Monday, 21 February 2011
Hands Up Who Didn't See That Coming
After the highs of Wednesday we had to come back to earth with a bump and that was a big bump. The biggest bump since Sam Alladyce fell out of that tree he'd climbed to see if he could see a job from up there. In midweek we beat the best team in the world. Yesterday we weren't even the best team in Leyton.
I'm away from the Sky Box for a few days so had to rely on the computer to watch yesterday's little treat. A small screen and a cameraman suspended from a hot air balloon didn't make it easy viewing. The football didn't help either. So little happened in the first half I'll write all I can remember. Almunia started badly by fumbling a shot. Bendtner's shots were nearer to the corner flags than the goal. Squillaci & Almunia got themselves in a muddle. We passed the ball a lot. We saw another team do that recently didn't we? Miquel looked good and I got abuse from the spelling Nazis as my phone corrected his name to Miguel. That summed up the first half. Twitter was more interested in a misplaced 'g' than a misplaced shot!
Right, we don't want a replay. Anything but a replay so Arsene will do his stuff and we will put this to bed. A step up and the game will be won. An Interpol officer fell off his chair as Rosicky headed us ahead. It was a good ball from Bendtner too. Rosicky's celebration suggested he was as amazed at scoring as we were. It's been a year. Still not playing well but we are leading and have enough on the pitch to see this out. Arsene's 'big guns' waited on the bench to bring experience to proceedings yet nobody stripped off. The manager's subs against Barcelona were inspired yet today nothing. With Squillaci and a debutant in defence we needed to protect them. They had done well but at any moment a lower league chancer could try and dance past them and bury a shot straight through our hapless keeper. Oh! Too late! The lower league chancer has danced and scored!
Now who is to blame? We love to blame someone so here goes! Arsene let the team continue to play poorly with game changing subs resting with their feet up. The two central defenders made pathetic challenges to stop Tehoue although I don't really want to blame them. Miquel had a good debut and the equaliser must not take away from that. It was a massive day for him and he was great. Squillaci is just not very good and sometimes makes me miss Silvestre! So Tehoue has skipped past two men and is now one on one with our keeper. He hits it. He hits it well. He hits it hard. Top corner? Out of reach? No, it's straigt at Almunia. It passes straight through him as if he was a shadow of himself and ripples the net. Little more than we (and they) deserved.
Remember how we felt on Wednesday. That top of the world feeling where people in North London went to work in Arsenal shirts and scarves. Drivers blew their horns at these people to get a wave or a clenched fist in return. We spoke and thought of nothing else. That's how Leyton will be today and good luck to them. That's what football can do. They get a pay day and a cracking day out. We get another fixture that will stretch this squad further.
After 86 minutes the live text feed on Arsenal.com wrote,
'IMPRESSIVE: Arsenal have completed 658 passes this afternoon. Not bad eh?'
Not bad at all if we had completed 3 or 4 more shots on goal. Can we please get over this obsession about possession and passing. Barcelona passed us by yet we won. We did the same yesterday and drew. Passes are important, but unless you convert those passes into goals or even chances, ultimately pointless. A 32 pass move that results in a throw in or a 3 pass move that scores you a goal? I don't want us to change to long ball merchants but people must stop hanging on these stats. They mean nothing.
So not a disaster but not a good day. If you see an Os shirt today give them a toot. That was us last week and we loved it.