Monday, 4 March 2013

Walcott's dereliction of duty proves costly -Defensive howlers and impotent attack costly

Morning Gooners.

I think like the rest of you I have a real sense of disappointment of the result from yesterday's match. Losing to those lot at any time is terrible. But when there's ten games to go in a season when there might not be a St Totteringham's Day for the first time in the Wenger era is really so, so, disappointing.

And it didn't have to be this way. We handed them two goals on a plate after making a very good start to the game.We dominated possession, looked to be on the front foot and played like we had the edge over our neighbours.

But two costly errors where the team switched off its pressing game and no one (Theo Walcott) could be bothered to protect right back Carl Jenkinson, coupled with a complete lapse in concentration in the defence saw us concede two first half goals which swung the game completely in their favour.

And it wasn't like the warning signs weren't there. Jan Vertonghen made a storming run through the middle of  the pitch which none of our midfielders wanted to deal with and go to the ball. Luckily it came to nothing, but should have acted as a wake up call. Stop pressing the ball and they will take advantage.

So they did, with two clinical pieces of finishing on the end of the move. Firstly Bale was put through to beat Szczesny and then two minutes later Lennon did the same. Both move originated from our right hand side, where Theo Walcott had decided to give up on his defensive duties and no Arsenal player pressed the ball.

Quite how we could have been carved open so easily and in the same manner is beyond me. It could have been predicted before the match that their left hand side would be their most dangerous route of attack. And I wrote about it earlier in the week!

After half time we need to get ourselves on the score sheet and that's exactly what we did after Aaron Ramsey won us a free kick on the left. Walcott swung the ball in - amazingly finding an Arsenal head - Per Mertesacker header was sent past Lloris by a Bale deflection.

But from then on despite some pressure we couldn't find the goal which would have put us level. A lack of quality in front of goal meant that Lloris was hardly made to make a save.

Finishing the game in defeat means that we're seven points behind our neighbours with ten games to go. It's going to be a tough to overtake them, but I still believe we have a chance to finish inside the top four. Chelsea have a difficult run and and if we can close the gap with them, there is every chance we can still secure a place in the top four. It's going to be tight though.

We've got ten days to prepare for our next game, with Saturday's clash with Everton postponed. It gives the manager a lot of time to work with his players to ensure their eyes are focused on the finishing line.

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

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