It was 90 minutes which was to define our season instead, what we got was a microcosm of the entire season, flying start, unforgiveable complacency, terrible defending, flashes of brilliance, RvP pulling us up by the bootstraps, and naivety of the highest order. The first 45 minutes was among the worst I’ve seen this season, and, let’s be honest, we’ve seen some rubbish performances this year. Norwich gave us a lesson and we ran around not only as if we’d never met each other but like we’d only just been introduced to a football for the first time.
It was a great start, we couldn’t have asked for any better as Yossi curled one in from the corner of the box. Yes! The team wanted it, they really did, all the pre-match nerves had been nothing, all the wondering if we could get a favour from Villa and City in their matches against Sp*rs and Newcastle had been a waste of time, we had it in our own hands and we knew what to do.
And then we didn’t.
It took them ten minutes to equalise, a ten minute period in which we just fell apart. The defending was shambolic, exceeded in its ridiculousness only by the goalkeeping which allowed Hoolahan’s tame effort, and it was tame, to slip through his grasp. 1-1 and their tails were up. 15 minutes later it was 2-1 to Norwich. We watched as Yossi kicked out and was lucky not to have been sent off, Ramsey had his worst game yet, and for a player who seems to be having nothing but bad games lately that’s quite the feat, we lost Sagna to a broken leg and the referee declined to give them penalties. They missed chances to increase their lead and we were, without doubt, extremely fortunate to only be one goal down by half time.
The second half started marginally better, we pressed, we seemed to be able to keep the ball, and of course, Robin would step up to not only pull us level but get us in to the lead. It was euphoric, we had done it, we’d come from behind despite being battered and completely off our game and managed to get a lead. Then we switched off and five minutes after we’d grabbed the lead for the second time we allowed them through to equalise with a shot, Szczesny seemed to misjudge his angles and Morrison scored. I could cry about the most blatant penalty never given for the foul on van Persie, or the handball which should have also resulted in a penalty, but given they perhaps should have had two themselves and we were lucky to end up with 11 men on the pitch at the final whistle, I’m not going to. We had the chances to win this, we failed to take them.
And it will cost us, make no mistake about that.
Having endured one of our worst starts to a season ever we got ourselves clear in third. Complacency in games we should have won left us nervous, but still in charge of our own destiny. Not anymore. Even if we’d managed to grab the three points there would have been much complaining post match about the state of our performance in the first half and rightly so. I’ve taken a lot of abuse on here for always trying to find a positive, but for that performance and result yesterday there isn’t one. We can now finish anywhere between third and sixth and we only have one game left while others around us have two.
It’s a shambles.
According to @Orbinho we have been behind in 19 league games this season. 19. That is 50% if we manage to not go behind away at West Brom and to be honest I’m not to fucking hopeful. Arsenal have been trailing at some point in 19 games this season – more than Villa (18), Liverpool (17), Sunderland (18) & Swansea (17). That’s not a pattern, that’s a bloody epidemic.
He also highlighted: Arsenal Errors have led to 13 goals 13 and 5 own goals, a total of 18 conceded due to our own “mistakes”, six more than the next worst Premier League team’s tally.
With Newcastle hosting City later today we perhaps have a glimmer of light of grabbing fourth place, with the Euro’s and the Olympics and players needing to be signed and re-signed the thoughts of playing a Champions League Qualifier is horrendous, that being in the qualifier not only relies on Newcastle dropping points, us beating West Brom, but on Bayern Munich as well is sickening.
Grant Holt, a player who seemed to be one that many people were championing for a place on the England squad for the Euro’s, spent most of the match flinging himself to the ground as soon as he felt a defender’s breath on his neck and then, last night on Twitter, slammed an Arsenal fan for supporting the club because he lived in Scotland. Classy guy.
I am not a happy Gooner this morning. The team let us all down yesterday, something they’ve done quite often in recent seasons, but this felt different. We thought we had *maybe* learned some lessons, that we could *maybe* know the importance of these final two games and put in the effort, not for half of a half but for the full 180 minutes. Not so and now we have to wait and see what happens with other teams.
Finishing below Sp*rs for the first time in Arsene Wenger’s reign is the least of our problems this morning.