Arsenal 1 – 1 Leeds (Cesc 1 – 1 Phil Dowd)

The end result was 1-1, but really it was Phil Dowd vs Arsenal, not Leeds.

Yes, Leeds played okay, but they are a Championship side and played like one – any XI versus XI is a match, but when you don’t play well and you have a nightmare of a referee, AND I mean, a nightmare of a referee, then it’s never going to be easy.

The line-up was strong, with a few key players such as Arshavin, Chamakh and Song – named in the first XI:

Szcznesy

Eboue – Squillaci – Djourou – Gibbs

Denilson – Song

Arshavin – Rosicky – Bendtner

Chamakh

With a bench of Fabianski, Clichy, Miguel, Ramsey, Cesc, Vela and Walcott

Performance

The performance itself was disjointed to say the least. The line up included a few players, the likes of Eboue, Gibbs, Denilson, Rosicky, Arshavin and Bendtner who were all very rusty and all very out of sorts – without much game time between them, their rustiness was shown by a general lack of fitness, a general lack of passing and movement – but what do you expect from fringe players. But that’s no excuse – the XI was definitely good enough to cause more damage.

Niklas Bendtner

For me Niklas Bendtner was absolutely rubbish – if he can’t do it against Championship sides – at home! – then how can he be the world beater that he wants everyone to believe he is. We have had a huge amount of patience with Bendtner – when he was super rubbish and now he seems to have regressed back to his old self. Why on earth Arsene has so much faith in the player, I really don’t know. He seems to give him chance after chance after chance. Why was Chamakh not brought on against Man City and why was he taken off yesterday in preference of Niklas Bendtner?

For me, Bendtner should be going out on loan, not Carlos Vela – having said that, the Mexican’s recent contributions have been woeful – but at least he is a different option.

Denilson

Denilson has really played himself out of contention this season – he is a completely different player to the player he was last season. Yesterday he did all the basics wrong – his passing was off, his positioning was off, and the penalty he gave away was abysmal. Arsene has other players in Diaby, Wilshere and now Ramsey, so it’s not a problem position in terms of any necessity to play Denilson, but Arsene needs to get him back to some sort of form.

Phil Dowd

I try my best not to concentrate too much on refereeing decisions, but the performance of Phil Dowd is something that should never be allowed – the same fouls against us were not given, but against Leeds, were – twice, a Leeds striker was offside, but he referee and linesman continued play – niggling fouls were consistent but consistently not given by the referee, and a handball by Leeds int he first half again dismissed. But it’s not the obvious decisions that I am aggrieved with – it’s the non obvious one – the bias given to the away support, the 50/50 decision was always given Leeds way – what happened to proper refereeing?

Sanchez Watt

For me, Sanchez Watt proved that loan spells really do help. His performance was very good and he stood out amongst the Leeds players. Good on ya son and we see you back next season!

Theo Walcott

Theo is stupid. He fell over in the box and did what every Premiership footballer has done or will do – but why make such a big fuss about it? If you haven’t read what Theo said, take a read:

“I want to apologise to the managers because I actually dived. I was trying to win the penalty. I said to one of their players ‘would you have done it?’ and he said he probably would have. I am not the sort of player to do it but I own up to it and apologise. It is something I don’t want to see in my game. I have heard some players say if there is a slight touch go down and it can work both ways. It was one of those things. I am not happy with myself for doing that but I am happy that we got the draw. I had a little joke with the referee afterwards saying ‘that was my first dive, can you tell?’ I don’t have to own up to it and I can’t speak for other players but I have just expressed how I feel. I hope people respect that.”

No one in the world is going to respect that. No one Theo. You’ve told the world that you’re a cheat, some one who will try and cheat teams and con referees. Rooney does this every game – dives – wins penalties – him and Steven Gerrard are pathetic – but they would never admit it and that’s good for them… but Theo has put himself in a lot of hot water. No one is going to be talking about anything else today. Why did he do it? God only knows.

Arsene summed up the game well:

“I must say at first that it was a very difficult game because it was a real Cup game and Leeds were up for it, they played well. It was the kind of game where you felt that it was important not to go 1-0 down. When we were 1-0 down I felt that Wojciech kept us in the game with a good save on the header [from Becchio]. We looked like we would come back but we were short of time and it was important to keep the momentum and not to go out today because that would have been a shocker.”

We have a massive game on Wednesday – the Carling Cup and it’s the semi final… Kieran D will be back tomorrow, with a slightly different topic in mind…

Until then!

  • Berth

    Dev what do you expect from a very small boy who is spoon feed by Arsene – I honestly thought Theo must have been high to come out in public to yearn rubbish; perhaps he should be called ST Walcott.

  • Sam

    B52 did more than Chamakh. Denilson was pretty bad all around. Theo may never mature. Arsh was somehwere else. The rest were mostly rusty. We should be happy with the draw.

  • devday

    @ Berth:
    Hope all is good….
    There was no reason so say he dived – it clearly didn’t look like one and no one accused him – so to do that is just plain silly! No one is going to call him a saint now!

  • devday

    @ Sam:
    I’d have to disagree – b52 did nothing of substance through out the match – a lot of his passes were backwards and deployed on the right in the first half, he lost the ball a lot.

    Chamakh had decent hold up play, but was isolated a fair bit – the player’s pedigree of 10 goals this season and leading the line should also not be overlooked.

  • Goonerman

    I totally disagree with the Theo situation! Diving is something he clearly doesn’t like and he was ashamed of himself for doing it so he came put apologised and said he will not do it again! If anything a referee should look at what Theo said and think he’s an honest guy! Will berbatovs come out later and apologise for a pathetic dive?? No because they have no morals or self respect!! If that wins the game for united he will be pleased with himself but if Theo had got a penalty for his dive and that won the game then Theo would of been ashamed of himself that proves Theo wallcot is not that type of player!!

  • devday

    The problem is because Walcott admitted he dived (it didn’t look like he did), then he will be coined a cheater.

    Berbatov obviously dived, but he won’t admit it, so no-one will say anything about him being a cheater.

    Having morals and being honest is one thing, and fair play to Walcott for that – but he has opened up himself for a media slaughtering – the media will hang onto this big time.

  • Syah

    I think arsenals second string shouldn’t be criticized that much. Yes they are professionals and should have high standards but so are the opposition players. It is very hard to be a 2nd team player. Let alone playing with a team of 2nd stringers. Match conditioning not only builds game fitness but also develops the winning habits. How could one possibly apply sth when they don’t get enough practice time right? As fans we can never rely on perfection. I’m a very realistic one. Taking everything into consideration the team will always face problems like these. But I’m proud that arsenal has such high quality footballing education and style.
    I’m still very excited for this highly promising season.