I don’t know why I’m not hugely deflated after yesterday’s result. I thought I would be, but I guess maybe you’re slightly influenced by the people around you and everyone had similar conclusions… we’re not quite good enough and pound for pound and Everton are a really good side.
In the end, the game was split equally because we lacked a world class finisher up front. I’m not saying Giroud can’t become that world class finisher next year, because he could, everyone thought Drogba was donkey after his first season. However, right now, he’s just not up to the job. His two skewed chances… the first in the first half when Aaron Ramsey whipped a ball into the box that Giroud rifled wide… the second in the second half when he crafted himself some space by blazed over… defined the game for me.
Last season, we had a player who didn’t just convert the chances, he’d convert the half chances. That’s what makes the difference in the games where quality wise, there’s not a whole lot in it.
Game wise, the first half was fairly even split. Everton controlled proceedings for the opening 20 minutes. Pienaar timed a perfect run through the heart of our defence and fired over when it seemed easier to hit the target. The game turned into a bit of a midfield choke-a-thon after that. Everton tried to bully us. Fellaini the main culprit. He seemed to bulldoze anyone who stepped near his turning zone (which is about a two mile radius). The referee was more interested in letting the play carry on, which I’m fine with… I just wish there was some sort of consistency with them. Gibson was the first to pick up a booking, he then made another clumsy foul minutes later and avoided a red.
Say what you want about football being a mans game… simple fact is it’s not in the Premier League… and Moyes can seriously do one on the ‘it’s how we do it up norf nonsense’. It’s how we do it over Hackney Marshes. Being a thug isn’t the preserve of the north my friend. Have you not seen a Danny Dyer film?
Everton had a promising chance when Anichebe burst through on goal, the ball was blocked and nearly found it’s way past our keeper but he pounced to snuff out the danger. Barkley, the impressive England under 21 also let off a solid shoot that Szecseny did well to get down to.
We had a couple of good chances, the Giroud miss I spoke about earlier, then later on, Cazorla found himself bearing down on goal after some good work from Jack, but his shot was well blocked.
Jack Wilshere looked heavy legged to me. I have no idea why the manager, after suggesting he’d brought Jack too early opted to play him in a tough game. Can you imagine if he’d picked up an injury? Half time saw some handbags over some sprayed water. If I’d had WIFI I’d have found that out. As I didn’t, I’m just learning this morning of the half time horrors.
The second half was mostly ours. We kicked our game up into a different gear pretty early on. We just lacked the finish.
We brought off Theo Walcott who was poor again and we took off Jack Wilshere. The replacements were Chamberlain who moved into the middle and Podolski who slipped out wide. They made a difference. There was a renewed energy, but not the break through we hoped for. Chamberlain had a chance to blast home when on goal, he opted for cutting it across goal, giving Coleman the chance to clear. Giroud blasted over after being given a chance by Cazorla. The final miss came from Arteta who found himself in nose bleed territory… instead of shooting, he cut back and killed his chance.
The final score was 0-0. It was an intense battle, we just lacked the quality to take the match. It’s not a knock out blow by any means. It just means that the United game now plays even greater significance on our season. We have to beat them. We have to win the rest of our games. It’s going to be a tough run in and it’s going to require better finishing. The point of yesterday was it was a must not lose. We didn’t lose. We maintain our unbeaten run, we’ve just got to really pull something out the bag for our run in.
Conclusions from the game were that we defended really well as a team. I thought the keeper had a solid performance. His kicking was up to scratch and he did all the basics well. The two centre backs dealt with the aerial onslaught well. Koscielny found himself wedged between Fellaini and Anichebe for an aerial ball that he won. Amazing how slight he was in comparison.
I thought Aaron Ramsey had a good game. He covered lots of ground, he kept going until the end. If there was a trophy for running, he’d have won it for last night. It seems there is more appreciation for Ramsey outside Arsenal. Sure, he makes some bad passes, but so did Gilberto. I’m not saying they’re the same player, but people need to recognise the job he’s doing in midfield. They need to recognise that he’s not a Cesc Fabregas. He’s more of a Flamini in the making.
Jack Wilshere looked tired to me. I think we should have started with Rosicky. As for Theo, well, everyone wanted him back in the side… and he created nothing all game. At least you can always count on Gervinho to miss 3-5 sitters again because he gets himself into the mixing pot. Theo was anonymous all game. He has a touch of the post-contract-adebayors.
I think if anything was apparent from last night, it’s that you need powerhouse players in your team. We don’t have them. We were roughed up in the first half and we became introverted. No one showed for the ball. No one stood up for themselves. We need more battlers in games like that. We have a habit of static play when things don’t go our way and it happens quite a lot. We need our very own Fellaini. Or Vieira. Or Cabaye. We need someone who can lift the side. Jack is too young to do that on his own.
In the end, we didn’t have the quality to win. It’s as simple as that. A point against Everton isn’t a bad result. They beat City two weeks ago. They’re a good side. We can’t take the ‘this isn’t good enough for Arsenal’ high ground at the moment… because with the team we have out at the moment… it probably is.
We’ve just got to hope there’s a winning reaction at the weekend.