Wenger is asking too much of Wilshere – written by London

September 19, 2010

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


Cesc happy with Cattermole’s ban. Sunderland preview – written by BigRaddy

September 18, 2010

The Stadium of Light, there’s a misnomer. Anyone who has had the misfortune to travel to Sunderland away knows the drab, watery light that emanates from the cold North Sea and washes over the industrial wasteland that is Sunderland. They will also know how we struggled at TSOL last season, despite having 90% of the possession we got beaten by a late  Darren Bent goal (plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose).

We go into our 5th game of the season with a tidy haul of points, all of which have been taken from Northern opponents, and it would be excellent if we could garner another 3 today. However Sunderland have a fine home record (one defeat in 12) and we will have to be at the top of our game to win.

Gyan appears to be a fine signing and alongside a rejuvenated Darren Bent (saved by Steve Bruce from the N17 hellhole), they will present a menace upfront. Our defenders must be fully concentrated as it should be noted that we have conceded in every one of our last 9 away games. We cannot rely on our ability to score more than the opposition – a few clean sheets away from home are essential.

We go into this game in superb form, as good as we have seen since last autumn when we smashed Porto etc. Sunderland will be worried particularly as they will be missing their midfield enforcer, Lee Cattermole (how could anyone seriously suggest we need a man like him), and possibly John Mensah. Cattermole is a perfect example of a talented and skilful player who has been given a poor football education, his disciplinary record is appalling. A CB pairing of Titus Bramble and Anton Ferdinand ought to bring a smile to the face of our nippy attackers, both are good defenders but susceptible to ingenuity and pace. Steve Bruce has become a fine manager and I expect him to get the best out of his players today. His stated respect for Wenger is a refreshing change from the vitriol of most British managers and does him much credit – does he fancy the job as AW’s replacement in 2014 (not my ideal choice!)?

With the team playing so well it would be tempting to play the same players as Wednesday, but I would give Wilshere a break. I would include Eboue because he is harder than Nasri and we may need some physicality  today.

There is very little to tell about the “City” of Sunderland (I thought cities had to have a Cathedral).Founded in 1974 during on of those ridiculous boundary changes which brought 4 “Hovis” towns together, Sunderland boasts it is the birthplace of Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics and that Sid James died there. Oh, and my friend Julien’s father used to be Mayor.

Can we win? Yes. Will we win? Why not?