3-0 Up. You Had One Job, Arsenal.
3-0 Up. You Had One Job, Arsenal.
What the fuck did I just watch?
Let me tell you what you, me and Alexis Sanchez have in common. All 3 of us are asking ourselves the same question. “What the fuck did I just watch.”
It burns my eyes. In fact, popping my 2 eye-balls into a frying pan while still attached to my retinae by their optic nerves and sauteeing them on high heat would seem preferable to what just happened to them. Or at least temporarily distract them from…The Horror.
Well, this is going to be a quick match report. I don’t want to write this. You don’t want to read this. So, let’s just yank the plaster off the hairy leg here. WTF was that???
There was much assuming going on before this match that it would be a cake walk. When our strongest XI was selected for this match, there was much wailing that we should be rotating and resting. That always seemed assumptive and presumptive, to be tempting, nay, provoking fate.
My personal view was we should play our strongest XI and if things went as well as we hoped, then make the substitutions to rest/rotate. 3-0 was my number. I even scribbled on my notes during the game after our 3rd goal: “3-0. Cool! Subs, please!”
I should have gone higher. 5-0? Had I learned nothing from the Newcastle debacle (which inspired the classic war movie: “Bridge Over The River Tyne?”)
I’m sorry, I can’t do a blow-by-blow match report. I could do you a barf-by-barf report though.
To be fair, even in the 1st half, which ended with us 2 goals up against The Teens Of Anderlecht, the Belgians still had 3 or 4 counter attacks that were squandered in the final phase. A fairer score based on threats in the 1st half would have been 2-1 or 2-2 to Arsenal.
The only change from the Burnley lineup was bringing Ramsey in for Flamini. But I think it was a huge difference. Ramsey was hell-bent on recapturing his best form with feats of derring do. And tricks. And so, unfortunately, he created a number of the turnovers that the Teens Of Anderlecht fed off. What’s more, by not providing Flamini-esque cover alongside Arteta, this further exposed us to counter attacks the like of which we haven’t endured for some time. Ramsey needed to keep it simple and Arsene should have stuck with what was working: Arteta/Flamini. Keep giving Aaron 25 minutes or so till his form returns. Otherwise Arteta is exposed to the counter attack.
Sanchez was involved in all 3 of our goals. He was again brilliant. I hope he has a lot of brilliant games in him this season, because we just squandered another one of them.
Monreal’s penalty? He’s done really well but he was always going to struggle when someone big enough to bully him in the penalty area eventually tangled with him. Defending these days is at least 50% Greco Roman wrestling. It was only a question of which game he got found out in.
Their other 2 goals they worked really well but we gave them too much space to pick their passes and work the ball. Half a yard all over the park is the difference between maintaining control over your adversary or making them look Brazil 1970.
Poldi coming on as a sub was an interesting choice particularly when it was his job to close down the crosser for the 3rd goal. Poldi seemed to mime a stokebroker falling 23 floors to his death. Distracting I’m sure but actually closing down the crosser would have been even more effective.
But from the moment Arteta tweaked his hammy, chaos ensued, havoc was wreaked. And in the battle for midfield from whence all 3 of their attacks were launched, we dithered. Belgian Waffling indeed.
It must be galling for Sanchez, Ox and Welbeck who, listed in descending order of brilliance, were just that. Brilliant.
Arteta was excellent too: tackling, intercepting, forcing turnovers, he was at his anticipatory best this evening. But…those whom the gods love, have their hammies tweaked.
And so we lose Arteta again. That Bermuda triangle of the 2 CBs and the DM is going to continue to cost us all season till Wenger finds his Petit. I love Arteta but he needs help and he needs cover. He’s not getting it from Jack or Ramsey and Flamini isn’t deemed good enough by the boss himself to be a regular starter or a starter in the biggest games.
Our attack verges on greatness. Our defense has great potential, our midfield has an abundance of talent but the connective tissue at the base of midfield looks set to keep costing us dearly when we most need it.
A DM, a DM, my kingdom for a DM.