Happiness and expectations are closely linked. Cockie Monster, BK’s nutcase blogger formerly known as GLIC, desperately sticks to low expectations in order to secure a permanent level of low, stable happiness. At the other end of the scale is the uber-optimist James Bond, who almost continuously adorns the site with his high hopes and expectations. Both approaches to Arsenal’s future performances and achievements have their merit, and we are lucky to have them blogging on BK. Variety is the spice of life after all. 😀
My expectation for last night’s match was a draw. It was clear that both teams wanted a win but, above all, were keen to avoid defeat. In my view, a point for us was a far better outcome than a point for the Mancs. They now have an almost impossible climb to make in order to reach the top four, especially with Pool winning three vital points against Fulham – the team who took two points away from the Mancs themselves, just a few days ago.
The general view is that the current Manure team is a weak one and that we should have beaten them yesterday. The (pathetic) booing by the Arsenal fans at the end of the game is evidence of this; it’s an indication of how low our toughest rivals in recent history have fallen under Moyes.
Arsene knows that his team has a lot of resilience and is the best of all the ‘big teams’ in winning points against the ‘weaker’ ones. As long as we stay close to both Oiler teams we have a chance to win the league.
It is clear that we do not have a team currently with the belief and/or qualities to beat the bigger teams in the league. Five points from eighteen against Pool, Chavs, Mancs, and Mansour City until now is not great. Or maybe, it is not to do with belief or quality but Wenger’s inability to get the best out of his players…?
However, it looks like we could win the league this year IF we keep beating the ‘non-big’ teams, as both Mansour City and Southern Oilers are prone to dropping points regularly in those games.
I will stick to what I said a few games ago, that the Southern Oilers beating the Northern Oilers would probably mean the former will go on and win the PL. However, the not totally unexpected Chavs’ draw against West Brom has given us renewed hope. Wenger is banking on his team’s consistency (currently his beloved word, it seems); and I also reckon that if we can continue to be consistent during the last third of the season, we could well win the title after all. Two draws – against MC at home and Chavs away – whilst winning almost all of the other games, might be enough to hand us the title come the end of the season.
I was very pleased to see the team play a lot more compact and organised against the Mancs than against Pool. We defended the set-pieces significantly better, despite the strong aerial fire-power of Moyes’ men. Arteta also had a much better game, despite his early give away to Van Judas; and Wilshere stuck a lot better to his defensive duties. Yes, he was ‘turned over’ a lot, and he did not add as much to our attack as we would have liked, but he played with positional discipline and passion, and still made a difference on the night.
I have never felt Mikel and Jack get the best out of each other when they play together though, and we should be buoyed by the imminent return of the Flame. The Frenchman allows Wilshere to be more effective in the box to box role, which in turn will mean more support for Ozil. These three midfield roles are intricately linked and getting the balance right is absolutely pivotal to the success of the whole team.
Last night we played with too many CAMs in my opinion: Ozil, Rosicky, Jack, Santi, and later on Ox was added as well. All of these players have a natural tendency to move towards the middle of the pitch, and play the ball through the funnel: the ‘D area’ of the opponent’s box. Manure were expecting this and made themselves hard to penetrate there throughout the game, marshalled by the seemingly rejuvenated, and brilliant on the night, Vidic. We lacked width and speed/penetration, but also support in the box for OG, as the likes of Ozil, Rosicky and Jack, and to some extent even Santi, are more natural creators than ‘fox-in-the-box’ finishers.
It did indeed feel that we were desperately missing Theo’s and/or Aaron’s speed/engine and ability to turn up at the right place and time in the box. they both also have the experience and maturity now to score goals in the big games.
I thought Ozil had a great game. He was constantly ready to dish out the finest delicacies but there are not many in the team/ the current formation who are able to anticipate and appreciate what he has to offer; something Wenger needs to address rather sooner than later. Not seeing this by some of the fans says more about them than Ozil.
I would also like to point out that, despite our current perception of Manure, they are not a weak team, but simply struggling with coming to terms with the new leadership/playing style of Moyes. I thought that the likes of Vidic, Evra, Rooney and VJ had very good games, and if I am fair I believe they had the best chances to win the match. Luckily they did not take them, as Szczesny had a superb game. They were clearly tense themselves and also desperate to avoid defeat.
I thought we got better towards the end of the game as we started to get closer and closer to their box and create some good opportunities. The fact that Manure still had the best chance to win the match during the same period shows us how delicately balanced it all was – and is; and how much work Arsene and Steve still have to do to get us winning the big games any time soon.
Bring on Pool – CoYG!