My Arsenal – West Ham vs Arsenal Match thoughts
Yesterdays game all but ensured my weekend didn’t turn out as expected. Man Utd’s loss and Chelsea’s win meant that we had to pick all three points to at least give an indication that we are indeed up for the title. But that was not to be as we threw away two goals and two precious points away in a matter of minutes.
So what went wrong? Arsenal were seemingly cruising at two goals up at the and of the first half. On resumption of the second we continued from where we pretty much stopped. Fabregas, Song and Diaby bossed the midefield with Arshavin showing flashes of brilliance. And then the changes! Zola knew he had to stop Arsenal from retaining possession as soon as possible and brought in Dimanti who ruffled the entire back line so much so he had a scuttle with Manonne. It was obvious we were loosing possession and I expected Wenger to quickly make changes. Eboue increasingly lost possession at the same rate at which he got them. Diaby suddenly ran into imaginery road blocks and looked more like a headless chicken. We know Fabregas and Arshavin can’t be at their best with Diaby and Eboue loosing balls the way they did in the last 15 minutes.
West Ham could only score with a set piece and so they did. A cross into the box met a subtle Manonne puch and offcourse Cole (who troubled us all evening) pounce on the rebound. Song innocuously charged Cole who fell like a log of wood. The referee as they do with home teams, caved under pressure and gave away the penalty. Dimanti beautifully scored and now we are reeling and asking the pertinent questions. Why and why do we conceed from set piece in 80% of goals scored against us? Why cant we just score one goal and be rest assured we got the game under wraps? Why and why does Wenger take so long to make changes especially when its pretty obvious some of your key players (who can’t perform magic at any time) are starting to dwindle and loosing possession? And lastly, why can’t we get a permanent goalie?
These questions, rhetorical as they appear, may continued to be asked all through the season. If we are going to be title contenders we better start killing games fast and damaging to the morale and confidence of the opponents. Arsenal attack very well and I like the pace at which we move. However, we still need to work on our end product which is what sets Barca apart from us. I actually believe we are on the same level with Barca defensively. Infact we are even better. However, Barca posse a devastating attack that can switch to different combat tactis at any point in the game all with the chilling effect of obliterating opponents in minutes. Their end product is above levels. Messi, Iniesta, Keita, Henry and even Alves would always deliver 8/10 crosses well on target and would have 7/10 shots on target. Compare that to Diaby, Eboue, Theo, Sagna, Song and Clichy. A little more from these guys and I’m sure we’d put teams like West Ham to bed in a matter of minutes.
Meanwhile, congrats to all you reds for sweeping Man Utd asside. Like my friend will say, SAF is always on auto chew (chewing gum non stop) when his team have their backs to the ropes. Who says the title race is sorted??? Let the game begin!!!