There is only one way to explain or try and explain the disaster that was yesterday, and that’s in the mode of Pro Evo…
So, you’re playing Pro Evo, top player level and you’ve been doing well during the season, but you’re playing every two days – the league, the Champions League, and the cup… now your players are starting to pick up injuries… The red bar under the player’s name is increasing player by player – the likes of Gallas and Vermaelen are nearly full injury max bars. Clichy is tired after his first game back, it’s time to rotate the squad. The game after the cup game is another league game and you know you’ve got to be at your best for that game.
In Pro Evo, I would do exactly what Arsene had done in yesterday’s game. The difference is that I would have won! Actually, with the row of 4 games, Villa, Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea, damn, it would have needed a few restarts on Pro to get me to focus correctly…
Okay, so what happened? Well, it was an inevitable result. And I’ll analyse the game by going through each player.
Coquelin – Campbell – Silvestre – Traore
Eastmond – Denilson
Walcott – Cesc – Vela
Fabianski – The keeper played well overall – however, he like Almunia and Mannone, isn’t a fan of the physical crossing type of play and he did well, he went for a lot of the balls, but you also can’t consider him to be any better or any worse than Almunia in the air. Traore – a player who has a lot of potential in the attacking sense, but seriously sometimes forgets the basics of defending. For Stoke’s third goal, I was literally shouting at the TV, “Traore, get goal side!”, but I suppose, it didn’t even cross the player’s mind.
Then we have Super Sol and not so Super Silvestre. Looking at them both together yesterday, it was crazy to see how good Sol was compared to Silvestre. I have to give it to Sol, his fitness and his physical presence were second to none. Unfortunately for both of them, Coquelin at right back didn’t help. The young player has been impressive in the reserves and in defensive midfield – but at right back against a physical team and a tricky player in Etherington, he was put of his depth.
In midfield, Cesc captained the side alongside the ever improving Eastmond and Denilson. The problem with the midfield was the lack of height, strength and pace. JET was up front in his debut alongside Vela and Walcott – and I have to say this – and it is weird to say it – he impressed me more than the other two.
So where did it all go wrong – I think as my French commentator said “tres fatigue et sans experience” in talking about Traore, Silvestre and Coquelin and then Eastmond (who replaced him at right back). Very tired and lacking experience – but also lacking cover – Denilson failing to keep up with Stoke on their second and where on earth was our left back? That moved summed up the game.
So we’re out of the FA cup and we’re about to start a four game run of games with Villa, Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea and if we can keep a squad and first defence choice team fit for those games, we can pick up the points we need to maintain our position at the top of the league (of course Man U have overtaken us for now), and with those four games coming up, you can make sense of Arsene’s decision again to play the team he played.
Arsene spoke on the game:
“It was a game that was more physical than technical and physically they were stronger than us today. We had a fantastic attitude and at 1-1 we looked like we were on top in the last 20 minutes and it was important not to make a mistake. We got caught on the counter attack on the second goal and that was an important moment in the game. “
And on also commented on Sol Campbell’s first game back:
“He did for me very well. For a guy who has not played for five months he had a very good performance. Maybe in the last 20 minutes he was a bit fatigued but surprisingly fit for a guy who has not played for such a long time. He is motivated, works very hard in training and you could see that today.”
Hmm, no time to even think about the FA Cup exit as the games are coming thick and fast and we’re off to Villa Park on Wednesday for a must win game.