With fourth spot cemented one wondered if Arsene would put out a strong team or rest a few players. In hindsight I was glad that he picked the strongest team available even though this was a dead rubber, yet it was blatantly clear how much we miss Ramsey.
Another three points gained, stretching our sequence to four wins on the bounce but as a performance, it was pretty flat.
One has to give the Man of The match to Giroud for his goal that won the game and his general overall play for the whole match. (There I have said it) His energy levels are not questionable but I still think we need another striker to compliment him. I am not sure if Podolski is the man as he didn’t impress as much and if you watch him carefully he doesn’t exert himself as much as he could. Monreal IMO is not the standard required at LB but with Gibbs in and out of the team through various injuries we have no other option unless Vermaelen stays.
There’s no easy way to say this – or an easy way to look at it. Mathieu Flamini cracked in a powerful drive from the edge of the box and Craig Dawson blocked it right between his crystals, that being the only other noticeable event of the first half 😉
Koscielny was as usual solid in defence and Mertesacker alongside him played his part. Sagna didn’t have his best game but showed 100% commitment and if he goes I am sure we all wish him well. The crowd made it clear that they want him to stay.
Källström caught my eye and was impressive in his twenty seven minutes on the pitch.
Özil is a great player but missed the new found telepathy he has with Ramsey. Maybe his thinking is too clever for some of the players, but he will be a huge asset next season and adding goals to his game though not imperative, would make an even bigger difference.
All in all it was a bit of a training session and having just watched Norwich we may well be in for a much more physical game next week as they fight possible relegation, and with the Cup Final approaching we may see changes to the side.
This is what Wenger said after the match.
“I’m happy with the attitude, the behaviour and the consistency of my players,”
“I’m frustrated as well because we were 120 days top of the league. When you look today it’s very tight and then comes through your mind here and there the points you dropped that we should not have dropped.
“The regret as well is at the most important period of the season we had two important players out. We have many players who have only played between five and 15 games. That’s where we want to improve for next season.”
Pinpointing a general lack of goals and his side’s defeats at their rivals as decisive factors he continued:
“I would just say to be brutal in our first analysis is we missed a few goals compared to the teams who scored the most goals and we missed some big away games by conceding two many.
“Apart from that our defensive stability was fantastic, we had 16 clean sheets but in some games we were not at the start of the game and we couldn’t get into them before we lost it. The defensive stability we had the whole season was not reflected in these kind of games.
“If you look at the overall performance of the team we have done until today well in the cup, we have done quite well in the Champions League where we had a difficult group, we played against Bayern with ten men and we didn’t fail anywhere.
“The attitude of the group was remarkably consistent and of quality. But we still have missed something to be decisive in the Premier League at the moment when we were in a good position.”
Pressed on the subject of his future, Wenger once again stressed that he’ll be at the helm come the new season joking:
“Look at me! You will see me again.” (that was aimed at Mr Syrup) 🙂
I think that alone is worthy of discussion.