Fabulous team performance, but 11 points from 24 takes its toll on expectations

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Well, well, well…

Arsenal put in quite the performance in one of the games of the year!

Something clearly happens when Conte comes to town because Wenger consistently finds a way to stump him. Last night was no different and had it not been for a pretty shoddy penalty decision, he might have walked away with the three points.

So many great performances out there. Mesut Ozil stole the show, this season, morphing into the big game player we all hoped he’d be when we bought him. He didn’t shirk responsibility, he drove the game forward and he kept Chelsea guessing with what he was going to do next.

The deadlock took a while to break, but not because of a lack of chances from both teams. It’s not often you see a player hit both posts, but Sanchez managed it when Courtois tipped his shot onto the right post, watching it roll along the line to clatter the left post. Unreal bad lack.

Petr Cech wasn’t to be outclassed with the saves. He had a powerful game, closing down angles and doing particularly well in the second half to deal with a Moratta shot and tricky Alonso header within a 20-second burst.

The breakthrough came from Jack Wilshere, he anticipated a loose ball in the box and crashed home his high finish in off the post. A fantastic moment, telling to watch the huge bundle of players all wanting to celebrate the big goal.

As is standard Arsenal, it didn’t take long to give away our lead. Bellerin kicked the underside of Hazard’s boot, the Belgian collapsed unnaturally and won the spot kick. You wonder how much Wenger’s conspiracy theories this week helped ease that decision over the line. Regardless, this idea that any sort of contact is enough to down a player in the box is wrong, Hazard is a powerhouse when he fancies it, and he should be punished. Anyway, Cech obviously didn’t save it and the teams drew level.

The lead went over to Chelsea next, a wonderful Willian crossfield ball found Zappacosta, the Italian managed to wriggle away from AMN, he cut a low hard cross into the 6-yard box where Alonso had shaken off Mutafi to clip home. Gutting. Really poor from the defence, and a shame for AMN who’d been having a terrific game in an unfamiliar role.

The game wasn’t over though, Arsenal fought to the last and landed their just rewards when Danny W didn’t quite make a header, the ball bounced out to Bellerin who rifled home a half-volley across Courtois to make it 2-2.

Chelsea still found time to hit the bar, but the game finished a point apiece.

So what did we learn?

Defence

Well, our defence doesn’t have a lot of depth to it. Calum Chambers, Rob Holding and Mustafi are not quite the full package yet, but hey, they are really fucking young and two of them are very green to professional football. Chelsea had a few really good chances that you kind of winced at defensively, but look, only one of the goals was an error and that came from our most expensive defensive signing ever. Also worth noting that you don’t exactly get a lot of protection from Jack and Xhaka. Also also, Cech can’t save penalties, but he can have a great game like last night. Some vital saves.

AMN

This kid is absolute mustard. Calm on the ball, great with both feet, electric moving forward and pretty damn skilful. I’d have him in the middle playing next to the very tired looking Xhaka. Imagine a midfield trio of Ramsey, AMN and Jack? It’d be pretty exciting if you ask me. Regardless of the mistake for the goal, he still did a very good job in an unfamiliar position.

Ozil

It’s great to see him playing so well against big teams, it’s a little sad that it’s against the backdrop of him being out of contract. He looks like he’s playing his way into the hearts of scouts all over Europe. I’ve no doubt he’d still like to stay at Arsenal, but if someone shinier comes in, it’ll be tough to keep him because he’s on a different level at the moment. Simply unstoppable. Fabulous performance from the German.

Jack

He’s back from the knackers yard. He turned up yesterday, played a crucial role, and scored a goal. Worth noting that he’s played an awful lot over the past month, might be worth giving him a break. He’s gone from some real famine, to that feast the kids ate in Jurassic Park after escaping t-rex. Give him a breather, preserve him, and let’s try and enjoy a great 5 months niggle free. Brilliant to see him back, the team feels super aggressive with him in the fold.

The refs

I thought the decision was pernickety at best, total fucking garbage at worst. VAR would allow him to take another look and see a player who regularly fakes impact, fall to the floor and grab the wrong ankle. Really pathetic that there’s even a debate over it. Strong men don’t fall down under such deft contact, it’s such a shame we’ve lost 4 points in 2 days for avoidable decisions. I will say though… Wenger needs to calm down on the conspiracy theories, you don’t want the refs out to get us, and that does happen. IT MIGHT BE HAPPENING NOW.

Lacazette

Another nearly game for the Frenchman. He’s in a lot of good positions, but he’s either forcing world-classs saves or not quite at the races. He’s in the game though, and that’s important. Not many players can do it before Christmas, so hopefully once he scores one, he’ll get back to that Ligue 1 form and start making the difference a little more often.

The result

In isolation, it’s a good 1 point. Big picture, it’s a bit of a disaster. 11 points from a potential 24. That’s not helping us. It gives Spurs the chance to open up a 4 point gap and leaves us 5 points off 4th. I’m not saying we’re out the running for top 4, but we really need to start winning some games and getting back on a run.

Wenger will come out of this smelling of glorious failure, we’ll go along with it, but is chasing Liverpool and Spurs for 4th the extent of our dreams?

 

313 Responses to “Fabulous team performance, but 11 points from 24 takes its toll on expectations”

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  1. follow the money

    Well I got banned at Arseblog for pointing out that Wenger claimed he saw the penalties last two games perfectly but when asked about Jack Wheelchairs dive he smirks and says “I didn’t see it.” Reallly. He is laughable. On ESPN FC they were laughing at Wenger and his conspiracy theories and wondering if we are like Bournemouth now, a lower table team, reduced to complaining about how the top clubs get all the decisions.

