I felt bitterly disappointed after the game yesterday. This had nothing to do with our performance, or even the dropped points. This had to do with the fact that it really didn’t feel like I’d watched a game of football. Yes, Stoke have some better players now, and they could well have scored goals, were Cech not such a beast. But they only really came to stop any football being played. Right from their pitch, to their ‘tactics’, it was all about constantly pushing/pulling/tripping Arsenal players, generally preventing the game from flowing.
I never really put stock in the Stoke play Rugby claim (and while Wenger is quoted as saying that he was talking about one specific incident where Stoke pushed an opposing keeper into the goal) Stoke were physical, dirty, but they played a fascinating in its ugliness type of football. But yesterday, as far as I’m concerned, was more rugby than football. I’m glad to come away from there with a point, and with no injuries.
On our players, Cech, Per, Monreal. Campbell, and Giroud come away with huge credit. Flamini was ok. Kos was good, but what’s up with those misplaced passes? Bellerin was good defensively, but couldn’t contribute much on offense, which is fine the way we were playing. I’ve been very annoyed with the Ox recently, but he was generally better, apart from one boneheaded moment when he came back into our half to get in front of a Stoke player, and instead of passing to a teammate, he tried to flick it forward. I get the sense he’s going to find form soon.
Ramsey and Walcott were both immensely frustrating. Both seemed too casual in their touches and passes at times. Maybe Ramsey is tired and that is affecting the simple things. But Theo man. His technique is terrible. On a small ground, with no Ozil or Sanchez to create space for him, he just couldn’t do anything. He was kinda helping out in defense, but that’s about it. Iwobi made a big difference when he came on. That Theo made such a fuss about it after putting in a performance like that isn’t very nice.
Not very nice too, were the Stoke fans. What can you say about such folk? There’s supporting your team and then there’s using it as a front to create a ‘safe space’ for all your vilest, nastiest tendencies. A Roman senator would recognize the importance of the Brittania as an arena to act as a safety valve for the mob. I suppose it’s better than them torturing kittens or something.
All in all a good point away to a tough stadium, and still top of the league, with the cavalry not too far away with Alexis, Coquelin, Wilshere and Rosicky set to return soon.