Looks like I was wrong again, it seems my early predictions that it would be Arsenal and Man City who vie for the EPL are way off the mark. Embarrassing as that lofty prediction now seems I don’t regret it. As a season ticket holder one of the things that keeps me paying the annual expense is a genuine belief that the good guys could bring the title back to THOF and this preseason was no exception.
I calculated that with the purchases of Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud and the further emergence of The Ox we would have what it takes and so it seemed. For a few weeks the heady smell of silverware polish was in the air; the Liverpool game sent my head spinning but that was short lived as the cold light of day has dawned and the reality of exactly what our team consists of has now come into sharp focus.
It is quite simple, our attack is not potent enough to win the League, it doesn’t function as a unit and it doesn’t have the wherewithal to change. Theo on the right might help, well let’s face it; things up front can’t get much worse.
Unlike the Norwich game, which Wenger claims the team did not take seriously enough, I thought the team selection for Shalke showed exactly how seriously he was taking the game. Ramsey on the right was the key to this for me, the Welshman doesn’t offer much by way of defence but he does offer some, and it was that ability that enabled him to drop back and try to help out against the waves of German attacks.
All went reasonably well in the first half I thought, we were in the game, the BFG was holding things together at the back and there was always the chance that Gervinho might get lucky. But luck is all it was ever going to be; he does not have the talent to be team player and by that I mean he doesn’t have the skill to be able to bring other players into the game; he is so erratic no one knows what he is going to do next, I am not sure he knows himself. A large part of the crowd has turned against him, there were cheers when he went off, not all, but the number is growing and the dissenters are becoming more vocal.
The second half still offered hope even if it was becoming clear to the most blinkered of supporters which was the better team on the pitch. The defence held well and that includes Santos who was up against a very skilful Farfan. Did Shalke score due to his error? No and neither did Norwich, the Brazilian is getting himself back up to match speed and while he is doing so he retains the support of this gooner who can remember how exciting he was before his injury last season.
Shalke finally scored, if the blame has to be pointed at anyone I suppose Vermaelen should catch it; he seemed to nod off for a moment enabling the Germans to get through.
Wenger sent on Gnabry and Arshavin but it was too little too late (pun intended) and for all those who might accidentally rush to elevate our own young German to saviour status, I would point out that it was he who was caught in possession that led to their second goal.
Written by LB