Well normal service, for this season anyway, was resumed when our away day troubles continued as we played out a limp 0-0 draw with Aston Villa. We had one chance in the first half when Mathieu Flamini was clean through but blasted over when at the very least he should have hit the target, Freddie hit the bar with a great left footed curler in the second half while right at the end Kolo Toure poked it wide from inside the 6 yard box.
It was a pretty insipid performance though against what is a very average Villa side who conceded 3 the other night against those goal machines at Fulham. The jury has been out on Alexander Hleb since his arrival but after seeing him today he’s made it easy for them to deliver their verdict. He was useless and maybe José was rested with Tuesday’s game in mind but we could have done with the Spaniard’s energy and craft as opposed to the Belarussian’s shite and poo.
I know the festive schedule is hard but it’s hard for all teams and it was difficult to see the team look so lacklustre when this was a game we should have been able to take three points from. There is no doubt in my mind that the team needs freshening up in the transfer window. We need to add some competition for places, we need to bring in players who are hungry for success and won’t accept a 0-0 draw with 5 minutes to go (witness substitute Robert Pires run away from Pascal Cygan when he was looking for someone to throw the ball to deep in our own half with just a short time to go – a perfect snapshot of what is wrong with this team at the moment), we need to bring in someone who can grab a game by the bollocks when we really need it. The manager headed for the tunnel deep in thought at the final whistle and I hope he’s thinking about who he’s going to buy because he needs to do something before it’s too late. New tactics, teamtalks and whatever else just aren’t working. A disappointing way to end the calendar year.
Tuesday sees Man United arrive at Highbury and unless there is a drastic improvement in performance and attitude it’s hard to see us get anything from that game. We’ll be without Pascal Cygan as he picked up his 5th booking of the season so a reshuffle of the back four will be needed as well.
Anyway, leaving aside the football which is pretty depressing I just want to wish all readers of Arseblog the very best for 2006. I hope you all have a happy, successful and prosperous new year and I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing the same for the team. Have a good one, Arsefriends.