Normality resumed yesterday with an evenly matched game against Aston Villa. The problem I have is that we were evenly matched. We shouldn’t be evenly matched, we should be superior… we shouldn’t be drawing against the 17th placed team in the league, and failing to score.
With Wilshere, Sagna and Vermaelen on the bench, we lacked a level of urgency in our game in the first half. Was the fact that we rested three key players a sign to the rest of the squad that this could be an easy game? I don’t know, but questions have been seriously asked after the event…
We expected a difficult game because we played a very tense game last Saturday against Tottenham. We had a Champions League game on Wednesday night and we knew [that] when you play away from home after the Champions League, it’s a difficult game. You have to say Aston Villa did fight very hard. They had some chances as well. We controlled them quite well. I think we had room to win the game but we lacked a little bit of accuracy in our final ball today. I cannot fault my team for the spirit we have shown for 90 minutes. We lacked a little bit [of] sharpness in the final third.
There were a lot of questions to why Arsene didn’t bring on Jack. On the Arsenal web site there are a few normal quotes about why he was rested and didn’t come on. Apparently he was tired and Arsene didn’t want to risk him. Although when he asked by journalists, he didn’t react quite the right way, suggesting that perhaps he was aware that he didn’t quite get it right… why else would he react the way he did?
“What is the thinking behind the substitution? I will not explain every decision I make. I have managed for 30 years at the top level and I have to convince you [journalists] I can manage the team? I don’t want to comment on that. I do my job and do my best for the club. Why should I create a rift? I have given you the answer. I leave it to you to judge. I try to be as good as I can be. You are all great managers! I read the newspapers every day and I can tell you that you are always great managers! You judge the game for the papers and I sit here and explain to you our game. How many games have you managed? I promise you if you manage one I will sit in the stands and chant ‘you know what you are doing!’ You can discuss every substitution. You think what you want. I do my job and I let people judge it. I do that every day and I do my best every day. I know why I do it.”
The way he reacted showed too many signs of weakness. He needed to keep his calm but he failed to do so. It’s a shame, but it’s a sign of the pressure he’s under and the mistakes he is making, week in and week out. There has been a lot of talk about Arsene and where his state of mind is. Rants like this don’t help.
We weren’t quite there against Villa and with Ramsey in a deeper midfield lying position, we always look vulnerable. Arteta works well with Diaby, Coquelin or Jack, but not Ramsey and it’s strange that we can all see that but Arsene cannot.
It was a bore draw weekend for some others too as Benitez’s Chelsea drew 0-0 with Man City and Swansea held Liverpool to a 0-0 at the Liberty Stadium. Games every 3 days seems to be catching up with a few of us, except the likes of Sp*rs and Man United who both won 3-1.
Personally, I thought we had more of a chance to beating Aston Villa than we did of high-flying Everton, and by resting some players and drawing against Villa, it seems like a missed chance. The same Villa that United beat a couple of weeks ago at Villa Park and the same Villa who lost 5-0 at Man City last week.
It’s a little embarrassing explaining the results and explaining the team selections and substitutions. I believe in Arsene, but it would be nice for him to get it right now and again…