Sunday, 30 September 2012

Lessons to learn from Saturday

Not a lot of optimism in the Arsenal air right now, after picking up our first defeat of the season, which is only compounded by the fact that we were at home to a team containing a man who has to be one of the biggest cunts on the planet, playing next to another massive cunt in defence.

Oh well, at least our legends aren't men like that.

Onto looking back at yesterday's game though, and there's still very few positives to take. The defending for the two goals was woeful and Vermaelen and Koscielny may have to wait a while before they are partnered together again. The importance of Per to this team is so vital right now, and it is really testament to the man that he can make both of these players look like world beaters when playing beside them.

What will remain in the mind is Giroud's late miss, which is pretty unexplainable, even by Arsene who said: "He was in a good position. Why did he not score? I don't know, I felt (he should have scored), yes."

The miss is awful. Any striker who fails to hit the target from there does not deserve their wages, especially given the magnitude of the game. Yet part of me has sympathy for Giroud. He has yet to properly put together a run in the first eleven, despite our evident dearth of talent up front. And the task of coming off the bench to try and change the match is one that is very hard in football, especially to someone who is clearly low on confidence. But he doesn't look like he is anywhere near the talent that we need up front, despite his goal against Coventry he did not stand out, and his PL form in front of goal has been woeful, despite his good movement. Perhaps Arsene is reflecting the fact that Giroud is not the player he thought he was buying by not selecting him for these recent big games, even when his ability in the air was much needed. Only time will tell.

Another slight worry is our reliance on Arteta, and it makes me wonder if other teams may and try nullify his metronomic control over our tempo. Yesterday Chelsea's midfield three pressed us excellently and Torres Hazard and Mata were equally chipping in on the defensive side, meaning Mikel could only complete 59 passes compared to his 100 against Man City last weekend.

Last season we seemed much weaker without our Spaniard dictating the play, and couldn't win without him in the squad for most of the season. With his transition into a deeper role, and Song's exit, there seem to be few who can play his role at the club right now. In such a vital position, this may end up being a problem.

Back to the game though, and I hope that Bould does take aside the whole squad to sort out our problems from set pieces. At the highest level you are punished for minor mistakes but the errors on show by some of our players at set plays have been numerous and catastrophic. At City, Podolski and Koscielny were static and not looking at the ball even, whilst Mannone came hurtling out of his goal for no apparent reason, and even Arteta had strayed from his position on the post. The corner in the first place came about through a lack of communication whereby Gibbs needlessly conceded a corner.

These same mistakes were on show Yesterday. Sure the replacement of Diaby and Chamberlain may have confused the squad, leaving the Ox marking Luiz with about half a foot in height difference between them. Yet being caught on the wrong side of your man is rudimentary stuff, and I'm sure Bouldy will be quick to point this out. Koscielny again was seemingly not interested in the flight of the ball and allowed Torres to poke home at Mannone's near post - albeit the finish was right out of the top drawer it has to be said. Both free-kicks were conceded rather needlessly and given the quality of set piece takers in their side, plus their aerial dominance, then we really shouldn't have given away so many fouls.

Arsene Wenger was equally furious with the sloppy defending, saying "Defensively we were just not at the level you have to be in a game like thatwe conceded two soft goals from set-pieces. At home you cannot concede goals like we did today.

It is easy to realise that had we swapped goalkeepers yesterday we would most likely have ended up on the winning side. Cech is a world class goalkeeper and made some quality save to keep Chelsea in front, and whilst Mannone wasn't completely at fault for either goal, he probably could have done a bit better. After all he conceded from 2 out of the 3 shots on target by Chelsea.

But overall, as long as we learn from the mistakes then they are not completely awful. If we can finally learn to grind out victories when not playing well, and stop conceding from set pieces, then we can make a proper challenge this season. Arsene Wenger was quick to try and focus on the positive aspects of his team, "I believe overall there's a lot of positives in this game and that's what we have to take going into the next one. I'm quite confident because we have a strong spirit and the team wants to do well."

Yet right now we are 7 points adrift of the leaders, with only 2 wins in 6. We have played well and not got the result, and played badly and not got the result. We cannot return to the weak Arsenal of yesteryear, we must move on with this new attacking style we started the season with.

A positive to look forward to is the return of Jack Wilshere, who is set to feature against West Brom in a under-21 game tomorrow. Good luck to him.

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