Sunday, 30 September 2012

Wenger's BFG mistake? -The real Diaby -Passenger Walcott needs to step up

Morning Gooners.

Well that's brought our expectation levels down to earth with a bang. Today I'm still so disappointed by our own performance and the fact we didn't seem to want it as much as Chelsea did yesterday. Lets be honest, Chelsea were no better than us. But we made them look good because of the mistakes they made us make.

I don't believe on the balance of things we deserved to lose the game. But we didn't take our chances and made two silly mistakes at the back. You can't afford to do that against the league's bigger teams. I hope this is a momentary blip and we come back with a win against West Ham next weekend. But the manager and his team will need to point out that this kind of display isn't acceptable from an Arsenal team that has hopes of challenging for the title.

Team selection...
I can understand why the manager changed the central defensive partnership to Laurent Koscielny and the returning Thomas Vermaelen, but I wonder if he should have kept Per Mertesacker in there. Even though the big German isn't as nimble as the other pair, I think he brings a calming presence to our back line and his reading of the game is fantastic. Could he have snuffed out the danger before it became a problem?
I was slightly surprised that Aaron Ramsey kept his place - even though he had his best game for Arsenal last weekend - because I thought the manager would be a bit more attack minded. But it worked at Eastlands, so why change it?

Too much respect...
It felt like the players were giving Chelsea far too much respect in the first half. Perhaps it was our game plan to let them have more of the ball, but it certainly didn't feel right to me. We stood off them and didn't close them down quickly enough for my liking allowing their midfield players to pick their passes for their attacking players.

Which is the real Abou Diaby...
It seems that Abou has three characters at the moment. The all action Diaby who ran the game at Anfield. The anonymous Diaby who showed up at Eastlands. And the injured Diaby who was forced off after 17 minutes yesterday. You never know which one is going to turn up. And the Frenchman cannot be blamed for his injuries but should the back room staff not insist he has a one-to-one warm up session to unsure he doesn't suffer a muscular injury that will keep him out for three weeks? I felt it would have been more of a  contest had Diaby been able to play the 90 minutes.

Conceding from set pieces...
Three of the four goals we've conceded in the league have come from set pieces. At Eastlands it was a corner. Yesterday it was from two free kicks. Now I don't believe like some it's down to zonal marking. However I do believe the space we allow the opposition is a cause. If we set up to defend the six yard box, that allows the opposition to get closer to our goal, which is not a good thing. Was out positioning right for both goals?

The honeymoon period is over...
This theory that Steve Bould has cured all our defensive ills must be put to bed. I never believed that we had turned a corner like so many were making out. That a member of the famous back four had whipped the class of 2012 into shape and everything was going to be all right. Against Sunderland, Stoke and Liverpool we did look solid defensively but that's because those teams were blunt in attack. I certainly believe we are better set up than last season but it will take a longer period of time to convince me that things have changed.

Closing down...
It seems that it's only easy when you're on top in the game because for most of the second half, some of our players couldn't be bothered.

We need to take our chances...
A week on from the draw at Eastlands and it's another case of what if. Had we taken our chances yesterday and not been up against a goalkeeper who can pull off world class saves, we would have won the game. But there were so many opportunities we failed to take and that is what's so annoying. Podolski couldn't have done more with the header but Giroud should have buried his chance and would have if he wasn't off balance. It was these fine margins which saw us lose yesterday.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain...
I thought he was inhibited yesterday and it wasn't one of his best games. He created the chance for Gervinho and passing was generally ok but it didn't feel to me as though we got to see the best of The Ox. I know with younger players they aren't going to be at their best week in, week out. But I just wanted to see more of him showing what he can do.

Lukas Podolski...
He's still adapting to the league but I thought he didn't have a good game yesterday. Apart from the header which was clawed around the post by Cech, the German seemed to be pretty anonymous. Hopefully he'll come strong again because we need him to.

When there's no one but Cazorla...
Who's going to be the creative spark in our team, then we're going to fall flat. We don't want to get in the situation we had with Cesc and the greedy badger where everything went though them. Cazorla is a fantastic player but I think even he needs to share the creative responsibility. (I really don't want to say this but will... I can't wait for Jack to be back.)

Theo Walcott...
Showed exactly why he's not been playing yesterday with his lackluster performance and zero commitment to the cause. In the 23 minutes on the pitch he did everything right. His stats are perfect apart from his one cross which didn't find a red shirt. But if you watched him off the ball, like I did, it showed you a player who wasn't concerned about tracking back or helping his team mates and only playing for himself. I'm sorry but there is no room for passengers in this team and I'm getting to the end of my tether with Theo. Yesterday showed why Arsene Wenger hasn't picked him. There is no "I" in "Team" and that's what Theo should be told in no uncertain terms.

I'm left frustrated...
There is no doubt in my mind that we are as good a team as Chelsea. But we didn't give a good enough account of ourselves yesterday. We made them look good. Like I said earlier, I hope this is a momentary  blip and we come strong again. We've got two more games before the next international break. Let's win them both and get back on track.

That's it for today. More tomorrow.



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