What a weird game it was! A very frustrating loss to be honest.
Our first 45 minutes were nothing short of brilliant. We defended quite decently especially in the middle of the park and our attacking game was at times amazing! Saka was absolutely brilliant, Laca’s hold up and link up plays were great, Pepe had a positive attitude and scored a good goal and Partey was pulling the strings in midfield while Cedric was also having a good game going forward. ESR also had a few good moments. We were so unlucky to only have scored one goal but all was going well…until Luiz got a red card, which is hard to understand because it seems there was actually no contact. So we lose Luiz and we concede a PK, which was well taken to be honest.
4 minutes into the second half and Moutinho scores a screamer. Could Partey or Leno do better? Hard to say. And then we hang in the game and we have a few openings to maybe draw…but it was not meant to be for us as Leno also gets red-carded. This red-card is actually harder to contest – what was Leno thinking? Stay in your box and collect the ball, mate…After that, it was a matter of just the game ending.
Overall, I felt that our first 45 minutes were the best of the season. It was nice to see us play so well. But then, our dark side resurfaced with losing a ball in the middle of the park leading to a very harsh sending off and then Leno just lost his mind in the second half…So the second half was clearly to be forgotten.
The positives: Saka, Partey, Holding, Laca, Pepe, Xhaka, Cedric + the first 45 minutes! And seeing Auba play.
The negatives: Ref, Leno, Luiz (?)
Could do better: ESR, Bellerin
First 45 mins:
Leno – 6
Bellerin – 6
Holding – 7
Luiz – 6 (and then nothing…)
Cedric – 7
Partey – 7
Xhaka – 7
Saka – 8
ESR – 6.5
Pepe – 7.5
Laca – 7.5
45+1 min onwards:
Leno – 2
Bellerin – 5
Holding – 7
Gabriel – 6
Cedric – 6
Partey – 6
Xhaka – 6
Saka – 6
ESR – 6
Pepe – 6, Auba – 6
Laca – 6
A tough game to write up! But you’ve done a great job of summing it all up.
I think this is one of those games to bury deep in the garden and move on.
A freak game.
I think I was a tad harsh on GIE’s feeling that the red cards were deserved particularly the Leno one.
I think the Luiz one was totally unjust and will not be met with the same consistent harshness in similar circumstances with other clubs by the same officials.
It is time that certain referees consistency is called into public question because the authorities dont offer anything. They seemingly have complete immunity to any questions regarding poor standards and / or bias and that is arrogant and dismissive in the extreme.
I’ve never seen a body or group of people that are so protected that no explanation is deemed forthcoming, and if they aren’t prepared to self reflect and analyse more and continue to act like a mini dictatorship, then I feel the only option is to question them publically.
Shame them into providing explanations on the inconsistency shown by some refs and why more so to some clubs.
The Leno one was slightly more grey. He came out a long way. I think he was aiming to clear the ball into row z but the ball took a deceptive bounce off a slippery pitch so he was all of a sudden not quite right in his body shape.
It does hit his arm and there is a movement if the arm but I am still unsure that he intended to move it towards the ball and dekiberately handle it. It looked just as likely that he was trying to pull it into his body and turned his body to the left at the same time.
Funnily enough MOTD didn’t show it that much from different angles and that makes me think there will be certain angles that show he is trying to move his arm away. Cant be sure but either way it’s not that clear cut, at least not enough for a straight red but that is not even the most important aspect of the decision.
The more important factors are that Traore was still some way from the ball, was still a long way from goal and was over right by the touchline. Also we had covering central defenders sprinting back who would have intercepted him so he wouldn’t have had a clear uninterrupted run at goal without a defender to beat in some way.
With that in mind he shouldn’t be considered as having prevented a clear goal scoring opportunity and wasnt the last man when you analyse Traore’s position relative to our deepest CD.
If anything my disappointment with the team is that they couldn’t keep it tight till half time which was imminent. Everyone knows that is important and it was Sunday league levels of concentration by certain players at that time.
Well done, RC,
We are all gutted after that game, especially as you say, we were coasting it in the 1st half — and then — Kapow!!!
We were doubly unlucky in the first half with Saka hitting the post, and then a beautiful goal by Partey being ruled out because of a size 10 boot, before Pepe scored a beaut.
The rest of the game was surreal — not worth talking about.
Nice title. Very apt.
We should have been 3 up in the first half and game over. We got complacent.
Luiz does what he always does. He was out of position, then rushing to get back makes a silly error. I’m surprised that people are defending him. We have seen this over and over from him. He has the ability to lose a game by himself. It was a foul. He didn’t need to get that close to the striker (who might have missed). The Red was harsh, but he invited it.
