And there was me on that crisp, bright, autumnal afternoon, sitting above the corner flag where Pepe sent in his two excellent corners which helped put us two up thinking: this is going to be a stroll in Drayton Park today.
Silly boy LB, silly, silly boy, when will you learn?
No, of course, it was not going to be like that, there was much more hand wringing and frustration on its way as we slowly descended back from the high hopes of a comfortable victory to our more familiar surroundings of a deflating draw.
Before arriving at the ground my yardstick for success was that I wanted to see improvement in the overall quality and standard of play. I wanted to see us moving forward because I firmly believe that there is a good team in that squad fighting to get out, its just that it seems that after all the expectation of our shiny new summer signings it is taking longer to get to that point than we expected. Was there an overall improvement, a bit, but not as much as I was hoping for.
The game was overshadowed by VAR, it seems that the suppliers of this device do not feel they are giving their customers value for money unless they create at least one controversial decision per week. It’s just plain wrong that people who attend the games do not receive an explanation as to why a penalty is given or to why a goal disallowed. I have not seen the replays and so I have no idea whether the decisions were right or wrong. It’s ridiculous that I am in this position.
The other main talking point was the substitution of Xhaka. I cannot improve on FGG’s assessment of which I whole-heartedly agree.
“Arsenal fans are an embarrassment. Booing off the club captain because we aren’t winning…boo hoo. ‘We want our Arsenal back’ they need to grow up. He isn’t the only player that makes mistakes on that football field and he’s certainly not the only reason we aren’t performing to our best at the moment.” (FGG)
When Xhaka’s number appeared a huge cheer went up, Xhaka obviously did himself no favours by walking off slowly but the booing that followed is never acceptable. For those who disagree with FFG’s view I would imagine that you are happy that Emery has been put in absolutely no doubt about, what has to be acknowledged as the view of the majority of Arsenal supporters, that Xhaka should not be playing.
Leno: 7 I don’t know anything about goalkeepers, he always seems good to me should he have done better re the goals conceded? Didn’t look the case from where I was sitting.
Chambers: 6 Continues to improve, many might get their wish and see him playing in front of the defence sooner rather than later.
Sokratis: 8 on a hat trick for a moment, great to see him get his first goal for the club
Luiz: 7 it was all looking so good when he scored our second and then…………….
Tierney: 7started very brightly and then got more average as the game went on, everything still looking good though.
Xhaka: 5 am I going to write something sympathetic after his poor treatment? No. Doesn’t augment the attack and doesn’t add enough to the defence.
Ceballos: 5 big step backwards, misplaced passes, I don’t mind that when a player is trying something special but there were bread and butter passes going astra, poor.
Guendouzi 7 supplied me with my favourite moment of the game: his neck high rugby tackle on Zaha in the dying seconds was brilliant, if you haven’t seen it try hard to find it because it is so good, still well worthy of his starting place.
Pepe: 6 hoped he was going to kick on from Thursday in open play but he didn’t really, deserved to stay on for the whole of the game which I suppose is an improvement of a sorts.
Lacca 5 me ol mucca you ain’t quite doing it, your first touch is getting worse as you try and force the play and Martinelli is breathing down your neck.
Aubamayang: 6 no real chances; did what he could which wasn’t that much.
Song of the afternoon and sung with hearty gusto throughout the ground.
We’ve got Ozil
I just don’t think you understand.
Make of that what you like?