Things down at the Grove are hotting up and one of the greatest debates in the comments section was deep in progress tonight with regular readers, Kieran, Dan, Maxi and Debs exchanging views.
Take a read here, there are some very interesting views.
A good point despite all the depression around the latest setback is that we have scored 29 goals this season, conceding only 6. That does resemble championship form, but, for us, stats show that every goal we concede is worth roughly one point dropped. Stats from last season showed that for every goal that United dropped was only worth half a point. The main reason is that we tend to win emphatically or draw. The reason, predominantly, is the first goal. If we score it, then the opposition come out at us, which tends to let us score more. Or if the opposition score it, we tend to either lose or get a draw. Bolton aside, this has been true to our results this season.
So after today’s result, and what a comeback by Liverpool, who actually look like they’re ready for a title challenge, the table sees us remain 4th, but 4 points off the top and if Man United win their game in hand, it will demote us to 5th. Hull pulled off another great display to win at Sp*rs which sees them bottom and Hull 3rd. The good thing is that even if Sp*rs manage a win, they’ll still be in the bottom three, how cool is that?
Anyway, Arsene has been talking about the game yesterday and this is what he had to say:
“Well they gave us the ball and they said ‘listen, we are happy withthe 0-0, do what you want’. Basically the story of the game was that they did not only get the 0-0 but they almost won the game. We had a lot of possession but lacked a bit of sharpness to get them out of position and they defended very well. And on one of the rare occasions where we could score a goal the ball was given out. On the other hand, with one of the rare shots on goals they had, they scored. In the end we needed character to come back and at least get a point. Is it a good point or a point? I don’t know. But it was a bit of a frustrating day for us, we didn’t create the chances we usually do and as well because I must say Sunderland defended very well.”
Indeed we didn’t create the chances, but our tactics were questionable. We started with a 4-1-4-1 and ended with a 4-2-4. If we played a 4-4-2, we could potentially kept it all game and been handsome winners against a team which looked like we could take them. There is more about the formation and it’s merits in the comments yesterday and some very good points made.
When questioned on the formation, Arsene said:
“They congest the middle of the park and we wanted to use a bit more of the flanks. We finished with a 4-4-2 in the last 25 minutes and we looked more dangerous because it suits us a bit more. But it is always difficult to rate whether it was because we were a bit tired or because of the shape. It’s difficult to know.”
There was, of course, the controversy of the disallowed goal, which I’ve watched several times and am convinced the ball wasn’t over the line. Arsene spoke on this:
“Well from the bench my neck is not tall enough to see if the ball was really out or not. Theo pretends that the ball was in, I would love to believe him of course but anyway it doesn’t change anything now, it has not been given. That’s just another appeal for video. You cannot appeal on video but if a manager had two appeals per game then in this one I would have used it of course.”
A bit of odd language there when Arsene says “Theo pretends” but all in all, he is right, what can be done about it now.
So, more food for thought. Bring on the comments – I’ve been dying to get involved and missed a great debate yesterday…
Talking about comments, we can reveal the winner of the Best Commenter for September 2008… it was a difficult decision, but with the award not able to go to the same commenter twice in a row, the decision was made easier and one commenter stood out this month… and the award goes to:
Congratulations and keep up the comments. The community on the site is growing and it’s a pleasure to have you guys read and give your opinions back.