Morning all. It's still early in the day and it's already been terrible. This is of course compounded by what happened yesterday at the Emirates...which we shall discuss.
If you didn't get to see the match, in which feelings went from distress to glee to absolute disaster, then you missed one hell of a match, if you were a neutral supporter. I, however, am not a neutral so the match was absolute shite for me. We were up 4-2 with 2 minutes to go in the match and managed to let them score 2 goals in those two minutes to tie it up, which was as good as a win for them. Let's face it, Tottenham are not a good team, they were way behind us in possession, never really looked that threatening, and yet came into our home and came away with an undeserved draw.
Some people will say that I should maybe give Sp*rs some credit for their comeback, but let's face it, it wasn't their efforts that created this result, it was mental mistakes by Arsenal players that let them come back and snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat.
Manuel Almunia has been a fine keeper for the last year or so, but yesterday he went back to the Almunia that was from a few years back. He pretty much gifted them their first two goals. The first one he should have been able to get back and make the save on. The ball was so high in the air it seemed like it took an hour to come down yet he couldn't get back for it, and Lord knows what he was doing that far off of his line anyway.
Then we got back in it through Silvestre of all people and it seemed like order would be restored. This proved to be the case when we came out and scored early in the second half through William Gallas who seems to be able to attack set pieces much much better than he can defend them. We got another on a great play from Nasri and finished by Adebayor and you figured that 3-1 up at home was going to be a win.
We didn't want to make it easy on ourselves though so we let them get a goal on yet another gift from Almunia. Huddlestone shot from outside the box and Almunia just let it drop in front of him after making the save and Darren Bent knocked it in after just coming on. It was a save he really should have been able to hold on to and it made you a little nervous at 3-2. Robin van Persie made it 4-2 just a minute later though and it was comfortable again.
What happened next was absolutely shocking. Arsenal went into a period where we held almost all of the possession, just trying to run the clock down, and it was working. Heading into extra time with a 2 goal lead and they couldn't even get the ball. Then the unthinkable happened. Gael Clichy had the ball stopped and was looking around for where to pass next and came under some pressure from Jenas, the cunt. Next thing you know Clichy trips over the ball, Jenas steals it, dribbles 25 yards or so and knocks another past Almunia. So 4-3 at this point but still almost know time left...we'll be fine right? Not so. A header dropped to Luca Modric who had a shot come back off the post which we failed to clear or save and Lennon came in to snatch a draw. They celebrated like they had won the league and I wanted to kill myself.
It's not just the result that really makes this bad though. Of course I want to beat Sp*rs, who doesn't? But the point is the WAY that we drew the match. Mental errors and not being able to have the strong mentality to close out a game. Where is the leadership in the 89th minute when up 2 goals that says, "Let's close this game out and make sure we don't let them even have one chance of getting back in this." How do we let them score on 2 rebounded goals, and trip over the ball while trying to play keep away, and let David Bentley, the talentless cunt, score from 40 yards away when no other team has had trouble with them all year? I don't care if they got a new manager or not, it's the same players that have them bottom of the table and we made them look like title contenders with that comeback.
How much would a player like Gilberto Silva have helped in this situation? Imagine if he came on instead of Diaby or Eboue, would he allow them to make a comeback like that? He's the kind of intelligent, experienced player we need in these situations, and we let him go. I just can't see him coming into the match up 2 goals with 2 to go and not making sure everyone knew to keep their heads on straight and to hold onto the ball, and if they did get the ball from us I know he'd be fighting tooth and nail to get it back.
Everyone has a few bad games but Almunia was absolutely shocking this match. I thought Theo Walcott was fantastic but of course he came off to be replaced by Eboue who did nothing. I actually thought Gallas (who you know I am a critic of) had a very good game. He looked solid at the back and scored a great header. He is the captain though and some of the blame for a meltdown has to go to anyone in a leadership role. The team as a whole was at fault though. Silvestre could have closed down Jenas on the 3rd goal, Almunia and Clichy could certainly have had better games, but the fact is we completely blew it.
Arsene Wenger was as pissed as he's been in some time:
Well I am angry. I believe we produced an outstanding game and got the minimum result. We didn't keep the ball. We were there for the taking. We should have had a negative passing game but instead we exposed ourselves by trying to go five or six up. The team has outstanding potential. They learn from moments like that tonight.It comes down to leadership and experience. You have to keep the ball away from them up by 2 with 2 minutes to go, and certainly after they pull 1 back. It should be common sense. My 8 year old team knows that.
I'm absolutely sick about it is the moral of the story. I don't want to think about the match anymore so I let all my feelings out on here. Feel free to do the same in an email or the comments and I'll read em on the podcast tomorrow. We've gotta recover from this loss and get ready for the next one, it's still a long season. Up the Gunners.