team being outnumbered in our own box in the 93rd minute. Where was the desire and work-ethic of the team to hold onto the lead? It’s bad enough that it happened last night, but it’s not a one off and it has happened to us before and it’s something that the manager really has to address with the players. Where were the midfielders? Didn’t anyone want to get a famous 4-3 at Anfield?

The person i feel most sorry for is Arshavin. It must be gutting to score 4 goals at Anfield and still was away with just a solitary point. It’s disappointing for the fans too, but a draw is a good result in the grand scheme of things (if you can forget that we were leading 4-3 in the 2nd minute of injury time.)

The is no point in analysing the defending in any detail, because it was non-existent. It would be an insult to players like Adams, Bould, Dixon and Winterburn to call what occurred on that pitch last night defending. This was a game for the striker and the neutral observer. Arshavin took his goals brilliantly and it’s great to have a player that isn’t afraid to put his foot through the ball and hit screamers instead of skittering a tame shot into the arms of the keeper. Just imagine what he will be like next season when he has adjusted to the league, the team and has a full pre-season with us under his belt… I can’t wait to see it.

Fabianski had an impressive first half, given how much his confidence must have been crushed at the weekend and he deserves credit for that. In the second half he wasn’t as good, but there isn’t much you can do really when your defence has decided not to defend for the evening. That said he shouldn’t really have found himself standing behind his own goal-line.

The boss, I’m sure, will be happy to see that we have found our goal-scoring boots again, as am I. But, given that we have to play ManUre three times and also Chelsea once over the run-in, he will need to do some serious work on the training ground (which we all know won’t happen, that’s not how he rolls, apparently) to sort out the current mess. also, we will need to hope that we can get Djourou back alongside Toure because I don’t think that the Toure/Silvestre partnership really works. Anyway, that’s for another day.

Fabianski has had this to say about the last two games:

"After the weekend, I was really feeling down, I know that it was mostly because of me that we did not qualify for the FA Cup final. When you are honest and look with honest eyes on that, you can say it. Every day I had been waking up with the game still in my mind, so it was not easy. When the season is finished, maybe I will clear it out from my mind. It was a big, big chance to win something this season in the FA Cup. I did not help my team like I should have, and I am sorry for that. I want to thank all of my team-mates and the staff, because they were really helping me. I really appreciate that and the atmosphere in the club, which is so fantastic. I was quite happy with my performance against Liverpool, but it is a strange feeling with [letting in] four goals, I could have been much happier had we won."

I’m sure it is a hard cross to bear, knowing that your mistakes cost your team its best chance of silverware this season. But, I suppose we all have to move on and try and forget about it. He didn’t walk out onto the pitch intending to make those mistakes and we’ll just have to accept it as a part of his learning and development process. Perhaps he wouldn’t have made those mistakes if he had thought that the defence in front of him was solid, who knows…

Arshavin says it like it is. I love his shoot-from-the-hip forthright talking and the only regret I have about signing Arshavin is that we didn’t do it a few years ago. He is exactly what we have needed for a few seasons now, even though when we signed him we all thought that the money should have been spent on defensively-minded players. Maybe that’s true, but I think that Arshavin will earn us more points than a defensive player would have. So, I think that the gamble by Wenger has paid off. In the summer, our defensive needs can be addressed. I particularly like his Paul Robinson comment. Legend.

Right, that’s your lot for today. It’s disappointing not to get the win, it leaves you feeling kind of empty inside but, on the other hand,  there aren’t many teams that concede four goals at Anfield and still walk away with something from the game. So we should take comfort in that.