Paint this result in whatever shade of positivity you like, the simple fact is a point away at Everton is not good enough, especially if you take the lead after one minute. Theo Walcott continued to showcase his clinical finishing after doing well to keep the ball under control during a winding run, he passed to Ramsey who slipped it back to to him with a clever reverse pass, Theo then struck the ball into the top corner.
A great way to open the game. The shame of it was that we didn’t build from there. Things went down hill after that… Koscielny picked up a groin injury which has sidelined him for 3 weeks. Vermaelen moved into the centre with Gibbs joining the party.
We didn’t exploit Everton’s need to attack and once again, we showed we’re incapable of holding onto a lead. I’d love to know how many times we’ve squandered an advantage over the last few seasons.
The goal we conceded was born from a catalogue of errors. Firstly Ramsey laid off a terrible pass to Arteta, the Spaniard lost the ball, then Sagna weighed in with a terrible sideways clearance, which was then followed up with Fellaini burying the ball from 20 yards. For me, the keeper should not be beaten from that range. It happens so often though, doesn’t it?
Everton picked up their game and deserved to go one ahead shortly after when Jelavic pulled off a very smart turn to take the ball around Mertesacker, his shot flew over the bar, which was a relief.
Pienaar was causing us problems, thankfully he didn’t have his shooting boots on and thankfully the ref didn’t have his glasses on when Arteta cut him down in the penalty box. A close shave…
Arsenal failed to kick into gear. We struggled with Everton’s heavy handed approach and players like Santi Cazorla looked out of ideas. If the tiny Spaniard doesn’t show up, nor do the team. Giroud went close from a Theo Walcott cross. Cazorla forced a good save from Tim Howard. Outside that, unfortunately, there wasn’t too much to report.
The simple fact is Everton will probably feel more disappointed with the point than Arsenal will.
Best squad quality wise? Are you sure Arsene?
Wenger has performed another PR masterclass. Our ambitions and expectations have shifted downwards again. I’ve read Arsenal fans celebrating a 4 game unbeaten run this morning. People cooing about our mental strength. I’ve seen justification about the result based on how other teams have performed at Goodison.
Simple fact is this. If we want to be seen as contenders, it doesn’t matter what other teams have earned point wise at Everton. We’re Arsenal. A win is the only acceptable result when you’re languishing outside the top 4. I guess that’s the problem though, perhaps we have to forget Wenger’s early season proclamations about the squad. Perhaps we just have to accept that where we’re sitting in the league now is an accurate representation of where we are as a club at the moment. I mean, what sort of team with title ambitions takes off a creative midfielder for Coquelin? Were we trying to secure a point, or was that a serious attempt at chasing the game?
Why is Theo Walcott playing with an injury in the second half? Would he have done that had he known there was top quality there to replace him? We’re going to struggle this season for the same reasons we always struggle. We have no depth outside 13 or 14 players. This in itself causes issues. We have jaded players and we’re only in November. Ferguson usually starts slowly because he rotates the hell out of his squad so he has fresh players for the run in. We don’t rotate because we can’t, so even if by some miracle we look like challenging past December, by the time crunch time arrives, the niggly injuries pile up.
This isn’t a new problem, this is one that’s been hashed and reshashed every season for the last 8 years.
Now this for me is where the £140million wage bill really rankles me. How, in the name of Bergkamp, can we not have a squad with enough depth when we’re shelling out a wage bill 11% short of United’s. To put that into greater perspective, our wage bill is 11% shy of United’s and we don’t have a single player on over £90k a week (We have a manager on £140k). They have, what, 4 or 5 players on well over £100k?
Our problems don’t correlate with the reality of our financial situation.
On the playing side, we’re always going to struggle when we have Aaron Ramsey in the starting line up. He’s not the worst player to ever where an Arsenal shirt. I still have faith there’s a good player in there somewhere. What he’s lacking is confidence. It also seems like he’s lacking a serious amount of coaching. He makes the same mistakes game after game. Wenger will persist though, regardless of how long it takes. Which for me is another reason we never have a team capable of competing. There are always pet projects that are to the detriment of the team. Aaron is this years…
If he comes good in 4 years time, does that prove Arsene right? Not for me. It just proves if you persist at the expense of success, sometimes you’ll have a player you can sell for £15million after one good season. Other times you’ll just end up with a bunch of over paid average players you can’t shift on.
I’m still confident of a top four finish, but we need to find our stride soon, if we don’t, someone is going to take the bull by the horns and hit a purple patch soon. We’re just blessed that no one around us has improved enough to threaten us.
Isn’t that a shameful statement? 4th is secure because weaker clubs haven’t improved?
Anyway… onwards and upwards. We have a point, throw it on the table and let’s take 3 at Swansea this weekend.