Maybe. I’m not really sure what direction today’s post will take because in circumstances like these it would be very easy to over-react in one direction or the other. It’s gutting to go out of the competition, no doubt about it. However, I think that in times like these we need to focus on the positives.
The team have achieved much more this season than we ever thought they would. We all know that we should have signed defensive players in the summer, but we didn’t. So, having set out our stall for the season with a very young squad, it was always going to be a long, hard season. The team did get off to a shaky start, but from November they have been on a good run, Chelsea and ManUre games aside
We all know that our squad lacks experience and that had Arshavin been available we may have done better in the semi-final. But UEFA’s rules are a load of cock and the experience issue is something for the boss to analyse and address. One ray of hope is that this squad now has another season of football under its collectively young belt and therefore should be more able to handle the challenge of competing on all fronts next season. Whether or not this squad is capable of that is another thing, but you would have to look at a twenty-one game unbeaten run in the league as a sign that this team might, just might, be capable of something special given one or two top class new additions to the squad, along with perhaps selling and replacing one or two as well. Adebayor springs to mind on that one, but with Ancelotti probably leaving for Chelsea in the summer that move may not come to fruition. We can but hope.
I don’t think that you can blame youth for last night’s defeat. I believe that we were very unlucky for the first goal as it was a slip from Gibbs which allowed Park to get his shot off. I felt desperately sorry for the lad and he never fully recovered after it and was substituted at half-time.
The second goal came soon afterwards when the referee gave a soft free-kick against Van Persie for an alleged foul on Ronaldo. However, it was no foul and even the NY Times said that Ronaldo won the free-kick ‘artfully’. In other words, he is a despicable, cheating cunt. The resulting free-kick, from a good thirty-five or forty yards out really should have been dealt with and saved by Almunia. But, it wasn’t and we were two goals down within eleven minutes.
That left us with the most gargantuan of tasks and I defy any team to come back and score four goals against the calibre of a team like ManUre in the semi-final of the Champions League. It was never going to happen and the two early goals killed our young team off. Though we didn’t concede the two goals because of youth. It was a combination of misfortune, bad refereeing and some poor goalkeeping. I don’t think that any team would have come back after such a bright start only to be hit by two sucker punches in such quick succession. We should remember that we did start brightly and it was looking like we would really make a good fight of getting back into the tie. That’s what makes it all the more disappointing.
So, I don’t want to be overly-negative today because there is plenty of time for finger pointing and arguing later. Today we should stand behind our team, give them the backing and support that they need. In the summer, we can discuss what needs to be done to make the squad more capable of making a sustained and consistent challenge for silverware.
Despite ending yet another year without a trophy, I believe that we are not far away from becoming a force to be reckoned with yet again.
I hope that the slip by Gibbs won’t have too big of a psychological impact on him and that he can bounce back quickly from it. It wasn’t the lads fault and he has the potential to be a better player for us than Clichy.
The most disappointing part of the evening was the fact that Almunia let Ronaldo’s free-kick in. I mean, it was hit from miles out and it didn’t move all that much as it travelled through the air. He really should have gotten his hands on it and kept it out. Yes, Ronaldo struck it well but it came from almost forty yards out! After that went in, we had no chance.
The referee certainly did us no favours either. Though, that said, he was more of a cunt to Darren Fletcher when he sent him off for something which wasn’t anywhere near to being a red card offence. You have to feel sorry for him that there is no appeal process for a red card. Just awarding the penalty would have been sufficient. If it was someone as cuntish as Ronaldo, I would be delighted with the red card. But, for me, he is one of their less hateful and cuntish players. Anyway, that’s for ManUre to worry about.
The penalty that Van Persie took was fantastic and no keeper would ever have saved it. He rifled it into the top corner, to the keepers left. A great finish, but it was too little too late.
As it now stands, that is our two biggest games of the seasons, two semi-finals, where we have failed to really make a good fist of it. Is that down purely to a lack of experience or a lack of intelligence, graft and overall quality. You would have to think that it’s a combination of all of those factors. Experience can easily be bought, likewise quality. However, the players need to learn that they have to work their arses off every time they step onto the field wearing the Arsenal jersey. It’s not enough to simply turn up. They must work. This season we have had a few too many players that have not pulled their weight, most notably Diaby and Adebayor.
Adebayor hasn’t been at the races since getting his new contract. We’ve been over him before and I have stated many times that I hope he is sold in the summer and a suitable replacement brought in. A swap for David Villa would be nice.
The Diaby situation is more frustrating. He clearly has heaps of talent. He is also a big guy, so he should be able to use his strength and size to impose himself on the game. However, his work ethic is virtually non-existent and he strolls around the field like he is in a five-a-side in PE class. He clearly doesn’t have the aptitude for defending, which is a disgrace for someone of his strength and size. He can’t play out on the wing. So, that just leaves the advanced role that Cesc now operates in. This may be the only role for him in this team as he can’t do anything else. Well, whether or not it is he can’t or he won’t is the key question here. Right now, it seems to be more of a ‘he won’t’ problem, because I feel that he could do it if he adopted a different work ethic. So, maybe it all just comes down to laziness. If that’s the case, then he should go too. also, we have never gotten a fully fit season out of him so it may be time to cut our losses and sell a player that spends most of his time in the treatment room, we have enough of those already.
Yesterday’s result now leaves us with just three games to play this season, the first being at home to Chelsea this coming Sunday, away to ManUre Saturday 16th (a chance to extract revenge there) and finally home to Stoke on Sunday 24th.
Gunnerblog has a good summation of the situation here.
So, barring a Chelsea collapse, or season is done and maybe it’s time to give some more playing time to the likes of Ramsey and Vela. Perhaps Wilshere might get a look-in as a substitute, though more than likely he won’t feature again until pre-season.
Right, that’s it for today. Time for dinner.
Take it easy and keep the faith.