Can we just settle for 3rd place instead?

Like all the arcade games and all the video games you’ve played and enjoyed all your life, there would be a time when the all fun and pleasures would come to an end whether you like it or not. It’s ‘GAME OVER‘ for the Arsenal !

The mental side of the match:

With the Man Ure thrashing Liverpool 3-0 resoundingly and affirmatively earlier, it would be time to spur the Arsenal that any dropped points at the Bridge wouldn’t do their ‘title bid’ any favours. In fact, that defeat against Chelski has put them 6 points adrift of the defending champions, Man Ure.

It was a March month to forget in a hurry. Aside from the fantastic victory over AC Milan in the UCL, domestic woes have blighted the Arsenal season during this accursed month. Starting with the February 23rd draw against Birmingham CFC, the Arsenal has dropped points against 3 other teams; Aston Villa, Wigan and Middlesbrough. Taking Aston Villa out of the equation (they are quite good on their day), that would be 6 dropped points. I’m not suggesting that it has got to be definitely a win over these sides but a win from any of the 3 should have been better ain’t it.

I think the defeat would have come to the senses of the lads. For the first time this season, after the Chelski 2nd goal by Dogba, Arsenal heads were drooping to the chests – Cesc Fabregas was already thinking of showering and going home. Putting this loss into perspective, the lads just have to try to win the last possible silverware now with 2nd or 3rd place now up for grabs. It may not even sound too remote now that the Arsenal may even end up 4th like the past seasons if they don’t pick themselves up after this nadir.

We’ll have Bolton Wanderers next. Remember that they have beaten Man Ure at their home turf earlier this season and I really don’t think that the Arsenal has any sort of answer to their regular English game. A draw there would have been kind, I think.

Arsene Wenger refused to throw up the towel and insisted that the team can still win the title. Well, he’s won titles with the team before, and I haven’t – so whatever he’s asserting about title chances are likely to be quite correct. Thing is – there aren’t many games left in the season – just another month or so to make things count. Even if the Arsenal do win all their remaining matches and hope that Man Ure lose to both Chelski and the Arsenal, there was the 3 match marathon against Liverpool where any slip ups would end the Arsenal season for good.

However, a quick glance at the Premiership table appears to be deceptively kind on the Arsenal who have lost the least times in the Premiership but are among the teams who have drawn the most. Even Man Ure has lost 4 times this season (ha!). The Arsenal is currently 3rd in the attacking charts after Man Ure and the Spuds (!) and this was done without a true, predatory striker. It’s actually quite a good season for the Arsenal by their lofty standards although it may yet be another barren season.

I really hate March.

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Technical side of the match:

I never thought I’d say this but the Arsenal should have played more like Chelski. The Arsenal never looked like scoring; but Chelski really played total football in the regular sense of the word – even Cashley Cole had a free header at the Arsenal goal. When Chelski attacked, they looked more and more like scoring – it’s more like how rather than when.

I’m aware that both the culmination of the Chelski goals were dubious decisions of offside but the linesman was consistently correct with his judgment on most occasions so I’m not going to needlessly tirade him over that. You might say that Chelski were relying a lot on the breaking of the offside trap to fashion something of note but haven’t the Arsenal played like this for most of the seasons when they won titles? Remember the defence splitting passes for Thierry Henry to break free and score taking into account the various times which the former Arsenal legend was called offside?

Most importantly, Chelski always looked dangerous going forward – take nothing away from that fact. They linked up well and have had Kolo Toure and William Gallas ran ragged.

In attack, the Arsenal haven’t got a clue on how to make goals. It’s the same thing I’m repeating because the players are also doing it without fail – get the ball deep into opposition half; got blocked by defenders; pass left, pass right then lost the ball and succumb to counterattack. Really, is this a team who’s supposed to win titles by attacking in this same offensive maneuver, faithfully? I’m starting to make envious glances at the squad depth of Chelski and Man Ure – there’s enough quality on their bench to make competition for places all the more exciting.

Some notes on selected players: –

a) Emmanuel Eboue – clueless on the pitch and had little to offer to the team. Why not Theo Walcott? What were you watching during the match Arsene ?! Please do us fans a favour and offload this bastard from the team. I’ve never disliked Arsenal players in my life but he’s starting to make my blood boil everytime I watch him strut his worthless stuff.

b) Aliaksandr Hleb – doesn’t know that his dribbling skills were awful and that if you dribble, you’d need speed to match that. Besides that, he wasn’t that good at linkup play and moving the ball forward. The Arsenal needs another type of player from now on. If he wants Italian gelato from now on, I’d say he deserves it.

c) Kolo Toure – culpable for the 2nd goal through and through. What was he thinking about intercepting that pass like that? Also, he looked tired and shorn of the same combative spirit which saw the Arsenal where they were in the season. Probably a bad patch, but who knows.

d) William Gallas – if one centreback wasn’t functioning well, then the 2nd malfunctioning one compounds the problem – both the Arsenal centrebacks were playing Russian roulette with their offside traps once too often. These 2 central defenders didn’t heed the warning signs when Drogba was called onside for the first time.

Some players to commend –

a) Bacary Sagna – happy with his first ever goal for the club – his pent up emotions when he scored that wonderful header summarised how he felt during the moments of anguish following the death of his brother. Arsene didn’t go wrong with this purchase and it was a worthy investment after the crap Lassana Diarra.

b) Manuel Almunia – if not for the Spaniard, it’d have been even worse. Where he can’t rely on his centrebacks to cover for him, he relied on 3 good saves against Michael Ballack and another good one from Dogba. Too bad about the 2nd goal as he did get a touch to it but it wasn’t enough. I’ll bet that Butterfingers Lehmann would have screwed things up royally in Almunia’s stead.

Some players in danger of being has-beens: –

a) Emmanuel Adebayor – big man but without brains to go with it. This is why the Arsenal would always miss Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and co.

b) Robin van Persie – still rusty after the long layoff. Can’t blame him.

c) Cesc Fabregas – he’s still a wonderkid but even wonders have to work hard to remain in this fairytale state. Remember Home Alone’s Macaulay Culkin and that Dougie Howser teenage kid, Neil Patrick Harris who fell by the wayside after having assumed that they’ve made it big when they have been delusional about their biological age. Ok, I won’t be harsh on him as he’s still a kid but I feel that he could have done a lot more with yesterday’s game.

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Currently, the title is Man Ure’s to lose. I dread to think about the match at Old Trafford with the current set of players the Arsenal has and with their single-minded attacking strategy. I can only offer damage control exercises as the order of the day when the Arsenal meekly face up to its northern rival. Let’s work for 3rd place and the Champions League now.

 

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