A painful cup defeat last night made especially painful by the knowledge that it was a game we should have won. Not for the first time this season though our lack of goals cost. Of course we weren’t helped by Graham Poll who must be the biggest prick on earth.
There were two penalty shouts. The first which involved Aliadiere wasn’t really a penalty, in my view. He’d never have gotten the ball and looked for the foul. The second, for which Freddie Ljungberg was hauled back and kicked twice, is as clear a penalty as you’ll see all season. Apparently Poll told Sky at half-time that he was ‘focussed on the players upper bodies’. Amazingly inept and just when you think Poll can’t get any further up his own arse he raises the bar yet again. I mean, Senderos was sent off and had a penalty given against him for barely touching Yakubu outside the area yet Freddie is booted up and down and pulled hither and yon but nothing’s given.
Not that our first half woes were all down to Poll though. Julio Baptista could have had a couple. One he ludicrously chose to take down instead of heading it and another he nodded over the bar when he had nobody anywhere near him. Then Freddie was brilliantly played in by Denilson but his second touch was dreadful and Friedel snapped it up.
Second half Baptista drew a couple of saves from Friedel, at least, Pedersen had a shot for them and it was a fairly scrappy affair. Blackburn’s constant, relentless fouling meant we could never get up any momentum and when we tried to move things quickly we found them hanging onto the ball and stopping that happening. They might say that’s the way to play against Arsenal but it is a yellow card offence to prevent the opposition taking the ball at a free kick. When Gilberto tried to wrestle the ball from a Blackburn player at one stage that cunt Poll had a word with him and not the Blackburn guy. Fucking spastic. When the referee is unwilling to enforce the rules what the fuck can you do?
As well as that he completely ignored the disgraceful behaviour of Pedersen in the first half when he tried to grapple the ball from Arsene Wenger when Arsenal actually had a throw. He has words with Gilberto but nothing for Pedersen. Absolutely terrible and you wouldn’t hear the end of it had an Arsenal player done similar to Mark Hughes. Look at how that twat couldn’t wait to go bleating to the media over a few words from Cesc. Pathetic cunt.
We brought on Clichy for Traore and Walcott for Eboue who looked injured after a nasty, raking tackle from Pedersen who of course got no card. Here’s where I think the manager made a mistake. Senderos had been excellent at centre-half and to me Gallas would be the natural one to play there as Gilberto moved back into the back four.
He did pretty well at right back too until the goal. Poll missed a foul on Theo Walcott and as the ball was played up to McCarthy he came inside, Senderos was slow to turn and slipped a bit, and McCarthy hammered a shot past Almunia for the winning goal. I know a lot of people will point fingers at the Swiss but it would be unfair in my opinion. They’d be better questioning why Gallas, a much more mobile player, wasn’t put out there, or the strikers who spurned the chances that could have won the game.
Without Henry, van Persie and Adebayor due to injury and suspension, Baptista and Aliadiere had a chance to show they’re worthy of a first team place. Neither really looked up to it. Aliadiere worked hard and chased things but offered as much goal threat as a common or garden Kaba Diawara while Baptista had chances but didn’t take them. I’m not sure which is worse. They did suffer a bit from lack of service and in midfield Alexader Hleb was absolutely terrible. I think he’s improved enormously this season and I like him but he wasn’t at the races at all on a night when we could have done with his quick feet and creativity.
Overall Blackburn troubled us very little but we just didn’t have the quality up front to win the game. Hugely disappointing to go out of both cups in a week and with PSV on the horizon and a long injury list we really have to take stock and get ourselves back on track as soon as possible. We’ve now lost three in a row for the first time since 1907 and we need to put that right. Arsene Wenger looked more bemused than upset at the end – no doubt he’ll be wondering again about the performance of the referee but there’s nothing he can do about them. They’re all just cunts.
Afterwards Arsene Wenger pointed to the fact we didn’t take our chances, saying:
We were never under pressure and we had the chances to score goals and we didn’t do it. Football is a job where you need to be ruthless.
He wasn’t happy with some of the referee’s decisions either but mentioned them only in passing as he was saving his ire for a different official. He did have words about Adebayor’s red card on Sunday, saying:
We don’t agree with the statement of the linesman. I think it’s a lie. He comes out now and says Adebayor punched Lampard. I’d like Lampard to come out and say Adebayor punched him. There are players that have punched that haven’t been charged. The whole decision from the FA is wrong. There’s a lot of things in there that are not true.
Itâ€™s just a co-incidence that there were 20 men in a brawl and only the Arsenal players were guilty.
Very strong words, you have to say. I’m pretty sure that Eboue’s appeal was only made so that he could play last night. When you consider we had to drag Armand Traore back from a youth tournament in Barcelona because we were so short it’s the only explanation that makes sense.
There’s obviously a strong feeling of injustice about Adebayor though. Personally I don’t think the appeal will be successful as it’s against the second charge of not leaving the field and behaving aggressively, which is hard to argue against. Whether it’s designed to raise awareness of the people who punched that weren’t charged remains to be seen. I’m sure as well that the sense of injustice wouldn’t be so acute if we had a fit Robin van Persie and Thierry Henry ready to play the games Adebayor will miss.
So, the Champions League remains our last hope of silverware this season and that’s on a knife edge as well. A week ago there was plenty of optimism and positivity – that will have taken a bit of a dent but there’s no point sitting around weeping and sticking pins in dolls of officials and stalking Graham Poll and giving him a Keeganesque beating as he takes a ‘nap’ in a lay-by somewhere.
We’ve got a big game against Reading on Saturday. Sp*rs did us a favour last week when they beat Bolton and we have to regroup and get ourselves back on track. There’ll be some discussion about the week that was in tomorrow’s Arsecast with Amy Lawrence and please check out the Arsecast page to find out how you can make a contribution – including a brand new service where you can leave a voicemail message by calling a UK number.