It is easy to write the blog immediately after the match. With all the anger and anguish from the game still fresh in my mind, the post would have been lashing out at every single Arsenal player at Portman Road. So, I gave myself a good (hard) night’s sleep in hope that when I wake up, I would be less angry at our performance. Almost 12 hours have passed since the game and I’m still livid at the result.
Frankly, I’m fed up with the continually below par performances. I do not have a specific bone to pick with any specific player or manager. This is a more of a poor collective effort than an individual one. Arsene Wenger had this to say after the game.
They have shown that you can have 70 per cent of the ball and lose games.
This is not the first time that we’ve had the lion share of the possession and still end up with a defeat. When is the team going to learn? It is not so much about the amount of time we have the ball but what we do with it. There was no urgency in our game and that one cross which eluded Marouane Chamakh and Cesc Fabregas ballooned over the bar from almost underneath the crossbar was the only clear cut chance I could remember. For that to happen with 3 creative players (Fabregas, Wilshere and Arshavin) on the pitch is simply not good enough.
You could see from the start, every single pass was a problem. We rely a lot on our sharp, crisp passing and that was always a problem tonight.
What is the use of having players like Bendtner and Chamakh, if we are not going to utilize their main strength. When the passing do not work, why not try getting to the byline and getting crosses in for the strikers? Surely Walcott’s pace would have enabled him to get past his marker to put in crosses. Apart from that, I can’t recall a single shot being fired outside the box. There were moments in the game when Denilson or Fabregas was free just outside the box but decided to look for a pass instead. We need variation to put off the opponent.
When you play in one half, the long ball has 50 yards to be dangerous. I felt we got more and more problems as the game went on. We looked in control in the first half but in the second half we looked much more vulnerable defensively, I put that down to fatigue.
Apart from Djourou, the other defenders and supposedly our defensive midfielder should be full of energy. It is not as if they had played 2 games a week for the last month. The rotation meant that our players are supposed to be fresh. Eboue and Gibbs did not protect the centrebacks enough. They were not threatened on the wings and should have been tighter to the centrehalves to help them out. Opposing teams have used the ball over the top of our defence once too many times for our players not to realise it. First rule of thumb is never to let the ball bounce. Clear it and reorganize. None of that was evident from our defensive play.
This performance has made Wilshere and Wenger to look like fools in their pre-match interviews. We were just not focused enough to win the game. Competition for starting spots are supposed to make the players try harder to impress. None of those who played yesterdays showed that they will go the extra mile to earn a place in the side. Even the previously fantastic Fabregas looks a pale shadow of his usual self. If he raised our tempo with his introduction against Leeds, he slowed us down with his indecisions against Ipswich.
Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie must be thanking their lucky stars that they were not playing yesterday. Was this another complacency issue? Was this the Arshavin we all came to love? What was Szczesny thinking picking up the ball from outside the box? Even Wilshere was sloppy in his passing. Wenger has more work on his hands if he harbours any hope of landing a trophy this season. On this display, we’ll struggle to even get a Champions League place. The mediocrity and sluggish performance will have stop here. There are still 5 more games to be played this month. If we are already fatigue at this point, I fear what will happen to us in the coming games.
Very disappointed but still believe we can turn it around. Till tomorrow.