Good morning Positive Arsenal fans,
I thought I would feel better in the morning after yesterday evening’s disappointment, and I do. The elixir of rest and time passing. It must be magic.
Part of the improvement in my mood comes from the realisation that our casting away three points that I had assumed that all we had to do was collect at the gate has not done us much material harm in the Premier League. With Chelsea losing we effectively where we were in the table among the big boys in the competition. A chance to make progress spurned. Citeh’s demolition of Stoke an unwelcome reminder of goal scoring at its best. What we must do is ensure that when Mansour and his 40 thieves stumble, as they surely will, we are close enough to take advantage.
Of yesterday’s game ? A fairly even first half with us just shading possession and ahead through the most unlikely of scorers. They all count etc. and Per absolutely hammered the ball with the force and direction that left Gomes static. My feeling at the time was that there was a lot of possession, but much to much sideways passing. The only real creative effort came from Alex Iwobi who took the opposition on with the ball at his feet. Or young dynamo even managed to stamp on Richarlison’s hand – pity it had not been his head but hindsight is a great thing.
Our second half display to the 71st minute carried on in the same vein, keeping ahead in the possession statistic and ensuring that when Watford crossed the half way line with intent then were forced to play in long speculative balls or try to shoot from way out. With Mesut’s arrival we opened the Hornet’s defence up twice and but for some good wok from Gomes would have had at least a decisive 2nd goal.
And then the PENALTY (see previous post for details and discussion).
Now with 20+ minutes left and having created a couple of highly score-able opportunities in the preceding few minutes before the setback my assumption was that we had more than enough time, and certainly the playing resources to put things right. We had not lost at Watford for 30+ years for goodness sake.
But No. Now since 7.24 last night I have seen and read the full range of accusations against individual Arsenal players individually, and I have seen then harangued collectively, Arsene, Bouldy and Vick Akers have been in the arrested and charged for their criminal incompetence.
It seemed to me, reflecting and rerunning that final phase of the game in my head in slow motion we could not decide what to do. In terms of attacking or “chances” the assault I anticipated on the Watford goal never even started. Our game without-the-ball disintegrated. We could not get control of the damn thing for more than one or two passes. When Watford had the ball then it seemed they had time and space to ass and open colleagues to choose from. For us we scuffled, seemed to have no time and picked the wrong pass. We found ourselves pinned back for long periods and when our defence managed to clear the ball it would come straight back with menaces. Under this barrage I make no complaints against the back three (including the surprised Rob Holding) or Cech, or even Hector or Kolasinac. The defence battled manfully as wave after wave battered our defensive wall. Eventually though the weak point was located, the sea rushed through.
We slunk away in defeat. While the devious penalty earned by the young Brazilian was responsible for us not earning at least a point it was the final 20 minutes that defined our evening.
Anyway we move onward to Red Star and thence to Goodison on next Sunday lunchtime. I shall make no predictions though Everton away has been a happy ground for us for most of Wenger’s rein. We could certainly do with one of our strikers scoring away from home, and I don’t care who. I shall keep my eye on the game from the Amex with more interest this afternoon as Koeman’s number may be up.
It is Mesut’s 29th birthday today so I trust he will enjoy his day, a I do all of you this sunny Sunday morning up in Norfolk.