Well,what can you say about yesterday’s game? I don’t think it is being too over the top to say that we were atrocious. Absolutely dismal. The team clearly thought that they just had to turn up, West Brom would roll over and we would have a nice afternoon in the sunshine, scoring with ease. West Brom had very different ideas. They out played us and thoroughly deserved their victory. The team can have no complaints whatsoever about the result.
The starting line-up was: Almunia, Sagna, Koscielny, Squillaci, Clichy, Nasri, Song, Diaby, Eboue, Arshavin and Chamakh. The subs were: Fabianski, Djourou, Denilson, Rosicky, Wilshere, JET and Vela.
The only player that can walk away from that game with any kind of dignity is Nasri. He can’t be faulted for trying to drag us back into the game and he was the only player that ever really threatened to score, Arshavin’s twice hitting the post in the space of a few seconds in the first half aside.
Defensively we were an utter shambles. Our full backs were poor, Koscielny really ought to have closed Jara down before he ever got his shot off for West Brom’s second goal. That aside, Almunia dropped our customary goalkeeping clanger for that goal when he let the ball skitter in at his near post from Jara’s shot when he really should have saved it. It just isn’t good enough to have both our number one and two keepers regularly make such elementary mistakes. Each time they make a mistake, they cost us a goal.
I had already been annoyed with Almunia for giving away the penalty in the first half, but at least he made up for it by saving the subsequent spot kick. The first goal, in the 50th minute, came after Sagna let Thomas get past him much too easily and he crossed in for an easy finish by Odemwingie. The booking that Almunia picked up for the giving away the penalty was obviously playing on his mind when for the third goal he went to challenge for the ball, then decided to stop, which left him stuck in no-mans land as the ball was squared into the box for an easy finish from Thomas, leaving us three goals down at the Emirates. Three goals down. To West Brom. At home. Do I even need to say how woefully poor that is? If we play like that against Chavski next weekend, it’ll be a cricket score.
Lately, Song has been getting forward a lot more, which is all well and good if the team is defending as a unit. However, his job is to be our holding midfielder and he needs to first focus on that rather than getting forward trying to score goals. There can be no room for personal glory, he needs to do the job that he has been put in the team to do.
I suppose the only positive that I can take from that game is that it is over and that no fan got so angry that they actually had a heart attack and died. Some positive, eh? In fairness to Nasri, he took both of his goals well and he seems to be hitting the kind of form that we hoped he would when we signed him, long may it continue.
There are rumours going around that Almunia may have picked up an injury, presumably when giving away the penalty. You know what that means, our Flap-happy no2 will be manning the goal should Almunia be unavailable for the Champions League game in midweek. Good times… However, after seeing both Lukarse and Almunia make schoolboy errors in the space of two games, Wenger may just decide to give Szczesny a chance to prove himself. Though our young Pole may now be ruing his comments made in frustration during the week.
This has been quite a week for the club and its fans. First we blow a certain victory in the 5th minute of injury time at Sunderland, then we hammer Spuds, announce record profits and finish the week by doing our damnedest to make sure that Chavski, who has lost the day’s early game before we had even kicked off, remained four points ahead of us. It is a massive opportunity missed and now it gives ManUre the chance to capitalise today.
Sorry if this is a bit of a doom and gloom post today, but it is hard to be upbeat after watching that rubbish last night. Thankfully it was a 23:00 JST kick-off and not the later 01:30 kick-off, or else I would be doubly annoyed.
After the game, our players refused to talk to the press, according to @MattLawExpress on Twitter. The club tried to get some to talk to the journalists, but none would do it. That just isn’t on. If you are happy enough to take the plaudits, then you must also be man enough to stand up and answer questions when things haven’t gone to plan.
The manager, apparently, went mad at the players in the dressing room after the game. I should bloody well hope so, too. For the manager to say we weren’t at our usual level was a bit of an understatement. At least he did come out and say that many players made massive mistakes, defensively. After the game he said:
“Everything was difficult for us today: passing the ball, winning the ball back, one against one. Overall we got what we deserved. The positive is that we did fight until the last minute, but it is just not good enough at that level.
I believe today’s game was an exception. We have to respond well on Tuesday night. It’s the first really bad performance, and it’s unexplainable how flat the whole team looked for the whole game. It’s a mystery for me. I didn’t recognise my team today, and we have to sit down together to analyse what happened.”
One thing I want to say is, no matter how bad the team are playing, it is just not on to boo, or sarcastically cheer, your own players while the game is still going on. It’s fair enough if you want to boo them off the field at the end of the first half or the end of the game. But, to boo your own players while the game is still underway does not in any way benefit the team or the performance. If anything, it will put the booed player under extra pressure and just increase the chances that his performance will deteriorate even further. It’s a football game, not panto. I didn’t actually notice it myself while watching the game, but I saw a mention of it on Twitter by @DarrenArsenal1. Regardless of whether it did or didn’t happen during yesterday’s game, it just isn’t on.
Right, that’s that for today. I’ve just finished watching the ‘highlights’ from ATVO and now I’m going to go and count to ten, or maybe just go for a pint. Probably the latter.
Enjoy what’s left of your weekend.