This time 2 months ago, with the same players, I’m pretty sure we would have scored at least 2, if not 3 goals. But right now, after our run of wins, we are looking jaded, devoid of ideas and generally, we’ve got no petrol in the tank. In fact, it’s not just us – Sp*rs are actually suffering from the same thing. We’ve got a small squad – i.e. a small starting XI – if fit, we pretty much know who would be selected.
Prior to the Wigan game, we had won 9 out of 10, but throughout this period, we had used virtually the same XI. Plaudits have been coming in about Walcott, Song, Van Persie and Arteta… but as we have got closer to the end of the season, those players have either got injured or are off form. Arteta’s recent injury sounds like a mix of the “red zone”, fatigue, and over-use, a little like Jack was last season. Walcott has been ruled out for the rest of the season now too – and Van Persie and Song are definitely off-form. The tank is empty.
Whilst our tank is empty and it looks like Sp*rs are in a similar situation – Newcastle’s recent addition of Cisse and recent come back from injury for Hatem Ben Arfa – they have two players who are fresh. For Chelsea, they have such a large squad, that they rotated 7 players and still looked very good.
For us, Rosicky has been very good, he has played a lot in the second half of the season, but no so much in the first half. And that’s probably why he stands out at the moment. For the rest of the season, I can only presume we’ll see more of Oxlade and Gervinho, considering the recent injuries. We do have Diaby back and if he can stay fit, then he’ll be a welcome addition considering our recent spout of injuries.
Today’s game showed a few things – we can create openings and chances – but our passing is off, and our shooting is definitely off. Van Persie had a few golden chances, but fluffed them all.
Arsene had a lot to say:
It was a very unfair result but it is a result. I think [we should have had a penalty], I think also we had chances. At the end of the game we had the chances and they had zero. I cannot remember them having one chance. Having said that it was a little bit of a strange game because before the game I thought it would be an open one – we had to win, they had to win. They decided to lock up the game and catch us on the break only, with two wide players who are quick, and Torres.
And on Van Persie’s poor form he said:
He played his 50th game [of the season] today and he gave absolutely everything again today. He was unlucky in the first half, he had a free kick he deflected and it was a clear-cut chance. Then when he was through I think he rushed his decision making a bit, when he took it with his right foot, because he had Diaby coming in completely on his own. It was not easy for him because he was completely on his own at some stages with not enough support. And he was caught offside one time and I am not sure he was.
There are three games left – we face Stoke next Saturday (away), Norwich at home the following week and then WBA a week later. Some would say they are easy games, but in reality, they’re not. We need to cross our fingers that results go our way and we need to find our form.
I’ll be back tomorrow for some more analysis, but for the moment, let’s sit back and watch the rest of the footie this weekend…