Monday, 16 December 2013

Errors lead to our downfall -Vieira pin-points a positive -Bounce-back ability

Morning Gooners.

I have to admit to being a person who takes a defeat very badly. If Arsenal lose on a Saturday it will ruin the rest of my weekend. Yes football is just a game, but it affect so many of us in the same way. We eat, sleep and breathe the game. And that is especially the case for all Gooners.

I think we all knew going to Manchester City and getting a result was going to be a big ask, especially after our two pervious games against Everton and Napoli were both physically and mentally draining. The manager tried at every attempt both before and after the match to downplay the fixture schedule which saw us play three big matches in six days, but we know it took its toll on the players.

The fact he made five changes to the side which played in Napoli spoke volumes and then all three of his substitutes were players who didn't have any involvement in our midweek game. At full time, we had eight players on the pitch who didn't start in Italy. The depth of our squad was no match for the opposition with there infinite resources.

I think mental fatigue also played a huge part. Give me a week between games and you wouldn't see Laurent Koscielny lose Sergio Aguero for the first goal. Jack Wilshere wouldn't have been caught ball watching for the second when he should have been closer to Pablo Zabaleta. Mathieu Flamini wouldn't have miscontrolled Mesut Ozil's pass for Fernandinho's first goal. Thomas Vermaelen wouldn't have been drawn to the ball instead of marking David Silva for City's fourth and Mertesacker wouldn't have dived in for Fernandinho's second. Szczesny wouldn't have made an attempt to stop James Milner in the area when the home side where awarded a last minute penalty.

There were six individual errors on Saturday. That's probably more than we've made all season. And you don't go from having the best defensive record in the league to shipping six goals in one game without good reason.

What was even more frustrating was the fact we put the ball in the City net five times, two of which were wrongly chalked off for off side. The home team were there to be got at, but we didn't have the fuel in the tank to take advantage of the opportunities.

Theo Walcott scored two beautiful goals on his return to the side. It is a great positive to have him back and especially getting his name on the scoresheet. We'll need his goal scoring threat for the remainder of the season.

And as for Mertesacker vs Ozil at full time, I'm all in favour of it. It's probably better to have disagreements in the dressing room, but I don't mind a bit of passion being displayed on the pitch. What it does show is how much Per cares.

I also think in general this team has a fantastic bond. And that's one thing which will help us this season. We see to be more united than other squads. From the outside there doesn't seem to be the cliques that was evident in the past. Everyone seems to get along.

This is something that Patrick Vieira wrote about in his autobiography.

Vieira wrote:
"When I look back on the fantastic results we have had with the French team, I am convinced that the atmosphere within the squad was a key factor in our success.  
"When there's a good atmosphere amongst team members, when they like being together, then that crates a real sense of solidarity between them. 
"You actually want to go tearing into another defensive position simply to help a mate out that you love." 
And I think we've seen that bond, the solidarity which the manager often speaks, this season more than any other in the recent past. It might be down to the fact we're not relying on one star player. The balance of that workload is now spread around the group. There appear to be a harmony among the senior players and it's noticeable that we've got three people who wear the captain's armband who deserved to be looked up to.

We don't have to face Manchester City at home in the league again this season. We've suffered a set back, but I think the players will show a big response to their and our disappointment when we face Chelsea at the Grove a week today.

They've got an opportunity to rest their legs, have a few days off and come back into training tomorrow and prepare for the Chelsea game.

It's the Champions League draw later at 11am. I really hope it's either one of the two Spanish clubs in Barcelona or Real Madrid. One of those would be a huge test but it would lay down a marker to our rivals if we qualified for the quarter finals. None of the five teams we could be drawn with want to face us either. They would see it as like facing a group winner.

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