    Look, there’s two ways of looking at the world when things don’t go your way. You can look without, at other people and circumstances to blame, make excuses for your own shortcomings, or you can look within, with courage humility and clarity and honestly asses what you could have done better, learn something, adapt and adjust and properly prepare for the future and go into it with true optimism and belief. We all know which method wenger chooses. It’s a recipe for losing. It’s infected the entire team.

    Just look at the outside factors that helped Wenger win the league early in his career. He inherited a world class defense from Graham. He had the good fortune of being French and having a line to the greatest generation of France players. At that time there were only two teams battling for the title, us and UTD. He had nothing to do with any of these things. He was just lucky. Look at what’s happened since he doesn’t benefit from these factors, and ever since there’s been 4-6 teams fighting for the title.

    He’s a fraud. He’s a smug, arrogant elitist. He looks down his nose at everyone else in football. He is thoroughly repugnant, and I can’t wait to see him go.

  2. Rambo Ramsey

    Tony, again you’re thinking with your heart. With Wilshere, I know how this story ends. So do you and the rest who are hoping beyond hope that everything clicks for local lad Jackie so that he can go on to be an Arsenal great.

    Well it won’t happen. We’ve seen it Diaby, we’ve seen it with Rosicky. Wilshere will soon damage himself and spend months in surgery and rehab. On and on it goes.

    Even if against all likelihood he manages to stay fit, you need to ask yourself whether he’s worth keeping. For me, its a massive no. Xhaka, Ramsey, Wilshere-doesn’t matter which one it is, they all have too many flaws in their game.

    If you truly want Arsenal to go the next level, you cannot keep players like this in the team. Emo thinking doesn’t help you in competitive sport, ruthlessness and ambition do.

    Its Arsenal’s obsession with dumbfuck loyalties, values and ‘Great stories’ that’s holding us back.

    No other top team operates like this, none.

  3. Pierre

    Tony
    “Come over the the dark side, Pierre, it’s not as bad as you think.”

    No, you’re all right.

    I prefer to have my own mind and be in a position where I can give an honest opinion..
    If we play shit, I’ll say it.
    If Wenger messes up.. I’ll say it.
    If the defence is shit.. I’ll say it
    If we play well.. I’ll say it
    If a player plays well.. I’ll say it
    If Wenger makes a good decision.. I’ll say it.
    Etc etc

    You should try it some time instead of sucking up to anti Wenger obsessives who repeat the same old rhetoric day after day.

  4. raptora

    Don: “They were all slagging us for not wasting £70m on Morata too in the summer”

    I’d take Morata over Lacazette. He is no Diego Costa and he’s making a big amount of misses but to get in those good situations you’ve probably done something well beforehand. He is tall, great in the air already scored a big amount of goals with his head, can combine well and is always in the right place. He will keep bagging goals in. No Diego Costa as I said, but he has strong traits in his game. Lukaku has them too. Lacazette is a jack of all trades, not great at anything. Biggest difference for me is that at least the other two have an aerial presence which is so important for winning that first ball, starting an attack, getting on the end of crosses in offense or defense. Morata can also make a chance for himself. I am not very happy with Lacazette so far. Probably there is a player in there but for this amount of money and profile you’d expect him to make the difference game in, game out. He hasn’t done that, far from it. Probably he’s just no good for our very own Arsenal but could fit in well in another team.

  5. raptora

    Realistically we paid for Lacazette around the money we did for Ozil and Alexis when you add inflation. Ozil has it’s up and downs but everyone knows that when he fancies it he is a top force and Alexis has been our best player since he joined us. Lacazette just doesn’t look to be anywhere close as a quality to those two. His impact is so limited in so many cases. Even Giroud can bring in something that we can gain benefits of. Lacazette rarely does.

  6. Pierre

    Sometimes the Wenger obsessives let their obsession get the better of them.

    Easy to wind em up…

    Say something positive about the club or an Arsenal player and they relate it all to Wenger and being an AKB.

    The further we progress in the cup competitions the more frustrated they become.
    And for The Arsenal to lift ANOTHER trophy this season will be too much for them..
    In their little world it’s OK for jose and man u to win and celebrate winning the league cup and Europa cup but if /when we win it they will dismiss it as being a worthless cup.

  7. Park Chu-young's left testicle

    Arsene Anonymous meeting…

    ‘Hello, my name is Pierre and I have been addicted to Arsene Wenger for approximately 22 years.’

    ‘Hello Pierre. Congratulations you have just made the biggest step in your recovery. My name is Park Chu-young’s left testicle and I have been clean for approximately five seasons. We all know how you feel because we have all been there.’

  8. Pierre

    Raptora
    I think lacazette is adding a lot to the side going forward and he is also pretty good at closing down and nicking the ball off defenders.
    He is, However, suffering from a lacaconfidence and is getting frustrated in front of goal plus he has been a little Unlucky but I still think he will end up with 20+ goals.
    In my opinion, Morata is a very good striker and is a more all round striker than Lacazette, very good in the air but again is struggling in front of goal, similar to lacazette. I rate him.

    Lets not go down the road of wanting giroud starting up top.
    If nothing else, surely we have learnt that by playing giroud up top our attacking play suffers.

  9. useroz

    “…interesting segment on football today showing points difference between last season and this season.
    we are 8 points worse off than we were this time last season.
    we’ve regressed, but this is old news”

    Did you forget about the Wenger ‘values’? That would worth a good 10 pts so in reality we are 2 pts better and thus progressed, at least in the eyes of Wenger/ SK/ and importantly the AKBs…

  10. Emiratesstroller

    Gooner

    You make statements as though Pochettino has won something. What exactly
    have Spurs achieved under him?