The lunchtime kick off on Saturday was a bit… well, “meh” covers it, don’t you think?
Chelsea, plucky little Chelsea, with their £50m quid reserve striker came to Arsenal not to get beat and, thanks to a slightly under par performance from the home side, they got what they wanted. The game left so little impression on me that I couldn’t really be bothered to tweet about it. However, my overriding impressions from that match were:
1) Even as bad as we were, with a little bit of luck and a bit more composure, we would have won the game. I don’t remember Szczesny ever being tested, thanks largely to the efforts of Koscielny and “Gunner for life”, Vermaelen. On the other hand, Koscielny was unlucky to hit the bar and Robin just had one of those days. One of those days that he’s had a bit more regularly than usual of late- my God, he is human after all.
2) If I was Roman Abramovich and had spent the money I’d spent on the Chelsea squad and that, extremely negative, was the best game plan Chelsea could come up with, I’d be thinking I hadn’t spent my money too well. Yes, Chelsea have a rather massive match coming up tomorrow, but with the resources they have… Would you have settled for an Arsenal performance of that nature if we had the backing Chelsea have?
3) It was actually a bit of a compliment to Arsenal that Chelsea set up as they did. I can’t ever remember a Chelsea team coming to us and being so focused on defence. Or perhaps it was just that they were missing Arsenal’s own personal bogeyman, Mr Drogba.
4) Despite being caught in possession more than once early on, I think Aaron Ramsey recovered to have a decent match. His passing, in general, was much quicker and simpler than in recent weeks. Whilst the pass that set up a volleyed chance for Robin was lovely and he got through a lot of defensive work. Which was probably a good thing as…
5) Alex Song’s success at the chipped through balls appears to have gone to his head. For me, he also needs to refocus on doing the simple things first- winning the ball and giving it. As a first team player for the last three seasons, surely he’s realised by now that not every pass has to be a defence splitter.
6) Options! If we’ve learned anything over the last two, frustrating, home matches it’s that beyond Robin, we don’t have a striker worth the name. Okay, we mostly knew that anyway, but in two successive home matches we’ve needed a goal and in two successive home matches, Arsene has preferred to look at his attacking midfield options than at Marouane Chamakh. It’s difficult to remember a fall from grace so sudden. The fact that the wayward Gervinho is a preferred option to Chamakh tells you everything you need to know. In fairness to the Ivorian, I thought he was one of our livelier players on Saturday, which is good news as he’ll probably be required at the neanderthals on Saturday. As for Park…
7) I’ve said enough about us being good for third that, to go on about it now would seem as though I’m tempting the gods. So all I’ll say here is Spurs now need a miracle to catch us. Newcastle obviously can catch us by winning their game in hand, but they also have to face both Chelsea and Manchester City and I’d be shocked if they got maximum points from those two fixtures. Chelsea, well things are a bit similar for them. If Saturday proved anything, it was that they’ve- rather optimistically, to my mind- put all their eggs in the basket marked “Winning the Champions League”. The folly of that could be shown up as early as tomorrow evening- although I think they may just sneak through- Hex! Hex!
It couldn’t happen, could it?
Finally, for today, I’d like to say offer my congratulations to Robin van Persie. Obviously, you know by now that Robin was deservedly crowned the PFA Footballer of the year last night. Speaking to Press Association Sport, the Dutchman said,
It is very special because you are playing against them week in week out and every single player does everything to win. In the end, if they make up their minds that I am the best player it is a big honour.”
He then went onto praise his team mates,
“Without them I could not have achieved it… For example Theo Walcott, he has given me more than 12 assists and I do really appreciate that.”
Robin also said that he would sit down and have a chat with Arsene over his future. I really don’t think there is anything to see here. At least, not if you look at the previous player to wear the Arsenal armband. For me, it was clear that Cesc wanted to leave for about 18 months before he did- I don’t see anything like that in Robin’s demeanour on, and off, the pitch. I think Robin might also look at Cesc and the real possibility of him finishing the season having not won anything of great meaning and realise that in football there are no guarantees. None of which is to say that Robin wouldn’t have a better chance of winning things elsewhere. However, I think that, having come from where Arsenal have come from this season, with quality players to return and reinforcements imminent, there’s no reason not to look forward to next season in Arsenal colours.
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