I honestly believe we’ve pulled a very good result out of the bag. I think Liverpool will improve vastly on last years league position and I’m sure they’ll take points off the others in the top 4 scrum. You have to remember that we were missing Cesc, Robin and Song and we had players like Diaby who have hardly trained this preseason. We fielded the inexperienced Jack Wilshere, two Premier League debutants and a keeper not fit for purpose.
When you add all that up, it’s surprising we came away with anything!
I was also pleased with the goal we conceded and the overall sloppy performance from Almunia. He was given the captains armband in a weak attempt to instill a bit of confidence… the plan clearly didn’t work and he was typically diabolical all game. He flapped at 3 crosses and he didn’t react quick enough to the N’gog finish. A sad way to end a below average career at Arsenal. I hadn’t heard much about Schwarzer from the people I talk to regarding Arsenal but yesterday I was told we’ll secure his signature within the next ten days.
Not one to spread rumours, but him not being fit for Fulham’s first game has about as much credibility as my jokes. I heard we’re looking at 1-2 centre backs and the preference is British. Here’s hoping! When Wenger says that people aren’t selling, he’s not lying. Apparently there is a lot of truth in the Mertesacker, Jones and Jagielka stories.
We want good players but we’re not after them for silly money. If we bought Jagielka for £17million off the back of that serious injury and he broke down Robin style I think people would be calling for Wenger’s head. I guess it’s a similar story with Mertesacker, his height and presence is appealing, but the guy is error prone. If we bought him for £20million and he flopped, it’d be embarrassing.
The interesting thing about all this is that the only clubs in Europe with any money are City, Arsenal and the German clubs. Why aren’t teams selling? It should be a buyers market. Or is it like the stagnating housing market in the UK at the moment? People can’t buy because sellers have unrealistic price expectations?
I feel like I’m making excuses for Wenger here. The one thing I find incredibly incompetent is that we’ve taken so long to secure a new keeper. There is no excuse on that front and in a league that could be decided by a point, I find it maddening that we’ve already dropped two because of a keeping error.
Anyway, Arsenal dominated the first half possession statistics in embarrassing fashion.
Eboue was marauding through the Liverpool midfield taking any opportunity he could to plunge to the floor and feign injury. The guy is still an embarrassment to the club with his behaviour. Still, the resulting freekicks gave us a few chances, Thomas Vermaelen going closest with a rasping 30 yard striker.
Johnson was the first to test Almunia with a high central shot that was tipped over. The following corner found Ngog who was denied by Clichy on the near post.
Joe Cole was sent off for a very silly challenge on Kozzer. A tackle that saw our French boy stretchered off. Chamakh was being offered no service whatsoever and our key players were given very little chance to express themselves. Liverpool were woeful.
The second saw the Koz come back on with and egg sized lump on his shin for his troubles. People have told me one of the Frenchman’s best attributes is that he’s a fighter and he has the right attitude. He was going to need that with the introduction of Torres. One area of his game he’ll need to work on is his ability to deal with aerial balls. He was beaten by N’gog early in the second half when perhaps he should have done better. All part of the steep learning curve. He looks sharp on the ground and he’s fast.
Our first goal was conceded after a catalogue of errors, N’gog was threaded through and he beat our captain at the near post. At least 5 mistakes were made in the build up to the goal.
1) Clichy had the ball passed through his legs
2) Arshavin made a poor pass
3) Jack fluffed his touch
4) There was no holding midfielder clearing up at the edge of the box
5) Almunia was beaten at his near post by a soft shot in my opinion
Arsenal brought on Theo and Rosicky and we lost Eboue and Jack. I’ve read some criticism of the young Englishman and I think that’s bang out of order. He’s 18, hugely talented and he just started against some of the worlds best midfielders. He deserves patience.
Theo, surprisingly changed up the game. He moved up top and his speed created a bit of a fear factor. He didn’t really do anything too spectacular but the fact we can bring two players of their calibre off the bench is very encouraging. Theo bent a freekick around the wall only to be denied by a tidy Reina save. Wenger should take note of how well other players took freekicks today.
Rosicky swept into the box off the back off the back of a lovely one two move with Arshavin, his shot impressively tipped over by Reina.
RvP managed to keep an Arshavin back post cross in, but Theo couldn’t capitalise on some Reina indecisiveness.
In the 89th minute, Rosicky floated an average cross into the box, Reina squinting in the sun didn’t come for the ball allowing Chamakh to nip in front of him and get a touch that hit the post, the ball came straight back at Reina who could do nothing other than bundle the ball into his own net.
What is it with Spanish keepers?
The game could have been killed off when Theo broke into the box with three players on hand to slot the ball home, instead of playing the ball to feet, he decided to go back post with a floated chip. Typical poor decision making from Theo. The ball went up the other end and Kuyt was dispossessed with a kick to the nuts by Kozzer. He picked up a his first yellow. Gerrard had a freekick 25 yards out that was saved by Almunia.
Koz still had time to make his mark on the game when he handled the ball and received a debut red card. Am I upset? No way! He’s one of the boys now!
After 5 painful minutes of injury time, 20 players finished the game and a point was shared.
Now we have a whole bunch of easy games coming up, we’ve got a full squad of players to choose from (Bar Rambo who is now running) and we’ll hopefully have a new goalkeeper and a centre back to get excited about.
Today wasn’t perfect, but remember, we’re not 100% fit, we’re missing key players and we don’t have a proper keeper.
Arsenal know what they have to do to make the league their own this year and I truly believe we’re going to bolster. Keep the faith for two more weeks Gooners. I’m pre-empting a great squad and I have no doubt we’ll be up there come this end of the season.
Could this be our year?
Let us know in the comments section!
Update: Track this seasons players ratings through google!
|Robin van Persie||6|
P.S. Check out the new site from the boys over at the Gunning Hawk, it’s taken them all summer and it launched over the weekend..