Written by Harry
As the sun broke the Saturday morning clouds across the Capital, West Ham were taking a shock half time lead against Man united, even better was the early team news filtering through, Theo van nasregas was fit and to top that even further Carlito was already on his tenth peroni at the Tavern, as he laid claim to been the first at the meeting point of the largest gathering of AA’ers ever to be assembled.
From around the globe, they dragged their weary bodies, from far and wide, from the sodden plains of Norwich, the far reaches of Denmark and even from the darkest depths of Devon. AAer’s are a motley crew ushered to the cause by the cries of Peaches the dark raven haired warrior princess, who’s renowned for strict discipline and persuasive powers……
The list of attendees was long, Peaches stood firm and assertive as she introduced her trusty bloggers, London, Mickydidit, 26may,Rasp, Carlito, GIE, Evonne, Big Radders, Chary, SharkeySure and yours truly completed the lineup……..
Ok, long intro, but there isnt much to say on the match to be honest, so just trying to make the report newsworthy………
Before the match, a Highbury legend was remembered, with the tenth anniversary of Rocky Rocastle’s untimely passing…….. How we could have done with him out there today……He is one of my favourites of all time, I remember clearly the day it was announced that Graham had sold him to Leeds, I was devastated, never ever understood that decision…..?
The team line up was ok, Cesc was on what looked a strong bench which included a new addition called Jens Lehmann, a sprightly young German with potential so I have heard, On the pitch was attacking flair aplenty, which nicely wetted the appetite, surely we would put Blackburn to the metaphorical sword….?
As the sun faded across the skies of London, West Hams bubble well and truly burst, Arsenal seemed in a positive mood but somehow started their game in 2nd gear and rarely ventured out of it, only occasionally stepping into a higher gear, but usually slipping back, Arsenal just couldn’t get the pace of the game going, nor could the crowd, Premiership beckons.. you’d have thought this was a meaningless mid table stroll about….
For me, Arshavin looked sharp and was up for it, Theo also looked liked he would be pivotal….jack was his usual tenacious terrier like…. Robin showed good touches, as Nasri looked to dictate play…BUt all that said the team just wasnt gelling, it lacked zip and spark, passing was slow and showed little imagination…
A bang on his head saw Nasri concussed momentarily, he looked groggy and took an age to get back into the game; Arsenal also kept banging their heads against the Blackburn wall and looked devoid of ideas……
Chances came and went, they were never really going to test robinson, the closest we got in the 1st half was when a ball back across the area went straight to young Jack, he tried to steer it in, but it woefully went wide, imagine the pelters Bendtner would have got for that one……
Almunia was having a very mixed bag, as ironic cheers greeted any catches, not helpful really? And when he walked towards the clock end at the start of the 2nd half, he looked a beaten and broken man, rarely have I seen such a poor round of applause for an Arsenal keeper, it was shocking and in my opinion it was out of order, when will fans learn that they need to get behind their team?
With the team lacking a creative edge and the game into the final third, Wenger brought on Cesc, but he replaced Arshavin who for me was the best player on the pitch, he was even tracking back, making a truly memorable challenge in the 1st half, why? I was dumbfounded, the little russian wont be here next season thats for sure……
Although there was a few daft decisions, Dowd for once was not the centre of attention, early in the 2nd half he had a chance to showed he really hated us as Blackburn claimed for a penalty,the crowd waited for the inevitable penalty but Dowd waved it away, did he forget who the teams were? I was right in front of the incident and it was not a penalty. Dowd even managed to send off N’Zonzi for a two footed challenge on Kozzer, but still we didn’t put them under any serious pressure when down to ten men…(I hate us playing against 10)
Even with Fabregas on, we still stuttered and flattered to deceive, there just seemed a lack of thought and urgency, although we did have a few headed chances in the last few minutes with Bendtner and Robin having chances to win it for us, although to be honest we just didn’t really look like scoring from the start…..
My major gripe, apart from the negative crowd, was the bizarre substitutions, why take our best player in Arshavin off? And then 15mins later Chamakh came on for Walcott, who although was not having his best game, did have that extra gear so now we were without now any real attacking pace….And then to cap it off, Wenger took off Nasri, who had woken from his concussion for Bendtner, whom played out wide again…….
Almunia: Little to do, but still made errors of judgment, doesn’t look safe and has no confidence. 5
Sagna: Good defending, but not his best game and his crossing kept hitting the first man. 6
Kozzer: Had a decent game, solid player, he has a future here. 7
Squillaci: Not a bad game, although he kept trying back passes to almunia which were too short. 6
Clichy: Worked hard in both defensive and offensive play, cannot remember any mistakes of note. 7
Song: Erratic display that saw him booked and lucky to stay on. Not his best display. 6
Wilshere: His first half miss was so embarassing but he worked hard And kept throwing the tackles in, showed more character than senior players around him. 7
Nasri: Started well but was visibly shaken after the blow to the head, never really got in the game, moments of genius though. 6.5
Walcott: Lively on his first start in months, but faded as he didn’t get used properly by the team, should have stayed on. 7
Arshavin: Focussed and determined, played with heart and desire, tried some fancy passes which didnt work but the team didn’t respond by upping their game. 8 MoTM….(I think if he stayed on he would have got us a goal…)
Van Persie: Led the line But needed more support, didnt influence the play enough. 6.5
Subs: Fabregas 5, Chamakh 5, and Bendtner 5……None of them did much, Fabregas sprayed some passes about but didnt add what we were lacking..
Wenger: Poor tactics and you have to question, was there any motivation out there? The substitutions were strange to say at least. 5
The fans: Poor support by most, failed to get behind the team, why come with those voices of doom! 4….
So it’s out of our hands now, but realistically there is 24 points to play for, so it is likely that Man United will lose some points before the end of the season….
But now we have to up our game physically and mentally, I found it amusing that Wenger said we lacked sharpness, so why then substitute your best and sharpest player?
A great day was ruined by a lacklustre and tepid display, I will never call for Wengers head, but he needs to alter his stubborness more often and so do the fans, learn to support and be positive when your team needs you……. I am so frustrated…..
Next up: Blackpool (A)……..That’s a rocky match……