A moment’s lack of concentration after ninety four minutes and forty seconds in a game that was supposed to last ninety four minutes cost us two precious points.
Perhaps it is more accurate to say that not only was it the poor time keeping by referee Phil Dowd but also the stupidity of Alex Song and an atrocious penalty miss by Tomas Rosicky that combined to deny us two points which could end up making the difference between winning the league and coming second.
As tempting as it must have been to keep an unchanged side after the six nil mauling of Braga it became apparent very quickly that it was wrong. Sunderland were a different animal and it needed a different approach.
Wenger is asking too much of Wilshere, two full on games in the space of a week for an eighteen year old is asking for trouble. Wilshere is not ready for that and it showed; he gave away possession no less than four times in the first fifteen minutes giving belief to Sunderland that their game plan of closing us down quickly would ultimately reap rewards.
The first half would have belonged to Sunderland if it wasn’t for a brilliant piece of quick thinking by Fàbregas to put us one up. Ninety nine times out of a hundred he would have angled his foot in exactly the right way to score what was, even by his high standards, a very impressive goal albeit one that sadly resulted in his injury and cost us his calming influence for the rest of the game.
A goal behind and Sunderland piled on the pressure being awarded what seemed like a never ending stream on corners which our impressive central paring of Squillaci and Koscielny dealt with professionally.
We just couldn’t seem to get a grip on the game; the half time whistle couldn’t come quick enough for me as I waited in the hope that Wenger would work his magic during the break.
Sunderland tried to continue their high tempo game in the same way as they left off but it became apparent ten minutes after the restart that it was going to be a tall order to maintain it for a full ninety.
Still, help was shortly on its way for the Black Cats in the form of Alex Song who decided to hand out loaded pistols to his many detractors and said, go ahead, shoot me. This weekend he deserves all the criticism that comes his way. Petulance for the first yellow, a schoolboy error, right next to the ref, for the second and off he went.
Finally, Denilson came on and we got to grips with the game, he should have started, his much maligned short passes, the ones that always find their man would have made this a completely different game; one in my estimation that we would have dominated completely from start to finish.
Sunderland were tiring and even with ten men we were running the show, Nasri and Chamakh were working their socks off to keep us in the game, the defence carried on their sterling work and just to tease us just that little bit more we were awarded a penalty after Nasri had his leg clipped, a happy weekend beckoned and I mean happy, then up stepped Little Mozart and hit the wrong note.
In fairness to Wilshere he did improve as the game went on but ultimately his inexperience showed when in extra, extra time he should have cleared, had he done so we would secured all three points and that long journey back from Sunderland for all the players would have been a win rather than what must have felt like a loss.
Written by London