Thursday, 25 October 2012

Santos "useless" as Gunners exposed by Schalke -Gnabry impresses -Wenger's AGM questions

Morning Gooners.

I predicted in yesterday's post that we would face our toughest games of the season against Schalke last night and a 2-0 home defeat has proved that point right. It seems as though we are stuck in a rut after the players returned from the international break and if we are to have any chance of silverware this season we need to extricate ourselves as soon as possible.

One of the many things which concerned me last night was the lack of creativity going forward. We had five shots at goal and just one - Serge Gnabry's 94th minute effort - was on target. Rarely do you think Arsenal won't score. Even worse is the fact we created little.

Lukas Podolski created two chances in the first half with crosses from the left. The first Gervinho got on the end of and fired wide. The other saw only Aaron Ramsey in the box and the ball went behind the Welshman.

Of course we might have been a goal down by the time Podolski created the second chance had the referee not made a very good decision not to award the visitors a penalty and to book Ibrahim Afellay for diving. It looked from where I sit like a penalty but from watching TV replays, the referee called it right. What a let off.

Time and time again we were getting caught out down our left hand side. Podolski wasn't offering Andre Santos the kind of protection he does Kieran Gibbs. The Brazilian was isolated on many occasions and I wasn't sure out of Francis Coquelin or Mikel Arteta who was meant to be protecting the left hand side as well.

Santos however was as much use defensively as a chocolate fireguard. Kieran Gibbs cannot return to the first team quick enough. The Brazilian was so useless. For the second game in a row he played the opposition forward onside when the other three defenders had stepped out and that had yet again huge consequences as Huntelaar was played onside to score his goal.

Again it was Santos who made minimal effort for the second goal we conceded last night as he threw a leg out in a bid to prevent Farfan's cross reaching a team mate. However Santos didn't make contact with the ball and it found its way to Afellay for the second goal.

It was no more than the German's deserved. They were much the better team and had been threatening all night to score. We were fortunate to have several lets offs.

The only bright spot for me was Serge Gnabry's Champions League debut. He looks as though he can come in and do a job for us as a substitute. It's no wonder the manager is looking at him having a big future with the club.

I thought others played well but we just weren't good enough last night. It shows that for all the talk of us having depth in our squad, having been hit with several injuries we are down to the barebones again.

The return of Kieran Gibbs especially cannot come soon enough.

This morning is going to be a tricky one for the manager and members of the board at the AGM. Quite rightly Arsenal shareholders are going to want answers about the continued sale of our best players each summer to top up our bank balance. I really hope things don't turn ugly.

That's it for today. More tomorrow.

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