Good morning Positive Arsenal fans,
Another savage setback in Sandwell yesterday. 2017 has turned into a bit of a monster hasn’t it ? In 29th January, having seen our second string thrash Saints in the Cup and with a safe three points against Watford scheduled, before our trip to take on Chelsea the season’s future looked rather different. Only seven weeks ago ….? Just 11 games – Seems a bloody age !
Of yesterday’s lunchtime match until James McLean crunched into Alexis’ ankle we were comfortably in the game. We were not fluent going forward but doing enough to score again and, in due course, probably could/would/should have collected the points. The Chilean had looked sparky, had scored and was leading the Baggies a merry dance. With our balloon popped, or apparently Sanchez’s ankle ligaments crocked to be more accurate, we seemed to retreat into a protective ball, a little shocked, a little hurt.
And after that we lost the game. West Brom are not a bad side, a team built by Pulis in his functional “no-nonsense” image. Like Watford, like Everton, however they are a team of footballers who individually do not have the quality of our players, do not have the wide experience of domestic club, European and international football, do not have the technique in passing and control, are in most cases slower. These are the artisans of the football world. But yet again they put together what talent and energy they had and earned their points. They defended with grim determination and their concentration did not waver. When three chances to score came their way they took them. Two well taken corners, BANG BANG. One scruffy half shank of a scramble on the penalty spot from Robson-Kanu.
For our side we have a hell of a lot of passes and 77% possession. Once we had slipped behind to the second goal we really did not look like we were likely to recover. The eyes glazed, the shoulders slumped. What was slightly disappointing is no one kicked McLean (or stamp on his head as is the current fashion) after what was a vicious tackle on Sanchez. Why are we soooooo “nice” ? We have very good players. And those same players until the end of January had it in them, and managed week after week, to win games in the final few minutes, and to take back the initiative in contests. For the past seven weeks that talent has deserted them.
On the one side we have WBA whose output, whose product, is greater than one could expect if one piled up the components. On the other is us, whose output is falling well below that which the constituent parts ‘should’ yield.
Right that is the hair-shirt bit done.
We thankfully have the international break during which, I hope, the manager and the players can come together and identify what technical failings we have, defensively and offensively, and address them. We still have at least 12 games to go this season.
Despite the hysteria following yesterday’s defeat there remains an FA Cup to play for and crucial games against Citeh X2m, ManYoo and Spuds to be fiercely contested. And we have good player who can and will contest them as is their very lives depended on it. The points in the PL games can still provide a top four or top three finish, and that is still worth having despite what the ingrates will tell you. The results of those forthcoming games will be even more important than the previous 11 games since January. It is time for everyone in the club and who supports arsenal to put their shoulder to the wheel. In eight weeks time the season may look very different.
And I know no-one on here is foolish enough to take me at my word of a person’s life depending on the result of a football match allow me to share a family anniversary with you. 100 years today the 23 year old Lance Corporal John Nicol 9th battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders was killed at Arras.
I am off to breakfast. Enjoy your Sunday.