There are a few things in football that are certainties. I don’t mean the kind in which a particular team is certain to win the league; this often turns out to be wrong. Neither do I mean the kind in which the club with the largest wage bill like Manchester City fields a team that is certain to beat a lesser light such as Stoke City.
No, the kind of certainties I am talking about are the smaller ones, the kind Arsenal encounter against teams like Leicester: you could have bet your mortgage that they were going to park the proverbial bus and try and hit us on the break and unsurprising to everyone, or at least it should have been, that is exactly what they did and they did it well.
As predictable as it was Wenger fielded a team designed to be able to find a way round such a stubborn defense. The team selection made complete sense to me: with the defensively able Flamini sitting in front of the back four whose principal jobs were to be alert when the breaks inevitably came. The rest needed to possess super close control, precision passing and all be capable of scoring; in other words, there was no need for Wilshere. Or so I thought.
It also made sense to give Sanogo a start; it was only Leicester, the team who had been embarrassingly knocked out of the Capital One cup in the week by a team from a division I had never heard of.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well, the answer to that question is our game plan in which we were supposed to stroll home with all three points, that’s what went wrong.
It was a very frustrating afternoon in which a collection of some of the best midfielders in the League managed to play as disjointed as a chicken after Sunday lunch.
If that is the best team we can field for the next four months and let’s be clear here — it is, then we have got a lot more problems than any of us dared imagine.
Things, of course, didn’t start off this gloomy, the team took to the field with their game plan in tact, followed the script by laying siege to the Leicester goal and got the break through. It wasn’t pretty but we were ahead and I thought that this is one more game in which the players could use to iron out the rough edges on their quest for the Holy Grail of Wenger Ball.
But the one step forward made by Sanchez scoring his first league goal was reversed with the two steps back caused by Koscielny’s injury. Should he have stayed on, shouldn’t he have stayed on, I don’t know, the fact that he did stay played a huge part, in my opinion, of Leicester getting an equalizer.
Can someone remind me how it is that we thought, and I am as guilty if not more, of thinking that the arrival of Ozil and his play last season was something akin to the second coming. Genuine question, I am seriously struggling to remember what it was. Perhaps the first assist when he squared the ball to the on rushing Giroud, this could turn into the “Life of Brian” sketch of “What have the Roman’s ever done for us”. It is interesting to note that he was playing on the left wing that day, just saying.
You all saw the game, we huffed and we puffed but it is just as well that it came to an end after 90 minutes rather than the next goal wins or they could still be playing now.
I want to give special mention to Szczesny whose fine save towards the end of the second half kept us in the game. I also thought Sanchez did very well down the left. I am going to keep a little something back before Sanogo gets both barrels as I want to see what happens when he scores; so much changed for Sanchez when he got his goal against Besiktas in the week that I want to see if the similar uplifting feeling has the same effect on the young Frenchman – but I am not holding my breath.
Not the easy win that some of us foolishly expected and still miles away from the idyllic flowing football envisaged by many, the good news is that Stan is in town, and you know what that means?
Written by LB
We were lucky enough to have two posts for today, here are kelsey’s thoughts.
Are Arsenal just wobbling or is it worse than that ?
Every man and his dog can see the deficiencies in our squad and it wasn’t pleasant viewing yesterday as it was obvious that the whole balance of the side was wrong and I feel that Wenger is still experimenting with his best formation.
Let’s be absolutely honest Leicester deserved to win the game and bar a couple of fine saves by Szczesny we would have lost.
We only know one way of playing and that is Wengerball and it just doesn’t work anymore.
For all the flack Giroud gets he does a good job against the majority of teams, but when you look at how close we came last season, the opening games are showing me that we have regressed.
We have more money than for many a season and the buying of Sanchez showed that we can buy quality players but one can’t honestly say that Sanogo or Campbell are at this moment of time the type of player to fill the void and score vital goals when we are playing against a resolute defence.
People talk how much we miss the speed of Walcott especially down the flanks but at this moment of time no one knows for sure when he will be ready and fully fit to play and at a guess that could be several weeks or months judging by our track record.
We have had all Summer to address the problem and Debuchy is a more than adequate replacement for Sagna and Chambers impresses a lot but was he meant to be playing so regularly at this early stage of the season.
Just look at all our games so far, have we been convincing ?
Winning ugly doesn’t apply as for all our possession, in the majority of games, we have failed to take our chances time and time again. But more alarmingly, every single team has sliced through our defence on the counter attack and IMO we have been fortunate not to concede more.
When I hear our manager speak it’s all double dutch to me or the same old excuses like fatigue from the World Cup or a player needs time as he is still recovering from an injury, or negotiations are extremely difficult when trying to secure a player, but the latter applies to all clubs.
We were predictable to an extent last season but there were times when there was far more fluency to the team.
Why does Wenger keep playing players like Ozil out of position? He adds absolutely nothing out on the wing.
Podolski, regardless of what we think of him has been out of favour and invariably has been a sub, but now our manager states he is an option at Centre Forward. A week ago it looked likely that he was being sold or at least offered in part exchange.
Many of you will say that we are only three games in but just look at our forthcoming fixtures which on paper will provide a much bigger test.
We are into the last day of the transfer window so let’s see what happens, if anything at all, and even if we buy,we will get “the player needs a bedding in period”.
I really think whoever we play in midfield the balance is wrong and there isn’t enough physical presence and again the system we play leads us to be alarmingly cut open by every team we have played so far this season.
Dreaded injuries reared their ugly head yet again and at this moment of time it is not clear how serious they are to Kos, Ozil and Oxlade- Chamberlain.
Silent Stan was in attendance yesterday though I don’t suddenly see him changing his track and even expressing an opinion.
I have to say after careful consideration and allowing for the fact that one accepts that Wenger has total control on absolutely everything, there are too many issues on the field that he should have addressed earlier.
I would like to be proved wrong but my gut instinct tells me we are in for a a very difficult season.