Okay, so it’s taken me a while longer to get round to writing this report of the game and the main reason was that it was just such a bad result, such a bad approach and just felt wrong. When I look at the fixtures post International and knew we had Sunderland away, I knew it would be tough. Without Van Persie, I knew it would be tougher.
If we have any real ambition to win the Premier League this season, we really have to win games like this. No offence meant to Sunderland, but we’re Arsenal – we’re challenging for the title – and we need to win against clubs outside the top four, sorry, we need to beat them as well!
Overall, it was a very disappointing weekend. With United and Chelsea both winning and us succumbing to our third defeat of the season, it clearly shows that something is missing. The two games against the Manchester teams, both of which we lost, we more understandable in a way because we played very well and had a lot of unluckiness in the games. But against Sunderland, we actually looked ordinary, we looked blunt and that’s not just one or two players, it was pretty much all of them.
To top it all off, our neighbours and annoying neighbours at that, Sp*rs, went on to hit Wigan for 9 – yes 9! Ouch. That was really annoying. Like really really. The DVD is due on on Friday.
But then, just as I thought my weekend was the worst ever created, I received the following email:
We have some exciting news about the ticket that you bought for the Saturday 21 November draw. Please click http://www.national-lottery.co.uk/player/account/wallet/landing.do?link=email and enter your username and password to view the details online now.
National Lottery Customer Care Team
It was a bolt out of the blue, and I thought – wow, this could be it… unfortunately, in a way, it was just a tenner, but I think one of the first time I’d won anything – although 3 years of not winning anything on the national lottery means that I actually paid over £400 to win £10. Hmmm. Ouch.
So, it’s official. It was the worst weekend ever and all I can say is “bleh”.
The debate over Henry and all the media who har is just simply annoying. Henry is one of the most honest professional. My dear friend Bob said something very interesting and helps explain the “honesty” of Henry… When the incident happened – if you’ve seen the replay – you can obviously see it’s ball to hand rather than hand to ball. The incident happened and Henry played to the law of the game – the referee. Despite people saying the player was dishonest for doing what he did – Bob says, and I agree that actually he was more than honest.
Thierry Henry spoke to the officials and the Irish players and admitted and explained that it was a hand ball. He hadn’t seen the replays to know if it was discrete or obvious. Some players would have only admitted it after they saw the replay, but the former Arsenal player spoke about it straight away – that is honest. And what does he get in return, just loads of abuse – where is the respect? Thierry set the Premiership alight for the best part of a decade, he should be remembered for that not a decision that was not his to make.
Finally, I’ll touch on the Sunderland game. We had chances, but too many midfielders – Song, Ramsey, Cesc, Rosicky and Nasri… the last four players I just mentioned do the same thing on the pitch! And it showed, we had no variation. Sunderland played well and did well to cut off the supply and stifle our game. We really should have done better because we are simply better than that. Our season is not over yet but it’s hanging on thread at the moment. Our next league game is Chelsea, so we will surely see this time next week if we’re in or out of the title race.
Arsene was very upset at the performance and for the first time in a long time had a go at the team:
“I don’t think we missed anybody especially, no. We lost a game where we can only fault ourselves because we didn’t score, some players were not at their best and we gave a goal away on the only situation where Sunderland could score one today. It was on a set piece. I believe it’s more down to the fact that we made a big mistake on the corner because the game was there for the taking in the last 20 minutes. But of course, when you’re down, it makes it more difficult.”
He went on to berate the mental approach to the game:
“I feel that some players struggled really to prepare properly, mentally for a game like that because you know after an international break it’s how well and how quickly the team can focus again. The international break doesn’t help but it’s down to us, as a team, to focus quickly again and to show that quality. (To win the) championship (you need) to be capable, every time, to turn up as close as possible to your best in a consistent way. When you cannot do that, you can lose games like that. It is a big setback because you do not prepare yourself to drop points in a situation like that. It’s not especially worrying, it’s frustrating, because I know we have the quality but it is frustrating when you see some performances today – that is very frustrating.”
Time to forget about the game, we have another one tomorrow….
I hope we put on a performance to make amends, but to be honest, if we don’t beat Chelsea, it’s over for this season, and it will still be November. But forget the doom and gloom, at the moment, it’s not over… here’s my plan:
- Beat Standard Liege with a semi reserve team
- Beat Chelsea with a full team.
- Win game in hand against Bolton
- Win every other game until the end of January
- Realise that we’re 5 points clear and then don’t lose any other games this season
- The title.
I like that plan… til tomorrow…