Arsenal fans all around the world must be wondering whether they are stuck in a special dimension after yet another similar performance produced by the team last night. The draw against Liverpool wasn’t the desired result as Tottenham also drew their game which leaves the chase for the fourth Champions League spot maintaining its status quo. It, coming on the eve of the final day of the transfer window, puts even more pressure on Arsene Wenger to make new signings.
The familiar feel to the game was how once again, we failed to notice that the match had started until we’ve conceded a very sloppy goal. According to Opta, that Luis Suarez goal was the 13th this season that Arsenal have conceded via individual errors – the highest in the Premier League this season. Calamitous defending, but that doesn’t include the Bacary Sagna slip. Some things remain unfortunate. We lucky not to go further behind as Wojciech Szczesny decided the best option to clear the ball is to do a Cruyff turn inside his own penalty area. Luckily, Daniel Sturridge was slow to react.
At this point, the win that we want would mean at least another 2 more goals in the match and that means over 2.5 goals which was priced at 9/13 with GunnersGaming. Betsson are partners with GunnersGaming and they would welcomed a positive result in the partnership with Arsenal as the company had to end a relationship earlier this year with bwin.Party, when the Ongame network (where Betsson was housed on) was sold to Amaya Gaming Group.
If anything, that Suarez goal woke us up. Suddenly there was a real sense of intent from the home side, playing with a much higher tempo and more purpose. We kept the pressure and never allowed Liverpool players the time or space on the ball. Possession was kept and even when it was lost, we won it back rather quickly. Chances were created but poor finishing put paid to our hopes of levelling the scores. Theo Walcott with our best chance of the half, drilling a low shot straight at Pepe Reina.
Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla were dictating play in the middle. Adding the industrious Lukas Podolski and the clever runs made by Olivier Giroud, it was clear that we’ve gained the upper hand in the game. Every time we go forward, we looked dangerous and for that reason, it was understandable why Wenger persevered with the same side throughout the game. However, things were to get worse before it got better and it started when Kieran Gibbs picked up a thigh injury. His replacement, Andre Santos had a hand in creating more trouble for us.
First, Per Mertesacker failed to stop Jordan Henderson from dribbling past him and the former Sunderland player had the necessary upper body strength to fend off Santos before a lucky deflection meant that he had an open goal to aim for. 2-0 down with yet another defensive mistakes and the knifes were sharpening everywhere to further question Wenger. To concede another goal when we had all the impetus, could have been demoralising for any team. However, not this Arsenal side, at least not yesterday.
We roared back into contention just 4 minutes later as Giroud headed home Wilshere’s freekick. The comeback was completed just 3 minutes later. This time Giroud turned provider, laying off the pass for Walcott to slam one in from just inside the edge of Liverpool’s penalty box. 2-2 with still at least 30 minutes of game time remaining (including additional time), we could still find the winning goal to completely turnaround the match. However, that was not to be. Giroud’s completely missing the Podolski’s cut-back, was the best chance that we conspired to fluffed.
The way the game panned out, it’s hard not to feel disappointed with just the one point from yesterday. It’s even harder not to feel angry at the way we defended. Nervousness seem to creep into the minds of the players when we’re without the ball and on the back foot. The lack of decisiveness epitomised by Thomas Vermaelen’s attempted clearance before Suarez’s opening goal. With Gibbs’ absence for the next 3 weeks, I know very few people who would actually disagree with a new left back signing today. Very few wants to see Santos in the starting line-up.
Yet, it’s not all bleak and gloom. What we showed going forward yesterday, was truly reminiscent of the way we play in those championship winning seasons. Relentless attacks just sending wave after wave of runs and shots. For probably the first time this season, the team produced a wonderful attacking performance. One that is continuous rather than in spurts, of which we have been accustomed to see this season. If we can find some form of solidity at the back again, we could make real inroads into 2 cup competitions that we are still in.
It’s the last day of the transfer window. Here’s to hoping we’ll get quality signing(s).