Almost but not quite. Small margins. Good performance. Bad luck. The referee.
I don’t know about you but I for one am bored of the above. Bored and frustrated. Yes we can argue that all of the above applied to our result against Chel$ki and to a certain degree Galatasary but as many people put it yesterday, we used to win these games despite all of the above. We’ve had some refereeing howlers over the last few seasons, some real shockers, but I think that it could be down to the level at which WE intimidate both the referee and our opponents. The Mancs have been brilliant at it over the years and now the Chavs have firmly taken over that mantle. 50-50 decisions always go the way of the person, or team in this case, who shout loudest. We’ve for years been playing football like the nice guys, as Mourinho himself said after the game of Wenger and his image, but we as a club need to be stronger in these situations. This includes berating the referee and getting in the faces of our opponents. Intimidation is the only way to have these little things go in our favour. The proof was evident in the refereeing for Hazards penalty. Koscielny should have seen red for the foul he gave away preceding the penalty. The referee decided against it. Why? Because in the back of his mind he thought “I let them off with one earlier.” What we need to look at is why in the first place they were let off with one. It happens time and again to us and it’s not something that should be brushed aside. We need to proactively go and do something about it. It comes back to signing that midfield monster that we are so craving. We need that general to rile the opponents, be on the referees back and cajole the team in going from ‘almost’ to ‘always’. I would love rival fans to say that “Arsenal always get decisions” because that would be their way of excusing our success. The bottom line is we as fans want days like May the 17th last season. Without a change in mentality we could be in danger of it being s one off rather than a blueprint for the way forward.
Now for the game itself, it looked as though tactically we were set up right against Chel$ki but we lacked the final ball with Welbeck having to live of scraps for large portions of the game. The difference in the game today were 2 bits of great play from Hazard & Fabregas as well as some clinical finishing from Costa.
It’s a case of us not being clinical and taking advantage of the good situations that we had as well as some bad luck. But we always tend to make things difficult for ourselves against the better teams. As I said above, we fell on the wrong side of a game of fine margins. The promising performance against Galatasary was well and truly wiped from our memories as it felt like a game that we didn’t believe we could win. In these big games I really do think we need to get the first goal to really have a strong chance of winning them because teams generally don’t know how to come at Arsenal when they are the ones chasing the game.
In terms of Ozil’s performance,
which is the next source of debate, I really do feel that Arsene Wenger is caught between a rock and a hard place. Take him off for a bad performance against the league leaders inspires no confidence in a man who looks as though he may be lacking it. Leave him on and the result on the day has a lesser chance of being affected, as he clearly looked off the pace. What do you do? I think if he takes him off then we would be reading tripe such as “waste of money”, “Mourinho says – Arsenal are wasting Ozil”, “Arsene loses faith in his most expensive ever signing”. I know these guys are paid a hell of a lot of money to deal with stuff like that but it’s bound to have an impact on the way you play. I think Wenger was playing the long game here by keeping him on. I’m keeping my fingers well and truly crossed that it was the right decision and that he can find his feet again quickly.
The problem now is that we have the tediousness of international football to mull over the defeat, which isn’t ideal. On the plus side we can look forward to Walcott, Ramsey and Arteta to come back into the fold. I really cannot wait to see Alexis, Walcott and Welbeck in the side with Ozil providing the ammunition for their runs. I would also like to see how Arteta and Ramsey or Wilshere operate behind our speedsters. As quick as the Ox is he doesn’t like to run in behind as much and likes running more with the ball at his feet. I’m hoping that we are able to put Hull to the sword followed by Sunderland and Swansea. These are all now must win games and as much as we might complain about the missing x, y & z signings that we require, we need to accept that nothing can change until January. It is increasingly looking like the gamble on playing contract wars with players like Khedira, Carvallho and Bender is not paying off. Let’s hope that we can stay in touch until Christmas as I’m sure other teams will drop points. The key is to make sure we beat the teams we should and wait for the other main contenders to make some mistakes.
There’s nothing quite like season of supporting Arsenal is there?
Have a good week.
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