Today I watched Spurs dominate Man Utd but lose. Spurs had 57% possession, 18 shots to United’s six and won the corner count 7-3. It was a lucky result for Sir Alex and a lucky result for us Gooners.
Yesterday I watched Liverpool dominate Arsenal but lose. Liverpool had 54% possession, 12 shots to Arsenal’s 10 and won the corner count 13-0. It was a lucky result for Wenger and a lucky result for us Gooners.
The luckiest result of all though was actually last June when Abramovich hired Andre Villas Boas. He has so badly mismanaged a team nailed-on for a top four spot that they are in free-fall and didn’t even put up a fight against West Brom yesterday. That we now have a good chance of Champions League football is as much down to AVB as it is to our own efforts.
I was hopeful that we would really push on after the tremendous win over Spurs, but the performance at Anfield was truly horrific. I hate to be negative, but after the euphoria of van Persie’s winner had subsided I was left wondering how we managed to put in such an abject display.
Our defending was once again shocking. There were so many basic errors, especially in the first half, that are occuring so often this season it’s becoming an unfunny joke. Koscielny has been our best defender this term but his own goal summed up our lack of composure and competence at the back. Only the brilliance of Szczesny kept us in the game and he was rightly lauded for his performance.
One of our few decent attacks sees RVP head us level
Going forward wasn’t much better. Apart from our goals, we had two chances in the whole match. Theo forced a good save from Reina early on and then should have done better with a side-footed effort in the second half which the keeper kicked away.
Speaking of Walcott, I mentioned last week that his performances perfectly mirror Arsenal’s because he is so inconsistent. Well, after being treated to a brilliant 45 minutes from ‘Vibrant Theo’ last week, we had the displeasure of witnessing the return of ‘Clueless Theo’ at Anfield. I don’t want to single him out because everyone except Szczesny and van Persie were poor, but his failure to capitalise on his Spurs performance frustrated me immensely.
As did the team’s failure to repeat the good things they did last Sunday. Where was the pressing game that was so effective in the second half last week? Only one team was closing down their opponents with any sort of vigour and it wasn’t Arsenal. Liverpool played as though they wanted it more than us and that’s unacceptable.
Don’t get me wrong, I am chuffed we got the three points and it’s about time we had some luck. I am being critical because I can see that if we play like that in the remaining eleven games we won’t get enough points to hold off Chelsea, never mind take advantage of Spurs’ crumbling confidence.
So we find ourselves in a great position thanks to the misfortune and ineptitude of our rivals. I don’t think I’m taking anything away from us here — we’ve only really played well twice since Christmas (against Blackburn and Spurs) and if it wasn’t for the goals of van Persie we’d be about 11th. A fantastic opportunity has fallen into our laps and we must shake off this inconsistency and cut out the silly mistakes before Chelsea get their act together.
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