Morning all, Alex here.
I couldn’t make last nights game as I had food poisoning brought about by some Essex oysters I ate in a French restaurant. Cos that’s the kinda fancy, nonconformist guy I am.
Needless to say the last 24 hours have been pretty hellish and serve as a perfect analogy for last nights game.
Sure we all enjoyed the oysters and free bread which was the first half, but we should have suspected that it was all just a ruse, a way of drawing us in so that God could do a shit on our collective heads come full time.
I’ve honestly run out of pejoratives to lambast this team with. We covered all of Arsenal’s shalackings and ridiculous comebacks in a post earlier in the season; here’s another one to add to the list.
Is it made worse by the fact that we were basically playing the third best club in Belgium’s B team at home? Probably.
The team line up looked fairly elementary, though I did wonder about starting Alexis again in what was expected to be a walk in the park. We started well offensively. As usual, everything exciting was coming through the Chilean with Welbeck and Ox combining well with him.
It was Alexis who had a hand in all 3 of our goals, combining with Welbeck for the penalty and then taking the piss out of Anderlecht and their ‘wall’ for the second. The third was as a result of his harrying which the Ox was able to capitalise on. However despite his heroic efforts it wasn’t enough to stop a vintage Arsenal self-implosion.
I can’t be arsed to go into huge detail. Yes we were worse when Arteta went off, but it’s not like we were completely solid when he was on the pitch. Defensively we looked rubbish all night. Having said that, I thought Monreal was playing well until he gave away the penalty. Shows what I know.
What’s more frustrating, and sorry to sound like a broken record here, was the tactical naivety on display. When your manager is getting out thought by Paul Merson, you know you are in trouble. Exactly what instruction does he give to the players from the touchline? Does he know he’s allowed to talk to them during the game? At 3-2 he barely moved from his seat, like an ageing general too fatigued and war weary to try and stem the tide.
His substitutions lost us the game. Ramsey and Cazorla were both having stinkers so naturally they were left on to work out their issues.
Ramsey in particular put in the Stephen Gerrard of all performances, trying to win the game singlehandedly to satisfy his own ego. This was perfectly typified by his free kick late on which made it to the seats in club level. As @yankeegunner said at the time, exactly what about Ramsey’s performance last night merited him taking that free kick? His lack of discipline in the final 20 mins meant there was a massive hole in front of our defence.
Not to pin it all on his shoulders. Ramsey is a quality player and a model professional but he’s still young. What he needs is a more a senior player, or I don’t know the manager, giving him some instructions when he isn’t playing well.
After the match, Arsene continued his assault on the PR industry with some absolute gems:
“At 3-0 we thought the job was done and it was a combination of switching off and fatigue as well.”
Switching off? If only we could identify someone who could take responsibility for keeping the player’s minds focused. Gunnersaurus?
As for the fatigue, well when you insist on beasting the same 14 players and don’t make any substitutions until 70 minute what do you expect?
Needless to say, unless we can iron out all defensive faults that Arsene’s teams have developed over the last 8 years, we will qualify from the group in second place and get dumped out in the last 16. Happy days.
Right that’s me done. I don’t think my fever induced brain can handle any more of this.
You can follow me on twitter @aldo_doel x
Ps when we do build a statue of Alexis outside the Emirates, I think we should inscribe ‘Sorry’ underneath it