Well, what can you say about that? Lukarse did it again. I can forgive him for the first goal as I do think that he was fouled, though he could still have done better. But, for the second goal, well, he really was rubbish. There’s no excuse for him not being able to get to that ball. It proved, once again, that he isn’t good enough to play in a top four team.
I remember Jens Lehmann getting axed because he made two mistakes at the start of his final season at the club. Well, Lukarse has made mistakes in pretty much every game he has played in. It’s not good enough. It wouldn’t be acceptable in a school team so it certainly shouldn’t be acceptable at a club that likes to think of itself as being in the top ten of Europe’s elite.
Blackburn set out to test the keeper by lumping balls into the box and getting players around him to put pressure on him. That’s a totally understandable tactic to use given Lukarse’s propensity to crack under the slightest bit of pressure. So, I can’t blame Blackburn for doing that. All they did was target our obvious weakness at the back. People used to do the same to Lehmann to try and get him to lose his cool, but those incidents generally didn’t result in the mother or all rickets. Taxi for Lukarse, please.
To be fair to Lukarse, he did make some good saves prior to the first goal. The only problem was that the customary mistake was always going to come. With an outfield player you can generally afford a mistake or two, but when it’s the keeper making the mistakes, then those mistakes generally result in a goal. How many points have we thrown away this season because of goalkeeping errors?
What was utterly infuriating was the general lack of fight, ambition and ability displayed by the team. Too many players on show yesterday just aren’t up to scratch, I’m afraid. Diaby, yet again, was wholly forgettable. Vela, as someone said on Twitter, puts the ‘meh’ in Mexican. A lightweight not up to the strength and pace of the Premier League.
To be fair to Eboue, he started brightly and made some good runs. Van Persie got himself a rare headed goal, from a flick-on by Sagna (who went a bit Stevie Bould for a minute). Unfortunately that was to be about as good as it got. Oh, there was a great chance for Vela to score but he didn’t really get anything on the ball and it skittered wide.
Watching the game, which kicked off at 01:00 JST, on a stream in bed didn’t help my mood, especially in the second half when we were particularly poor. By the time Eduardo came on, it didn’t really make any difference, for two reasons; the first being that we created f*ck all in the second half so he was never going to get the ball and the second being that he hasn’t really looked like a serious goal threat since Taylor tried to take his leg home as a trophy.
Talking about Lukarse’s performance, Wenger said ‘…I think he had a good game.’ As much as I love you Arsene, I’m going to have to take issue with describing Lukarse’s performance as good. The keeper’s job is to make saves, instill confidence in his defense and keep the ball out. Making a few decent saves but then undoing all of that with a ricket doesn’t, in my book, count as having a good game.
To be beaten by Wigan and Blackburn due to defensive errors and a general lack of effort is infuriating. It shouldn’t matter that the league challenge is gone and the players lack motivation. There is still third place in the league to secure. What happened to pride as a source of motivation? Those players owe it to Wenger, who has backed them to the hilt through thick and thin, as much as they do to the fans to give their all in every game. To go out onto the pitch and not bother your arse putting in a shift, yet then expect a pay rise every year or two just isn’t on.
The last few games have highlighted the inadequacies in the squad and the players that, although talented, aren’t good enough or hardworking enough for a team playing at the sharp end of the Premier League. Losing seven away games in a season just isn’t good enough. I was at the game when we secured the unbeaten season. How far, far away this squad is from that level. You look at the size, ability and desire of the respective players and it is just night and day.
I have no idea what plans the manager has for summer restructuring and rebuilding, but I pray that he has a plan in place with definite targets to go for. I just hope that one of those targets is a keeper.
Right, I’m too annoyed to write any more today. That’ll have to do.