So another draw, another 2 points dropped and another weekend where we lost ground on Aston Villa. 4th place is beginning to look out of our grasp… Arsenal are failing to do something they’ve never had a problem with… score goals.
Today was probably one of the most disastrous from a luck point of view. We managed to lost Adebayor for 3 weeks when he pulled up with a hamstring injury… Gael Clichy took a very nasty blow to the back of the head… and Emmanuel Eboue managed to get himself sent off for yet another pathetic show of petulance.
Eboue must be one of the luckiest footballers in England. He worms his way into the first team by default almost every week. Regardless of how he plays, Wenger picks him as 1st choice back up… However, I’m not sure how the coach is going to view his latest piece of indiscipline. Eboue managed to get himself into the book early on after arguing with the ref over a foul conceded… by Sagna. 15 minutes later, Modric dispossessed Eboue… who took exception, fell to the floor… then upended the Croat. The ref took his time… but you knew what was coming… red card.
Arsenal had to play 70 minutes with ten men… the real shame of the sending off was that Eboue was actually playing reasonable well. He was unlucky to have a goal disallowed for a shove… on another day in another ground or if another player had shot… that goal may have been given.
Arsenal defended resolutely for the rest of the game and kept a lot of Spurs talent at bay… but you never really felt we had a goal in us. Robin Van Persie was largely ineffective as was Nik Bendtner… who couldn’t seem to keep the ball under control. There is still a part of me that expects us to go on and win in a ten man situation… but the pace and quality probably wasn’t there yesterday for any miracles to take place.
So, what can we take from the game? Well… we’re beginning to look a capable defensive unit. We haven’t lost in ten games and we’ve started to learn the art of keeping a clean sheet. I didn’t really think we looked in danger today… considering some of the names on the Spud team sheet… that is quite and achievement.
I thought Alex Song had his best game in an Arsenal shirt… and I don’t just mean by his own standards… I mean by any centre midfielders standards. He cleaned up defensively all afternoon, he maintained concentration and his passing was spot on. I thought he held our midfield together and didn’t really allow Spurs to play. He is what we have till the end of the season… if he can continue to play like that, I wont be too fussed.
Almunia had a top game today, probably one of his most solid games this year. He made some crucial saves and his distribution was pretty sharp. He was there for most of the balls that were whipped into the box as well… a good command of his area today.
I thought Gallas and Toure played ok today. The only clanger I can remember was when Kolo gifted the ball to Modric (I think?)… but thankfully he squandered his chance. Our defence are looking impressive as a unit… it’s a shame they look so average going forward. Clichy and Sagna seem to have gone backwards with their crossing ability… which should be addressed in training by the coach. There really is no excuse in top level football for not being able to hit the ball past the first defender… a regular failing of our full backs.
Our forwards didn’t have the best game, but it’s always hard up front when you’re down to ten men… and Nik B did nearly snatch it at the end when he forced a very smart save from Cudicini…
So, there we have it… Arsenal battled away and secured a point in a game we could easily have lost considering the circumstances. Hopefully the arrival of Arshavin will stifle the inclusion of Eboue in the first team going forward. I would liked to have seen the Russian on the pitch in the second half… but I guess the coach has seen what he is capable of in training and felt he may not make the right impact… if he’d come on and we’d gone a goal down… it wouldn’t have been a very nice way to start a glittering career, would it?
What I am starting to worry about is the lack of urgency at the club about our current situation… if we’re struggling to sign players now… what is it going to be like if we get pushed out of the top 4? It just doesn’t seem like anyone is really too fussed about what is going on… even some of the fans are casual about the situation. I am starting to really worry… because once you are off the gravy train that is the champions league… it’s very hard to get back on… becuase whoever takes our place is sure to invest heavily in staying there… and I am sure we have plenty of players in our squad who wouldn’t want to be out of Europe’s Premier Competition next year…
Remember… we are Arsenal and what is on show at the moment is not good enough…
So, Cardiff next… Arshavin and Eduardo will be in the squad again… and we know that we’ve got to start scoring goals for fun if we want that champions league spot.
Come on Arsenal… pick it up for the fans! You owe us something special!
P.S. I don’t have any tickets in Le Exchange… so if you have any spares, don’t wast them by leaving them empty, let me pass them on for you! Also, remember to join our twitter thing… click the logo in the side bar! Oh… and thanks to Steve for the pics… and finally, did anyone read Capello say Theo is England’s best player over the weekend?