The game opened in thunderous fashion. Drogba almost found himself one on one within the first minute!
It didn’t take long for a goal to come, sadly it went to Chelsea.
Theo did well to clear the first ball into the box. It went out for a corner. A near post cross was nodded wide by JT, Drogba was on hand to knock it in at the far post. The catalogue of errors was impressive. Vermaelen lost Terry’s run, Song managed to lose Drogba and Clichy managed to lose his post! Inexcusable defending, yet all too familiar.
The game flattened out. Arshavin was played in with a unbelievable 40 yard Cesc pass, but his volley was saved.
Arshavin was single handedly trying to craft a goal, he lost the ball on the edge of the Chelsea box, Lampard began the counter attack, passed to Drogba out wide, he jinked inside Clichy and powered it past Almunia.
The keeping looked typically questionable as did our complete lack of respect for footballing tactics. Ancellotti said he’d play us on the counter attack, he wasn’t lying.
2 down in 23 minutes. The only way back? If Kanu was on the bench! He did it for us 11 years ago. Then again, we had quality oozing through the squad.
Chelsea took a back seat for the rest of the half, knowing it would only be so long before we exposed ourselves again.
Ashley Cole nearly nipped in but for the quick feet of Walcott. That really would have capped a dreadful half.
Arsenal looked flat, out of ideas and very inexperienced compared to the professional group of athletes Chelsea had on show. We had a lot of possession, but Chelsea were allowing that. They knew we didn’t have a recognised striker and Arshavin was going to struggle to create.
Once again, we were tactically naïve and due to the world class transfer policies of Arsene Wenger, we didn’t really have many options from the bench. I mean really, in your heart of hearts, did you feel Bendtner could come on and turn the game for us? I didn’t. Still, I was interested to see what the coach was going to do. He had that rabbit caught in headlights look sitting on the bench, Pat Rice had that, ‘what’s for dinner’ look on his.
First attack of the second half, Vermaelen was the only player in the central striking position. Crazy!
Nasri was played in by Cesc, through on goal, only the keeper to beat, but he didn’t pull the trigger! What was he thinking!
Cesc had the next chance in the shape of the freekick. He powered it low under the wall, Cech saved superbly, Gallas was unlucky not to turn it in. Cech really did prove the value of a having a proper keeper between the sticks. Brave, agile and concentrating when called upon.
Song clipped Frank Lampard and gave away a needless freekick. Drogba stepped up to the ball and I said to my brother, ‘Why is Almunia giving him so much of the goal?’. Drogba smashed his kick over the wall and against the bar, Almunia actually gave up. Couldn’t even muster a dive. Shortly after, Anelka blazed over from 8 yards. For all our huff, it didn’t take long for Chelsea to show that they had another gear.
The game fizzled out without any more drama, Arsenal slumped to their second defeat in a week and raised the white flag of surrender on the third trophy of the season.
Yes, there was some fight and the boys put a lot of effort in but when push came to shove, we just lacked the quality Chelsea had in abundance. Did it need to be this way? No, and that’s why the result hurt so much. People can talk about the overall lack of activity in the transfer market this winter, the fallacy there are no players to buy or point the the fact we were very close … but when all is said and done, we had a transfer kitty bigger than most teams in Europe and instead of being proactive, we sat on our hands until the last day and came up with nothing.
We’ve flunked all 4 big game tests so far this season. That tells a story. We’re the third best team in the league. Well, we hope we are. Can Wenger change that? Well, if he carries on with this project, no.
I don’t want to hear that expectations were low, so this shouldn’t be a problem. It’s a major problem. If the fans can see the weaknesses and the management can’t, there is a huge problem.
A question for the board.
Do we want Arsenal PLC to be a vehicle to deliver trophies or are we happy to just generate a nice profit every summer?
For those who are waiting for the day we pay off the debt in the naïve hope everything will be ok then… think again… paying the debt off only increases the share value, helping to line the pockets of the few. Then someone buys the club and the fans are back to square one… looking down the barrel of another 20 years of paying off debt.
I don’t really know what else to say that hasn’t been said a thousand times before? We lack two or three quality players. We lack a plan B and a management team who believe in tactics. We have too many players who aren’t good enough and outside of the first 11 we’re really short of ‘now’ quality. We’ve got a goalkeeper who looks like he’s just been told a Chinese firing squad are waiting for him in the dressing room, we’ve got a player on £60k a week who looks like he’s never played football, a left back whose ability is actually regressing before our eyes and we don’t have a proper striker outside of the most injured player in history.
Our coach only cares about two trophies he can’t equip his squad to compete for. At any other top club in Europe, his nonchalant attitude to domestic traditions and winning in general wouldn’t be tolerated. This is sport. If you’re not in it to win it, take a job upstairs. I don’t care about his agenda or what he deems to the be the right way.
His stance is a bit like that of Don Corleone’s in the God Father. The Don didn’t want to move into the drugs trade as he deemed it a ‘dirty business’. Wenger sees spending money in the same way, yet misses the flaw in his argument. Luring other clubs teenagers to Arsenal with the offer of huge wages before they sign a pro contract with the club that schooled them is equally immoral. Preaching values in a valueless industry that you’re a part of is futile. It’s growing tiresome.
He wont change, he doesn’t have it in him anymore. He’s lost that adaptable edge that brought him so much early success. After disrespecting the FA Cup, telling us the Carling Cup doesn’t count as a trophy and failing to sign any players because of his vision, I can’t help but think Wenger deserved today. It should be a reality check. It won’t be though. It’ll just make him more resolute.
See, the trouble is, I can wait for him to leave… will Cesc, Arshavin and Robin Van Persie? I hope for the next managers sake they do.
Have great day. I’m in West London. Yippee. Just what I need.