Only Arsenal could take the lead in the 98th minute and not win the game.
Only Arsenal could be 4-0 up with 22 minutes to play and draw 4-4.
Only Arsenal could be 2-0 up at halftime at home to their greatest rivals and lose 3-2.
Yes folks, that is the team Wenger has assembled this season, the team five years in the making and the product of his infamous youth policy – sublimely talented but with no backbone, leadership or spirit.
All we had to do was hold out for a minute more, but what happened when the ball came near our box? Panic. At a time when wise old heads were needed to secure the three points, where were they? Oh hang on, we don’t employ any.
What the hell are you doing you tool, he's going nowhere!
So instead us helpless supporters had to watch in agony as a terrified Song first gave away a free kick on the edge of the box with a rash challenge and then the headless Eboue clumsily bundled Lucas over for the penalty seconds later.
Nobody around me was surprised. Distraught, but not surprised.
It would have been a surprise if Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City or even Spurs had done that. But not Arsene’s chokers.
Wenger has predictably moaned about the penalty decision and the amount of injury time to deflect attention from the fact that for 98 minutes his apathetic team produced another toothless performance undeserving of the three points anyway.
Koscielny hit the bar, van Persie had a one on one saved and… er, that was all we created until the penalty. Bear in mind this was against a back four containing two 18 year old full backs with three appearances between them and deprived of their rock at the back Carragher for most of the second half. Yet still we couldn’t penetrate.
Here is what annoys me most about the whole day though. When RVP slotted home the pen (credit to him for showing such composure by the way) I jumped on my mates around me and we celebrated wildly – yes, we’re still in the title race! I looked up after a few seconds and saw van Persie celebrating in front of us by the corner flag, shirt off, fists pumping, giving it the old “Come On!”
But none of the other players joined him in celebration. Didn’t they care? Didn’t they believe they could still catch United? Why wasn’t the delirium in the stands being echoed by our players on the pitch? They should all have been leaping on van Persie and celebrating with us, showing that they still believed.
Later that evening I watched Match of the Day 2 and only Fabregas went to RVP. He smiled politely as if he’d just been asked for an autograph and jogged over to Robin for an obligatory hug. Then I noticed the reaction to Liverpool’s penalty. Watch the highlights at the top of this post and from the angle behind the goal you will see at least six Liverpool players reacting with unbridled joy and celebration at Kuyt’s goal, punching the air and screaming in delight. They all to a man join Kuyt in celebrating ecstatically in front of the travelling Scousers. Compare that to our reaction from the same angle when we score. From the respective celebrations one might be forgiven for thinking Liverpool had won the title and we had won a pre-season friendly.
Bottom line – our players didn’t give a shit. It didn’t mean enough to them.
Look at the evidence. They played the game with no verve, tempo or drive. Were they busting a gut to win this match? I looked to Fabregas to gee the boys up or at least lead by example, but he had a shocking game and looked like he was thinking about which house to buy near the Barcelona training ground this summer.
Only Wenger seemed to care and he showed his grief at the end by complaining to poor Dalglish and getting a deserved mouthful. Show some grace in (what felt like a) defeat for once please Wenger. It was a penalty and the ref was right to add on the extra time at the end. Take some responsibility yourself for not motivating our players properly and sending out a team for the third successive home game which either a) doesn’t care enough to produce a good performance, or b) doesn’t have the bottle to produce a good performance under pressure. Whichever it is, the responsibility lies with Wenger.
Until he changes his failed policy we will continue having to watch under-motivated, over-paid chokers let us fans down again and again and again…
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