Morning. Straight to the point, Saturday was a big festering pile of donkey shit. I took out Foster from the fantasy league team, as playing against a Chelsea team on the rebound after divorcing Uncle Fester and getting canned at home he was bound to get a hiding. Instead he kept a clean sheet, made 145,023 saves and got man of the match. 11 points lost. Drogba as my captain got a whopping four points. For about 10 seconds there, in front of Stelling and the boys, I seriously contemplated ending it all right there and then after events earlier in the afternoon. But then I realised Brum had actually scored, Chelsea had been beaten and it seemed a little bit more bearable. Champions don’t lose back to back league games remember?
Not that we were able to capitalise of course – we suck shit these days, whenever we take a lead. You’ll have probably read 100 articles by now bemoaning our loss, covering ground often trampled. It was against spurs and at the end that twitchy stroke faced prick was able to walk on our pitch again. He should have been carted off with his head between his legs, but after the 4-4 and now again, we gave him reason to walk across the turf. That really drove the nail home.
Is there still any debate about the handball/penalty? Fabregas did it before against Liverpool, blatantly, in Feb of this year and got away with it. Take away the notion of intent for just a second – you cannot raise your arms in the penalty area. If you do, and the ball hits your arm, you open yourself to the risk of conceding a penalty. I’ve been taught this at every level of football I have played. It is beyond doubt that Fabregas would have been taught the same. Over and over again. When you’re leading 2-1 it is unthinkable that anyone would raise their arms in the wall, let alone above their heads. Even as a total accident without intent that will be given as a penalty 9 times out of 10. Now question the intent – he’s done it before, and in the slo-mo replays I’ve seen, it genuinely looks to me like Cesc is stretching to reach. It looks like intent, which means that the penalty will be given 9.9 times out of 10. Seriously annoyed about that, the players didn’t even jump, they put their hands up. What’s the point in putting Chamakh in your wall if he’s not going to try and head the fucking ball away? Baffling, and distressing.
It’s cheating and it was rightly punished. I could understand it if it was going in the net, like Suarez against Ghana – you could argue it was instinct, but on the edge of the 18 yard box? Jump and hope the keeper does his job.
…And then they imploded, as they so often do. Already this season they have relinquished leads against Sunderland and Shakhtar Donetsk. Last year they drew 2-2 with West Ham after leading 2-0 with 16 minutes to go, and lost 3-2 to Wigan Athletic after leading 2-0 with 10 minutes left. This is a side that once contrived to draw 4-4 with Tottenham when they were 4-2 up in the 89th minute. It is not surprising, because it keeps on happening.
While there is much to admire about Arsenal’s football, they no longer know how to win and Arsène Wenger is incapable of instilling a maturity in the side. Surely he would have drummed home the importance of retaining their lead for as long as possible; within minutes of the restart, though, Tottenham were back in the game. Arsenal are too open, unable to shut up shop as champions must, lack leadership and concede too many soft goals.
And it’s not surprising is it? At 2-0 I wanted to text every Spud I knew “HAHAHA LOL 17+ YEARS, WANKERS”. But I didn’t. Because I knew we still had 45 minutes to play, and as Wigan showed, 45 minutes is more than enough for Arsenal to lose a game from a commanding lead.
How glad am I that I only wrote that message and didn’t send it?
I’ve said so many times on this blog (usually in the comments) that Arsenal have a team with enough depth, quality and experience to win the domestic league. I often get jumped on saying we can’t win it – but read carefully what I say – we have a team with enough depth, quality and experience to win it. I don’t think we will win it because obviously the style of football Arsenal play will never win a league again unless we start playing the defensive side intelligently.
We want to play with the beauty of Barcelona but with none of the work. Do you remember ‘that’ first half against Barca? They didn’t just play us off the park on the ball, they tracked, the worked and the bullied us into making mistakes. Every time our player had the ball, two of them closed him down.
Arsenal can play any team off the park – but they can’t get the ball back when they lose it. We just invite pressure. At 2-0 up would any other team in the league invite Everton onto them for 20 minutes? No, most of those teams would be in Evertons faces, taking the ball and keeping it.
Playing defensively, protecting a lead, is not about retreating into the penalty area and clearing the ball in a panic strewn mad hoof. It’s about pressing, standing your ground, giving them no space to move it about, and then holding it when you do get it. Counter attack if you like, BUT DON’T GIVE THE FUCKING BALL AWAY SO CHEAPLY.
Arsenal should have come out in the second half and played how we ended the first – Cesc Fabregas dictating the tempo, slowing the team down, concentrating on holding the ball for ten minutes. Spurs were always going to come out of the dressing room with fire in their bellies, all Arsenal needed to do was let it cool down again. Instead they gave Gareth “Better Than Messi” Bale the chance to score. It was a very well taken goal mind.
Until Arsenal learn when to temper the storm of attractive attacking play and learn to play keep ball for a bit (and I don’t mean with backheels Alex Song, I mean look where the fuck you are passing), until they learn to defend on the half way line instead of the goal line Arsenal will win nothing. Despite having what I sincerely believe to be one of, if not the, best squads in the premier league.
The only other positive was VDV scoring and getting two assists, 15 points for the fantasy league. What a shitty silver lining.