However this morning it has really hit home that yesterday was one of few chances we will have in the remainder of the season to close the gap. Not only on Villa, but also on Chelsea and Liverpool, with one or both of them dropping points later on today. This is really going to be a big grind for fourth place until the end of the season.
The game itself was nothing to write home about. In the first half the only real chance I can remember was an early Diaby header from a corner that was deflected on to the top of the bar. West Ham had no intention of leaving their own half for the entire game. Their gameplan in my opinion was nothing short of a disgrace. I know people say 'what do you expect them to do? Go at Arsenal all guns blazing and concede heavily due to being exposed from their attacks?'. However when you see, with 5 minutes to go, West Ham counter-attacking us with four/five players to our two you would expect them to go for the winner. But no, they merely turned back to their own half and rejected the chance to trouble Almunia for, perhaps, the second time in the 90 minutes. Shocking shocking stuff in my opinion.
People will say it is down to us to break these teams down. It is. However Arsene has since said that his team were lacking sharpness after tough away games against Cardiff and Everton. I'm sorry but that just doesn't work for me. This team should be used to playing three times a week. Earlier in the season we played three games a week, with midweek games in Istanbul, Kiev and Porto. It is just the way it is and AW needs to ensure he has a squad capable of coping with the hectic schedule that comes with being a top European team. We really needed the three points yesterday, I find it bitterly disappointing that we couldn't convert what must have been 70%+ possession into a goal (which, lets face it would have been more than enough to beat a side who had no intention of scoring themselves).
Is anyone else thinking we should have taken the £20m+ for Adebayor? What has happened to him? I have never seen a player look so disinterested in playing for us. Two guilt-edged chances. The first was a perfectly floated cross. From about 6 yards out he rose and met the ball only to head it passively straight at Rob Green. The second, a great piece of skill from Bendtner who slid the ball across the 6 yard line. Adebayor managed to scuff it about a yard wide of the near post. Unbelieveable. When you consider the miss he had against Bolton a couple of weeks earlier, you struggle to see how Bendtner (who got better as the game progressed) was taken off for RVP when he was far more influential in the game than Adebayor.
Given his knack of scoring late goals for us, it really should have been Adebayor going off instead of Bendtner. All this will have done is tell Adebayor that he is an invincible member of the squad, rather than giving him the kick up the **** he needs (and deserves) in order to get him to get his act together. We also lost Diaby an Eboue to injuries. Yes, more injuries. It hasn't been disclosed yet how long each player will be out for, but we do know Diaby will miss the game against Sp*rs next week for picking up his 5th yellow card of the season.
So, apart from not losing ground on Villa, can we take any more positives from yesterday? Maybe. Here's hoping that yesterday will have convinced AW that we must do whatever it is necessary to bring Arshavin to the club. With Arshavin's penetrative power and ability to go past people (as AW himself has recently said), we will be better-equipped to beat teams whose tactics are to park the bus and do nothing else.
I think he needs to sign him, not only for the good of the team, but also to keep the fans on his side. People are losing patience and not many of us buy into his stance that we have resources within the squad that can ensure a top-four finish, as well as serious challenges on the Champions League and FA cup. Only 30 more painful hours to go until the window closes. We will know soon enough whether the deal is on.]]>