Monday, 14 January 2013

Cazorla anonymous as Lolo loses his head and Mike Dean loves it

Morning Gooners.

I don't think anyone expected the result to turn out any other way than it did after Mike Dean made the decision to send of Laurent Koscielny. Yes, the Frenchman had clear hold of Dzeko. He pulled him down. But doesn't that happen every week in every league in the world?

Perhaps the Koscielny rugby tackle was a lot clearer than most for the referee to make a call on. But opposition players going down under that sort of challenge happens all the time. What you hardly ever see is the referee award a penalty and a red card.

From my position in the North Bank, I could see Koscielny had his arms around him. So it must have been an obvious spot for Mike Dean. And we all know Dean likes making decisions which go against us. He's been making them for years.

What I don't understand though is the lack of consistency the officials take to shirt pulling in the box. It's either an offense or it isn't. There is no grey area. I can guarantee the next one we see won't be given.

By the letter of the law Koscielny had to go. Dean got the call right. But I just don't understand the consistency in the decision making of the officials.

City had been on top for that opening period and were piling on the pressure. We had no out ball. And that is why Theo Walcott cannot play on his own up front. He was offering us nothing in the way of protection. The ball was just getting sent straight back at us.

And that pressure lead to the build-up to the Dzeko situation in the box. I didn't feel too worried when the Bosnian put the ball down on the spot. I had a feeling he wouldn't score. And Szczesny pulled off a fine save with the aid of the post to keep the ball out.

After the save you would have thought our heads would have been raised a little. But no, we slumped into our shell and didn't play with the passion and f-you character that you might have expected from a team who thought they'd been wronged yet again by a Mike Dean decision. That was not the case.

The manager hooked Alex Oxlade Chamberlain for Per Mertesacker to give us the defensive stability we needed. But even with us trying to shore things up at the back, there was an air of expectation that we were going to concede.

Milner than Dzeko finding the net inside 12 first half minutes. It seemed no one cared. And when you want to see fight and passion from your team, it was certainly lacking.

The second half was different. The players emerged with more purpose and it was notable that it was Jack Wilshere leading the charge against the champions. Time and again though he was fouled. It seemed from where I was standing he was being deliberately targeted.

Giroud came on for Diaby and Ramsey for Podolski. The Frenchman's chance was a header. Had that gone in, the game could have got interesting for the final twenty minutes. But in the end, we didn't have the quality to put the ball in the back of the net.

In a game when you don't want your players to go missing, it was shocking how Cazorla disappeared. He had no telling contribution on the game at all.

The manager said post match that Mikel Arteta would miss the next three weeks with a calf strain. We needed his injury like a hole in the head. But now is the time for Coquelin to take his chance to prove himself.

We can't lick our wounds for too long. This week is vital to our season. We need a response and it needs to come on Wednesday night.

That's it for today. Back tomorrow with more.

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