Early kick offs two weeks in a row. Honestly, can’t believe I had to wake to a draw with a team sponsored by Flamingo World.
We heavily rotated, and to be honest, I don’t think I’m as down beat about the game as everyone else. I think we played some exciting football in patches. But, once again, the game was decided by a keeper on form and a strike force that can’t always cut the mustard.
Jakupovic, the Hull City back up keeper, was on fire. He made a few really terrific saves that kept his team afloat. One of his finest arrived from a Joel Campbell freekick, he changed direction and palmed the shot onto the post, such a shame that the ball dropped to Flamini who did as you’d generally expect and missed the target.
We had 24 attempts at goal, 11 on target and we still couldn’t find the net. You can sit there and curse the keeping gods for anointing saviours at The Emirates every other week, but look, you need to focus on the players finishing skills. The keeper made maybe three really good saves, the rest were kind of standard.
Iwobi dragging his shot wide from 10 yards, Theo, Giroud and Welbeck striking too close to the keeper from good angles, Chamberlain slapping at a perfectly cushioned header. Keepers look as good as a striker allows them to look. We specialise in making keepers look like worldies…
The bigger concern for me in the second half was that when we brought on the back up, it didn’t really work. Alexis really is out of sorts. He failed to impact the game in the way you’d hope a well rested goal machine could. His touch isn’t there, his tricks and flicks lack confidence and his finishing is woeful.
As for Giroud, 6 games without a goal? Not great in the home stretch…
Credit to Hull, they nearly suckered us at the end with their one break on goal. Huddlestone hoofed with some style, Aluko picked it up, made space, but could only hit the ball right at Ospina (only place he was likely to save it).
We huffed around a bit, broke our record for the most shots without a goal this season and slumped to a replay in Hull.
That our second string couldn’t beat a Championship team at home and our superstars couldn’t rescue them. However, put in context, we dominated, had a whole bunch of shots but lacked the finish. I don’t think the performance was terrible, however, the result was.
I thought Elneny had a very composed games. He likes to touch the ball, he has a great range of passing, he can make runs and he looks composed. Bit odd that we’d start with him and Flamini against Hull, but great he put in a shift.
I also thought we saw another positive game from Iwobi. He looks extremely confident on the ball, he’s always ferriting for space, he has great vision and he’s not afraid of the moment. I was also warmed by Callum Chambers moving forward. His delivery from out wide is really good and he’s starting to build out his confidence on the ball. My thing with him is he usually looks defeated by the occassion. Not the last few games.
Theo Walcott just doesn’t have the bite, does he? He has all the ingredients to be dangerous, but he never looks like he wants it enough. There’s so little hustle to his game. He had a couple of shots, outside that, there’s very little to his game. Chamberlain was pretty poor as well. Neither are showing us the character you want to see in the games like this. These guys are athletes, are they competitors? Jury is still out.
Had basically nothing to do all game and still came out for a corner to punch without actually looking at the ball. He’s a calamity waiting to happen. We need to sign a proper back up in the summer. Not Chezzer who has conceded 17 goals in the CL alone. Some young upstart who can challenge Cech in a couple of seasons time. We should take a leaf out of Stoke’s book. They signed Butland and made him fight for his dinner. Now look at him, absolutely flying.
Barcelona in the Champions League. Firstly, they’ll run us ragged. Secondly, if we do play a tight defensive game, we’ll likely have one or two chances. We couldn’t score with 24 today. Odds of us making something happen are slim, but hey, stranger things have happened, right?
I just hope it’s not a walloping. Not sure our title chances could cope with that.
Right, that’s me done. Have a stunning Saturday night.