That should be curtains for Luiz.
On Leno. I thought he could have got closer to Moutinho’s shot. The handball was just stupid. A very bad night at the office.
There are plenty of positives to be taken from the performance before the sending off. We were head & shoulders above the Portuguese side. Chances created galore. Another day we would win that 5-0.
There were some positives for me in the game, especially in the first half:
1. Cedric did well again at LB
2. Partey was having a good game and Xhaka a very tidy one
3. Pepe was having a good game too at LFW, for a second game in a row and his attitude was great. Is he finally turning a corner?
4. Lacazette was ace in his link-up play
My fear was that we couldn’t keep the lead until half time and unfortunately we crumbled in a dramatic fashion.
I thought Luiz was having a decent game until his sent-off. In any case, we have Gabriel and he will be more than able to play alongside Holding so I am not worried about missing Luiz.
Regarding Leno, it is more difficult because Mat Ryan is injured apparently and we know that Runnarsson is yet to hit the required EPL level…so we are a bit short at GK. Seeing Martinez doing so well in his new club is doubly upsetting now.
Tad harsh on Leno for the goal Pete, I think his starting position is a bit too far over but that’s to do with bodies in front of him and trying to get a peak. At full stretch he could only get fingers to it, if he had been one foot further forward the contact may have pushed it to the post. But as I say I really don’t think there is anything he could do.
I am in agreement with you on Luiz though.
More disappointing was how open we were all of a sudden.
Nice report RC, the red cards unfortunately overshadow a stunning goal by Pepe and as you say a very good first half.
One player that stood out for me was Holding I liked that down to 9 he was prepared to gamble and overlap Bellerin at times.
And serious questions remain about Runnarsson he seemed totally perplexed by what Arteta was asking him to do in the final moments with that free kick surely it was blatantly obvious?!?!
It seems that everyone has taken Rockys advice and buried this game already 😀
Despite my earlier reservations about discussing the game I feel compelled to agree with you with much of your 12:32 pm comment.
I hope you understand I have something of a small disagreement as regards Luiz.
He has a tendency to play reasonably OK, mixed in with a large dollop of chronic errors.
Having looked again, many times, at the sending off, I have changed my mind about the Luiz red card.
He was tracking back at maximum pace, and the wolf at the door was slowing down prior to taking a shot at goal.
The result was Luiz’s knee was contacted by the wolf’s boot studs and the result was not a foul, or …. at the very least, the collision could not be avoided.
OK give him a yellow card (just in case) but a red card was bollix.
The original Rule was the player had intended to foul the opposition player. That was changed because – how the hell could anyone know what someone’s intention was?
But an alternative was put in – in the VAR era – that the VAR ref could not see a clear and obvious error, by the on-field ref.
So one mind reading nonsense was substituted by another mind reading nonsense. How the hell could an off field ref with loads of cameras, not see another ref’s mistake? Oh, OK, the myriad cameras had no way of ‘seeing’ what the on-field ref could see – so a negative decision was arrived at.
The cameras could not see what the ref could see, or not see, within a micro-second — well I never!
What bollix — double jeopardy where the fox is your sting? Bastards.
Thanks for the report RC …. you’ve balanced the good with the bad very astutely.
As regards Luiz, his knee impeded the striker’s running and so the laws of the game say it’s a foul and a penalty. For that reason I don’t think the red will be overturned. Common sense would say it should be a yellow but that option wasn’t available to the ref.
This loss is a heavy blow with many of the top teams in good form. I think we will need to finish above totnum to have any hope of top 6 …. and we will also have to finish above either Leicester, Villa or Chelsea
Too depressed, don’t the club realise that they have a responsibility to help us though this difficult time not make it worse?
I hate football and I am never watching it again.
Stamps feet and marches off…..
Still choked tbh!! We were cruising… those 44 minutes were superb, best we’ve played in a while! So, I only want to think of the good stuff!
The rest was too hard to take!
Tonight has been pretty darn good though – had to rely on Pool to ‘Brighton’ up my evening 🤣
And West Ham, hats off to David Moyes. What a bargain Soucek has turned out to be!! And as for Lingard – meh 🤣
Our game on Saturday will be very interesting!
Hi @Sue – City to run away with the title. Man Utd may not be consistent enough in the end. I am quite worried for Liverpool who may end up missing out on Top 4 al together. Could you imagine?
At the moment, Leicester is looking like a solid Top 4 contender and then we have City and Utd. So with one spot left, Everton could maybe snatch it away from Liverpool…what do u think?