Morning +++’ers and I guess that like me you have been gently turning over last night’s game, like a tumble dryer at a slow speed, little flashes of bright cloth, amid a whirl of rather confused and apparently damp fabric.
What of the contest itself?
A disturbing first half. Hesitation, nervousness and careless passing from the outset which appeared to accelerate as Liverpool sensed they might be on for a win and pressed us hard in our half of the pitch. Ironically the best Arsenal pass of the first half which led to Aaron’s ‘goal’ came from Santi, who seemed like he was ill. No, seriously, he looked a bit dazed as he trotted about. His passing was way off target. As for the ‘goal’ how long is professional football going to look ridiculous by refusing to employ technology to assist officials, then bleat long and loud about terrible decisions by officials? I am hopeful that it may happen in my lifetime, though probably not Blatter’s.
As for the other 44 minutes, Le Coq stepped in twice with two decisive and, thank the Lord, clean tackles to deny Scouse forwards bearing down on Cech. One great save and one good save by the Czech/poor finish by Benteke, left us clinging on at half time. So many of those Liverpool chances came as a result of errors on our part, failing to clear a ball, losing it 25 yards out etc. And it was not just Chambers and Gabriel, it was most of the players in red and white shirts.
And when we returned and Mr Oliver peeped the second period into life the world turned upside down. Passes hit their intended receiver (quite NFL that phrase, I shall use it again), Liverpool looked increasingly ragged and could not retain the ball, their young Gomez had to resort to niggly fouls to keep the left-hand side controlled, we made many chances in the box, Giroo huffed, Ozil puffed, Mignolet pulled off a couple of good saves …….. But, disappointingly, we failed to bring the house down. Good contribution from the Ox, Sanchez looked a little subdued. Gabriel looked very assured throughout the second 45 against an aggressive and increasingly frustrated Benteke. Theo unfortunately anonymous for his 10 minute cameo. No cigar last night son.
A point gained, two points dropped? It was the right result on the game so I say the former.
What of the opponents?
In spite of myself I was impressed. A polished performance, particularly at the back from Loveren and Skrtel, Clyne solid, Coutinho tricky. They could be genuine Top 4 contenders again, especially with no Euro distractions. What on earth was Mignolet doing time wasting though? Idiotic attitude – you had the game in the palm of your glove you fool – and you were running the clock down. Almost unfathomably stupid.
What of the Arsenal?
Simple solution, score goals to translate footballing superiority into points in the table. We have intelligent and experienced players. I have no doubt that will be Mr Wenger’s priority as he strides into Colney today. I have no idea how he will go about it, that is not my job.
Anyway the game gives me a chance to repeat my favourite five minute home movie of football, A Night At The Emirates. Even if you have seen it before, watch it again.
Enjoy your Tuesday.
*John Lennon 9th October 1940 – 8th December 1980