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Basics forgotten, big mistakes but at least November is over

November 30, 2009

Remember, Remember anything but November. Black November as Arsene called it and how it lived up to its name. Everything looked so good until we hit the 11th month. It even began with a win at Wolves (seems a long time ago now). And yet it ended with 2 league defeats in a row.

After the match finished, I basically tried to keep myself busy trying to do anything to distract my thoughts from yesterday’s match. I had plenty of thoughts mostly all negative and scathing. I thought it was wise to not post it up immediately otherwise it would provoke another knee jerk reaction. Frankly, that is more depressing than any defeats, knowing what follows.

This team isn’t good enough to win the title.

Please tell me something new. We knew this before the season began. Arsenal, as Arsenal are, set to prove us wrong with some stunning results and might yet do. No title is decided in November but the odds have just been tipped against us.

In a way this defeat feels worse than the one in May when Chelsea beat us 4-1. How can that be? 9 of those who started the game yesterday were first teamers and we had quality replacements on the bench. Even for the first 40 minutes, it looked as even a contest. We were on the front foot while Chelsea tried to get us on the counter. It was anybody’s game.

And then we forgot the basics.

It was bad enough giving enough space and time for Ashley Cole to put one perfect cross, let alone two. This is Ashley Cole we are talking about, we should know what he is good at. It wasn’t as if it was Jesper Gronjkaer who was famous for his ridiculous crossing ability. Considering Sagna is better defensively than Eboue, this was frustrating to accept.

That Arshavin missed a crucial interception that led to the first cross from Cole didn’t help either. Being 2-0 down at half time was not deserved, especially on Gallas and Vermaelen who were having a good game until those mistakes came up. At one point I noticed Drogba complaining to the ref about how uncompromising our defenders were. To be fair on Didier,  he got on with his work later on.

The last goal we conceded was farcical too. Drogba’s shot was precise and lethal but where was the closing down? The wall protecting the goal, stood silent. You can blame Almunia for not reacting quickly enough but the fact that remains, that once a shot is accurate and isn’t closed down, it inevitably will cause major problems.

Contrast our defensive naivety with Chelsea.

They threw body after body whenever we were within shooting or crossing range. At one point I counted the Chelsea players and there were SEVEN players who shielded their penalty box. If Chelsea were the target, their players did a bloody good bodyguard job of the fortress. If Chelsea were the target, we needed more cohesiveness in attack in order to break west London side. It was a sorry sight at one point seeing Vela ambushed by 4-5 Chelsea players with no Arsenal player offering him support.

Were we unlucky with the disallowed goal?

 To me, it looked like Cech never had control of that ball and the call to rule the goal was not justified sufficiently. We can’t complain too much however, knowing Chelsea were denied a legitimate penalty. That is two blatant calls missed for the opposition in two games at the Emirates. While we aren’t getting those 50-50 calls for penalties in our favour, neither are the opposition.

Lessons to learn from this game?

First get the basics right and never give the opposition even half a chance. The defence including the defensive midfielders need to more in tune with each other for these games.

Be more decisive with the decision making in attack. There were too many misplaced passes and players in decent positions didn’t choose the right option quick enough. For instance I counted there were at least 3 times in the first half where Eduardo dwelled on the ball for too long and lost possession. This might be more of a confidence thing and I will still back Dudu to get it right in the next few games.

Bulk. the. man. up. Traore who played his second game as a left back didn’t have a bad game and caused Ivanovic plenty of problems. But at the other end while his pace caught up with Drogba on one occasion, he was ruthlessly shielded away from the ball by the Ivorian. He “bounced” off Drogba.

There were many instances when something like this happened, particularly in midfield and on the wings. I can’t understand how this can happen. May be some extra sessions in the gym are needed or some alternative work on weight distribution. Don’t forget even RVP’s injury was the result of him bouncing off Chielini.

Two defeats doesn’t mean we are a rubbish side. Otherwise by that logic Utd were lucky to win the title when they lost two in a row last season. We’ll learn much about their desire next saturday and see how much the telepathic connection has improved. That most of the players won’t play on Wednesday will help.

Keep the faith!

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 30, 2009 21:02

    yeaah…. a positive-ish….post i was getting all depressed reading the other blogs

    • December 1, 2009 00:14

      if you see positivity in that thanks, it took me a while to articulate my thoughts of sorts. feel free to give your own thoughts!

  2. Deen nigeria permalink
    November 30, 2009 23:19

    Good post , we just hope they bounce back and win our next matches in december,it is stil a long way to go and every member of the squad that are on ground shuld step up it has been too depressing to lose to tims like sundaland & westham{though we drew } .But first we need to kick start our title hopes and hope clichy bentner and diaby could help us out.I hope GOD COULD PITY THE A.F.C And Let us win just the league.

  3. Hamad permalink
    December 1, 2009 00:16

    Thanks for the post. I am in depression since yesterday and dont know what will lift me up. I waited outstide the stadium and saw Fabregas, Vella and Arshavin drive off but didnt feel like waving at them. It takes a while to shake off a disappointing performance.

  4. MANAS permalink
    December 1, 2009 07:37

    Dear Hamad

    I fully understand your mental state. I am an Indian but I love football and Arsenal. I am also totally dejected since the match ended. I know Wenger will again put inexperienced side against Man City and probably going to lose the match. In FA Cup we are against West Ham in their ground, so not an easy trip. Without RVP, our offence looks extremely week. Arshavin is totally offcolour. Only Rosiscy showed his class. We badly need a mixture of skill with power like Man U, Chelsea and Barcelona.

  5. Unbitten49 permalink
    December 1, 2009 07:59

    Why are you all dejected arsenal for the english premier league 09/10 remember lan 10 is coming and chelsea will be naked my concern is united

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