So that was messy – from the get go Arsenal looked like they didn’t know how to score again – how familiar is that? How often to Arsenal turn up, keep the ball, pass it across the middle and then pass it back across the middle and then pass it back across the middle and then pass it back across the middle and then pass it back across the middle…. and then lose the ball in the middle?
Essentially, Arsenal played OK yesterday – it wasn’t a great performance, but there weren’t any players who stood out for being particularly poor. Fabregas and Nasri look like they’ve lost something recently, and had quiet games again, but aside from that everybody on the pitch did their job. The problem we had is that we cannot break down a team set up to absorb our possessive pressure – we’ve lost 17 points at home this season because teams know that if they are organised, if they are bunched and the defend well, we will most likely huff and puff and then conceded a sloppy goal.
When Arsenal won their penalty, I had a sudden warm feeling – this is the stuff of champions! Win the game in the dying minutes, a game that we hadn’t done enough to win! It’s what champions do! WE COULD STILL WIN THE LEAGUE!
And then Eboue was a massive thundercunt.
I’m not suggesting for one second that the manager throw his players to the wolves, or put them to the sword publicly, but admitting that someone made a mistake, that he should never even have given Lucas the opportunity to go to ground would surely have served to give our players some responsibility. We weren’t cheated out of two points, and the Arsenal players need to take responsibility for that. Too often, we blame everybody else.
The frustrating thing about yesterday was that on reflection I thought that perhaps we deserved to win the game, hitting the crossbar and forcing a few saves, but in reality this morning, we didn’t apply nearly enough pressure on a jittery, flappy Reina (seriously, how anyone can suggest Arsenal buy him in the summer is beyond me, he’s toss).
Lets face it, it’s symptomatic of Arsenal’s game currently – we’ve lost our potent edge, our ruthlessness. It was on display at Birmingham, it was on display yesterday – we simply don’t know how to finish teams off whilst on top.
As always, the “Wenger out!” brigade are spreading their message today, neglecting to mention the fact that Arsene Wenger can be held on no way responsible for the referee playing 14 minutes of injury time when 8 were indicated, and can be in no way held accountable for Eboue making such an awful mistake. The fact remains, Eboue is our back up right back – you will not find a better right back who is prepared to make only 10 league appearances (mostly as a substitute). You cannot blame Wenger for that.
A draw with Liverpool is not a terrible result. The manner of the draw underlines the feelings of doubt and sure, it feels like a loss, but at the start of the season I’d have taken 2 points from Liverpool. And we have.
I’m not the kind of person who thinks we should keep the manager based on past achievements – but the simple fact of the matter is, with 6 games to go we’re 6 points off the top and we still have to play the league leaders – we can still win this.