Well, as I was sitting with my hangover not going away and not being helped by the five first half goals we didn’t score, I thought at least a 0-0 draw would be reasonably acceptable. It’d be an improvement on the 1-0 defeat last season. Then up pops Andy Johnson to score an injury time winner and I burped and a little bit of sick came up into my mouth.
If I hadn’t been bored into a near comatose state by the game itself I suppose I should have seen it coming. Depressingly predictable and it leaves us with plenty of questions. Such as:
Is there more chance of me winning the lottery than seeing Baptista or Aliadiere score? Both of them, who are supposedly playing for their Arsenal futures, were horribly inept again. Aliadiere wasted a glorious chance when set up by Rosicky and Baptista did nothing to suggest he’ll be wearing red and white next season (unless he’s lucky enough for Sheffield United to make a bid for him). He had one chance with a header which summed him up completely – it was completely crap.
Why is Gilberto being played in central defence? I thought Diaby did well enough in midfield but Gilberto isn’t a centre-half for me. As I said earlier in the week he’s an accomplished enough player that he can fill in if we need him during a game but starting him there is crazy. We should be playing the best players in their best positions. Yesterday’s back four was ridiculous. In the absence of Gael Clichy then William Gallas is the best left back he have. He should have played there, Hoyte in his natural position at right back and Kolo and Senderos in the middle. Instead we had a back four which consisted of three players playing in positions you wouldn’t consider their first choice and I really hope I’m wrong but I suspect Gallas is not being played at left back because he’s kicked up about it.
Gilberto should be playing in midfield, acting as a shield for the back four which he does so very well, and when we need goals and our strikers are as useless as Aliadiere and Baptista then to put our highest scoring midfielder in the back four was a very strange decision by Arsene. I hope he moves the Brazilian back to the middle of the park as soon as possible.
I think our performance showed just what a difference quality strikers, with intelligent movement and creativity, makes to a team. Any team would struggle without their two main strikers. Take Drogba and Shevchenko away from Chelsea, take Kuyt and Crouch away from Liverpool, Rooney and Saha from United and they’ll find life more difficult. We’re missing Henry and van Persie badly and today is the sort of game that Adebayor might have done well in. He’d work hard and the lad has a knack of scoring important, game winning goals. Thankfully he’s back for the game against Liverpool.
In general, although we had more ‘attempts’ on goal than Everton, Howard was rarely troubled – although it was nice to see Cesc shooting from outside the area. On the other hand they hit the post twice and will probably feel they deserved their winner. As I said earlier in the week the real worry about our team is the lack of goals. We had more possession, played nice football, passed it around but at the moment we have as much cutting edge as a wooden spoon.
Given the dismal performances of Aliadiere and Baptista, and the fact Theo is now out until next season, I’d be inclined to play Freddie up top with Adebayor. At least they’d offer more movement and they can finish every now and again. The only other option is to play Adebayor as a lone striker which would then mean we could bring Diaby into midfield more regularly and perhaps Rosicky could float behind Adebayor. I’m not a fan of 4-5-1 at the best of times but it might be worth looking at.
Anyway, the manager now has the best part of two weeks to try and get things together. There’s a series of internationals then a game against the Mug Smashers on the 31st.
That means we all have two weeks to bitch and moan and waffle and by the time the Liverpool game comes around we’ll have decided we need 43 new players and John Toshack as manager. Joy.