After enduring the previous home league game against the Middle Eastlands crowd from the comfort of the North Bank I anticipated something slightly different this time around. Surely the array of attacking talent that Citeh had been remorselessly acquiring would mean they would not play like a lot of away teams and sit back for a draw from the outset ?
Bereft of two of their more creative additions, gooners must have feared the worse and sadly a defensive approach was favoured with a midfield of De Jong, Y Toure, Barry and Milner with the latter (to my eyes) yet to justify the reputation/hype he had gathered before he joined Citeh.
Having said all that we are well used to “Park the bus” teams and despite the 13 shots(8 on target) we had as opposed to 5 from Citeh, none of which were on target, the onus is on the home team to break down whatever form of defence is presented to us. Mancini was seen ushering his players back whenever they strayed too far forward, showing an approach typical of a Serie A manger who favoured “catenaccio” as his preferred system.
Yes, we hit the post on numerous occasions and the frustrations of a game similar to the CSKA game at the Grove a few seasons back surfaced however perhaps something radically different may have been called for in the last 15 minutes or so – perhaps throw a defender(Djourou maybe?) forward and bombard the Citeh penalty area with shots/crosses? Un-Arsenal like maybe, however it may be because it felt like a goal was imminent, especially in the first half, that it was right to persist with the initial strategy.
Sagna’s late sending off was perplexing. He showed as little composure when being slide tackled by Zabaleta as he did plenty of cool during the Bowyer assaults on him in the previous game at St Andrew’s – he was due a break but it would have preferably been at our choosing, so he misses the next two Cup games and away to West Ham in the league.
Looking back with the benefit of other results perhaps not risking all for a win, meant avoiding defeat against a title rival was worth it with the spuds and The (London)Chavs coming a cropper on their travels.
Sadly the undeserving recipient of the benefits of last night’s results would have raised yet another (not so) wee dram of his finest single malt and smiled all over his whiskey-sodden face.
Written by charybdis1966
Some player ratings courtesy of Big Raddy………
Fabianski. Had nothing to do and did it perfectly. 10
Sagna Crossing poor and a point deducted for the red card 6
Djourou Fine display, covering any defensive mistakes 8
Koscielny Not much to do. Out of position a few times 7
Clichy Good defensively but crossing poor 7.5
Song Bossed the midfield and has sublime skills 9
Cesc Great 1st half. Faded as MC sat deeper 8
JW Same as Fab4. What a prospect 8
Nasri Just couldn’t get in the game. His battle with Richards was great 7
Theo Very involved but kept choosing the wrong option. Needs to try shooting at the near post. 6
RvP Unlucky not to score. A busy night. He is getting there … 8
AA Hardly the impact sub we were hoping for. Must try harder 5
Bendtner Tried harder than Arshavin 6