It’s been a pretty hectic week for myself at home with welcoming a wonderful baby daughter into the world. Sleep has become a mystical, unattainable goal and tiredness has become my default mode of operation but it’s absolutely worth it. If anyone wants to have the best day of their lives, they should have a child. I highly recommend it. Now…to the football (eughhh…).
Anyone who thought this season was going to be a jaunt toward the title should well and truly leave their projections and rose tinted glasses to one side. We have been poor for around a month or so and been getting away with it for a while. It’s simply because of this that Wenger continued with the foundation of a team that ‘worked’. I was really surprised that we went with the ‘our approach’ philosophy rather than going with a more appropriate game plan for the team we were playing against. Alexis always needs to start a game to have more of an impact, as is true for most footballers, however he wasn’t risked due to his lack of sharpness. I personally feel that Giroud, who I really do like, should have been our impact sub after 60/70 mins of high press high energy tactics. Instead Wenger opted to go for a repeated formula for one last time and I think that’s what cost us ultimately. We’ve been lucky against other sides who haven’t taken advantage of the Ramsey-Flamini combo but I’ve seen that it only really works if we are winning a game. They were brilliant against City after we took the lead. Before that we looked like we could concede at any moment. I really do feel that we need to address that midfield pairing as we entertain Southampton next and Wanyama bullied them last time out.
The game itself was one where we began on the front foot and although it seemed even at the time the red card changed it. I’ve seen it a few times and have a few thoughts on it. Ok first viewing it looked a yellow simply because Costa hit it too far ahead of himself and Koscielny was getting there first. Secondly it looked a dive, now if Costa stayed on his feet the contact would have still come and then it would and should have been a red card. However as it was the order of play was; Willian pass (which was great by the way – where would these Jeremy Hunts be without him!?), Costa heavy touch, Costa dive, Mertesacker contact. The dive came first and therefore should have been punished but that piece of officiating aside the main issue was our axis of Ram-Flam had pushed far too high. Flamini being 10 yards further up field than required allowed Willian the space to play the pass. We looked to be in a shape where we’re chasing the game with 15 mins to play. It was the first half. Same old midfield again. After the red we felt sorry for ourselves far too much and were duly punished. Poor defending from Monreal, which has been a rarity it has to be said, followed by poorer reading of the game by Gabriel. It was from a situation that even with one man less we shouldn’t allow a goal from. Alas, we did and that bastard of a man scored again. Chelsea fans fast forgiving his early season shithousery for short term gain. It’s incredible as to how fans flip-flop one way to another at a whim. Mourinho FC was put on hold for a weekend. The game still didn’t pan out in the way of a Chelsea onslaught, the bus came back into full view and even with 10 men we could have well nicked a point. I’ve since read as to how Cesc controlled the game and was an example of what we didn’t have…umm well you’d hope that their creative man would have a half decent game when afforded an extra mans worth of space on the pitch. Some ‘journalists’ haven’t the foggiest. The boos for him were rather more vociferous this season as we now know what he as a player is really like. Last season he was largely applauded off the field but this year, due to his antics at Stamford bridge. Can you imagine Petr Cech running over to the ref demanding a red card for a Chelsea player? No I didn’t think so. Cesc did exactly that of Gabriel who, as we all know, was innocent. He’s fast running out of friends as the Chelsea fans had turned on him, the Arsenal fans have turned on him, there are Chelsea stewards getting sacked for calling him a snake, his celebration last week at Stamford bridge was almost a ‘f*ck you’ to the Chelsea fans and yet he left the field at the Emirates pointing to the Chelsea badge. A confused man but one who’s been booed a lot this season, and not just by us. Back to the in game management from ourselves and there was a lot more that we could have done as Tim Stillman alluded to post game. When Mertesacker made the challenge hardly and Arsenal players surrounded the referee in protest whereas over half of the Chelsea 11 were around him and signalling for a red. Whether the decision was correct or not is besides the point. We don’t use our position as a big club to our advantage at times, we allow others to do so however. In the second half Koscielny burst through into their box and had contact from Zouma. A situation where undoubtedly a Chelsea player would have hit the deck. If Koscielny goes over its a penalty and we have an opportunity to go level. It’s the naivety that makes me wonder. It’s obvious that the subject is not approached within the club as we are often guilty of being too naive.
It’s a game I desperately want us to forget about but one where we need to really rethink our approach coming into our next run of games. Elneny will need to play v Burnley and it’s a damn good sight to see Coquelin back to full training. There are some big decisions that need to be made for the upcoming games, please make the right calls Arsene…please!
Twitter for a post game round up can be bad for your health these days and so it proved once more. In the pre game lead up there was so much talk of making statements and this being our year as well as title projection tables etc. When we win a big game the ticker tape for the parade may as well be laid out and when we lose a big games there are people ready to chuck the towel in. It’s a worse and more predictable story line than an awful soap opera. It’s tiring to read, but the short-termism of fans’ needs in today’s game is what creates groups within fans such as the above. The delusion is strong within every big club for some fans so it’s just a part of the game now. The next match for us can’t come quickly enough as I know we’ll be itching to rectify our mistakes. There’s a long way to go and there are a lot more points to play for. After 2 draws and a defeat we can only respond with a run of 2-3 victories to keep pace with the rest of the pack.
There’s no reason to melt down Gooners. Onto the next one.
Have a great week.
Follow me on Twitter @MiteshLakhani1.