Thoughts on Arsenal’s Disappointing Defeat against Norwich
This is certainly not the Monday morning I had envisaged after seeing Chelsea and both Manchester clubs win their games on Saturday. I’d thought to myself that another late Saturday fixture would end like the last, where Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla scored the goals that gave Arsenal maximum points on the night.
We all know how Arsenal fared in the game and I’m in no mood to open up old wounds. However, Arsene Wenger’s defense of his team with the “lacking sharpness” line isn’t good enough in my honest opinion. This is a team that had not won a Premier League game in seven tries and they had also been shipping in a lot of goals.
In the wake of this disappointing defeat that left me with a very sour taste in my mouth, here are my humble thoughts. Feel free to share yours in the comments box.
WE CAN’T BLAME THE INTERLULL
Like every other “big” team in the Premier League, Arsenal had a large contingent of players that travelled to their respective nations to take place in several 2014 World Cup qualifiers. Norwich on the other hand, had probably a player or two that represented their nations, but the international break is no excuse for such an appalling display by Arsenal – at least the manager, Arsene Wenger, admitted that,
“Losing players on the international break is not an excuse. We have to deal with that. You could say we have better players but there is only one way to show that – on the football pitch.”
Theo Walcott was the only casualty suffered during the interlull, and it was clear to see that his quality was lacked on the bench. When things seemed a bit hard in Upton Park, it took a decisive Walcott finish to swing the pendulum in Arsenal’s favor.
It’s also worth noting that Arsenal’s title rivals, Chelsea and both Manchester clubs, had a large outlay of players that represented their nations as well, but they all came out from their respective fixtures in flying colors. Chelsea are in pole position and are followed closely by both Manchester outfits – while Arsenal is languishing in 9th place. Shame.
HAVING MORE BALL POSSESSION ISN’T ENOUGH AFTER ALL
At Arsenal, we pass, pass and pass till we find that space in the final third to execute a through ball or a cross, and the rest they say is history. Against Norwich, the Gunners had a staggering 62% of ball possession but how did they fare? Had Grant Holt put on his favorite scoring boots, an embarrassing scoreline would have been on the cards and in my honest opinion, this 1-0 scoreline is very flattering to Arsenal.
So what happened, you may ask?
Why didn’t the midfield triumvirate of Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey pull up the strings to put Norwich to the sword?
Here’s what happened, Ramsey was piss poor in his box-to-box role, making Arteta worked harder than he needed to and Cazorla was smothered all game long by the Norwich rearguard.
To top it all off, the attacking trio picked the right game to be collective shite, as there was no real fluid movement from them, with Olivier Giroud culpable for being the most static player in the attack. Gervinho on the other hand, was an aberration as he kept dallying with the ball when a simple pass would have been a better option. People want Le Forehead to be drafted back to the centre forward position, but trust me, he’s better where he is on the wings.
However, even the best players have a bad day in the office, so we’ll have to put that into consideration.
VITO MANNONE CAN NOT BE ARSENAL’S NO. 1 FOR THE LONG TERM
I know I’ve reiterated this line times without number and I won’t hold back on it – Vito Mannone isn’t good enough to be Arsenal’s goalie for the long term.
This is not the picture of Joe Hart against West Brom I had in mind to display but after searching hard on Google, I had to make do with this. Those that watched the West Brom vs. Manchester City game can vividly remember a defining moment in the game when Chelsea’s loanee, Romelu Lukaku, executed a brilliant overhead kick in the 90th minute that was goal-bound.
Guess who was there to add another collection to his instalment of breathtaking saves? Joe Hart.
Shortly afterwards, the Citizens launched a counter attack and Edin Dzeko was on hand to finish off Sergio Kun Aguero’s assist.
Joe Hart has certainly had his nervy moments like his shenanigans for England against Poland but the Manchester City No. 1 has done so much good than harm for his club side. Vito Mannone on the other hand is usually a passenger in most games with Arsenal dominating possession and all, but when he’s called upon to deliver, in most cases, he’s found wanting.
I wouldn’t want to start singling out different games this season but Arsenal fans can bear me witness that Wojciech Szczesny wouldn’t have parried Alexander Tettey’s shot straight to an onrushing Grant Holt that finished aplomb. I still don’t understand how “two to three weeks” can take this long but we need Szczesny sooner rather than later.
I also feel sorry for Lukasz Fabianski, as he would have gotten another shot at staking his claim for the No. 1 had he been fit. Prior to his shoulder injury in the 2010/11 campaign, Fabianski had really matured as a player and those games did wonders to his confidence.
THE WILSHERE STUNT WASN’T NECESSARY
After 14 months out of the game, it was only normal for Arsenal to introduce Jack Wilshere slowly before considering him to be fit enough for first team action. With Abou Diaby suffering from Diabytes and Aaron Ramsey playing like shite once again, Wilshere is badly needed in Arsenal’s midfield but as Wenger had stated, he isn’t ready yet,
“We have to be conscious he (Wilshere) has not played for 14 months. I would have brought him on if the game had allowed it today but it was too intense. He will play on Monday with the Reserves and then we will see where we go from there. He needs games.”
My question remains; if Wilshere wasn’t ready yet as the manager had put it, why did he make the bench?
The youngster was tipped to make a comeback against Reading in the Capitol One cup after a couple of more Under-21 games and that would have made a lot of sense, but in my opinion, putting him on the bench wasn’t really necessary though.
LUKAS PODOLSKI DESERVES TO BE ON THE PITCH FOR 90 MINUTES
Yes, the game needed a change and the Ox would have been the perfect player to come into the pitch but considering how poor Gervinho played, my jaws dropped to the ground when I saw Lukas Podolski leave the pitch for the Ox. In truth, Podolski was a bit subdued but he had more in the tank and worked in tandem with Andre Santos down the left.
When Le Forehead was drafted to the left wing, he continued holding unto the ball as if he was Diaby’s long lost clone. We all know that Podolski will give you 110% when he plays and the fact that he has been substituted in every Premier League game he has played has become a cause for concern to me.
He’s very good in timing his runs to perfection as well as having a lethal finishing ability and in a game when Arsenal needed people to stand up and counted, it was disheartening seeing Podolski walk to the dugout. To make things worse, his replacement, the Ox got injured shortly afterwards and was replaced by Andrey Arshavin.
That’s enough ranting for one day.
Happy Birthday Arsene Wenger and Bobby “dKingpin” Agulanna
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