Another game in which we gave away the game in the first 45 minutes; another game in which our defence was too easily breached; and another game in which our attackers lacked composure and intelligence to hurt our opponent.
Against the top seven of the PL we had just one win in all our away games: against Liverpool. We drew at Everton and Man City, and lost to MU, Chelsea, and now to Spuds; and we still have to go to Newcastle United (last game of the season). We lost all these matches with a 2-1 score, and every time we gave our game away with sloppy, undisciplined defending in the first half.
We started well and worked very hard to dominate the game against a defensively well-organised, and equally energetic Spuds team. The defence and midfield looked sharp and it looked like a goal would only be a matter of time. However, it became soon clear that our attackers had difficulties in finding each other and also struggled badly to both make clever runs and deploy composure in front of goal. The Spuds defended well and did not allow us much space, but we still should have done better in attack.
I see more and more similarities between Giroud and Ramsey: not only do they look each other – they could easily be brothers – they are also great workers and very likeable chaps, and I would never slate them because of this, but they also lack the necessary quality for the level Arsenal should be playing at. Perhaps both players are going through a bad patch, but I have seen enough now to realise they are at best first-18 squad players, rather than automatic choices for the first-11 team.
Theo Walcott also had a disappointing game. He did not receive the best of service and Spuds did a good job defensively against him, but in games like this he needs to be more dominant and force himself into the thick of the action. In general, I felt we lacked wing-play today as both Theo and Cazorla, and of course Jenkinson and Nacho, faced strong opposition and did not have the discipline and/or skillset to add another dimension to our attacking play. Although Jenkinson managed to get a few decent balls into the box from the wing, and he had a decent game in terms of supporting our attack.
I thought Cazorla was our best player today and I loved his drive and energy. And this brings me to the one really good thing about our team today: it had drive and determination from the start and the likes of Arteta, Wilshere and Cazorla, but also Vermaelen, Nacho and Jenkinson, and of course also Ramsey and Giroud, all played with passion and a real desire to win today.
I thought we played well in midfield and were able to dominate this area for large periods of the game. In that respect, Ramsey should be credited for his hard work and focus, and the same goes for Arteta who was a warrior for us, although not without fault, today.
I felt that Jack struggled to find the quality openings which we know he is capable of, but together with Santi he always adds something to our football, even when he is not at his best.
I won’t be telling you anything new when I say that both our defence and attack were well below par, and the main reason we lost against the Spuds. Had only one of these departments been at the required level, we would at least have drawn this game.
I don’t want to talk about our rubbish defending in the first half – in the second half it was not much better but we rode our luck a few times – as it depresses me too much right now. Let’s analyse it again during the week.
There is also not much new that can be said about our attack: plenty of hard work and willingness but not enough composure and quality; and as a unit, our attack is missing cohesion, creativity and focus.
So, to give you our current situation in a nutshell: Arsenal are in transition and there is still no light at the end of the tunnel; our defence is disorganised and lacks confidence and leadership; our attack lacks cohesion as well as individual quality, and our midfield has become our stronghold and driver of the entire team. At least we have that to build our hopes on.
Written by: Total Arsenal.