1. Gervinho is as terrible as ever
I’ve been calling for the axe on this guy for over a year now, and he just keeps digging the dagger even deeper into our hearts. Instead of stepping up in the big games, he manages to make the most unforgivable misses and breaks our hearts time and again. Its almost sadistic really, how can a professional footballer miss so many easy chances in big games, its as if he takes enjoyment from seeing the fans in pain. As if missing clear cut chances in big games against Chelsea last season, Man City this season wasn’t enough, he missed an open goal against Bradford City to ensure our elimination in the League Cup, and then missed a regulation one on one against Blackburn on Saturday that shows that he has absolutely no shooting ability whatsoever. There’s been plenty more, but those are the main ones. If by a miracle we make the Champions League final this year, just watch Gervinho miss an open net when we are 1-0 down in injury time. Just watch. Please Wenger, please do not play this guy again, he is just a waste of time.
2. Final ball was terrible
What was Oxlade-Chamberlain doing on the wing? Oh yes, his best impression of invisible man. Yep every single ball he whipped in was so far off the mark it was embarrassing. Yes we got our fair share of corners, but why are these corners happening in the first place? Surely we are good enough to make the goalkeeper work? Monreal and Coquelin weren’t much better as full backs. Final balls were shocking, and clear cut chances were few and far between.
3. The midfield didn’t step up
Before I go on my next rant, I’d like to say I have absolutely no problem with the team selection, I myself would have picked a similar team. The team was good enough to win the game hands down, but didn’t show enough conviction. I criticised the wingers for the lack of final ball, but it would be harsh on them without talking about the rest of the midfield. Of course the wingers are going to look bad if there is only one target man in the box to aim for. Diaby and Rosicky were deployed in attacking roles with Arteta as usual shielding the defence. For all their attacking instinct and talent, why didn’t Diaby and Rosiky press the ball up the pitch with more vigour, why didn’t they make runs into the box, why didn’t they make an impact until it was too late? Rosicky had a stunner of a shot before he went off, but it was too little too late. Think of the way Cazorla has got into the box and scored goals this season, the way Wilshere has stepped up and made things happen in midfield with the conviction in his passing. Diaby and Rosicky might not be our first choice in central midfield, but they are certainly better than that.
4. Same old Arsenal in defence
How often do we have 99% possession and don’t score, and the opposition scores with their 1%? Coquelin, one of the shortest on the pitch goes for a naive header, and Blackburn does the simplest of training ground moves. Szczesny has one bloody save to make all match and he parries it straight at Colin Kazim-Richards, who, with the scrappiest of shots puts them ahead. Its bad enough with no cutting edge at the other end, the defence pretty much had this one thing to deal with, and didn’t.
5. Arsenal aren’t proactive, they are reactive
This is why we aren’t champions and don’t win anything. Every game should be a big game, that’s the mentality that we should have, but we don’t. Just think about our attacking threat when we conceded the goal, we looked pretty good didn’t we? We were desperately unlucky not to equalise through Theo or Arteta, but its too little too late. Why must be reactive, why can’t we be proactive and take the game by the scruff of the neck early on and be out of sight? Why must we wait for something to happen to make something happen? To us, Blackburn at home were probably pushovers and we probably thought we could just rock up and we’d be in the quarter finals. Champion teams are more ruthless and have more cutting edge in attack. They kill off the opposition early grab the psychological edge and ensure they don’t lose. I’m not saying Arsenal haven’t been proactive before, we’ve had some decent wins this season, but it seems that too often we are being reactive from time to time, which accounts for our inconsistency. This is why we can’t win a trophy, because to win those things you need to be consistent, and if you aren’t, you’ll be left behind and someone else will win that trophy. Think Norwich, Bradford, Fulham and this Blackburn game where we were too late to react, or games like the Brighton, Sp*rs and Reading where we eventually got the result but were too reactive instead of taking charge of the game early.
6. There is something seriously wrong at the club
We are supposed to be a “big club” but we’ve been eliminated by Bradford and Blackburn in the cups and sit 21 points behind in the league and in danger of missing Champions League qualification for next season. Let’s be realistic, we won’t win the Champions League, so it’ll likely be a trophyless season for the eighth year running. Something has to give. Either Wenger goes, or the board goes. Something needs to change, there are deep seeded problems at the club and something needs to be done fast. I don’t have all the answers now, maybe this is something to talk about at the end of the season, but I’m seriously concerned.
I suppose the only positive to come out of game is the fact that Arsenal, being so reactive, may put on a good show against Bayern, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they do, they’ve made a habit of it. I’m not holding my breath though.
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