Arsenal News Blog

fact and opinion intertwined

The agony of defeat

Posted by James Dall on 26, November 2006

It is hard to stay positive and actually write anything to be honest, when you have anguish pumping through your veins. We of course lost 3-1. This defeat hurt, it is a blow to any sort of title hope. Which I think we are all agreed are over, especially as before the game our chances were so slim. Wenger agrees that we now cannot compete for the title.

I will run through my interpretation of the game, although this is not something I am going to take pleasure in writing. Firstly the starting line-up interested me. Jens and the back four were as expected however the midfield made interesting reading. No Hleb, he was on the bench. Hleb, as mentioned on the previous blog, I feel has been a stand out player for us. Whether Wenger felt he needed a rest i don’t know but for me, in such a big game we needed him. He works very hard, tracks back, always looks like he is going to beat a man and is deceptively strong. Walcott started wide right of the 5 man midfield and to be fair to him had an excellent match attacking their full back, he was full of running. The opposite can be said for Ljungberg. He looked weak, I am aware he is still not match fit and I hope to god he starts picking up his game but I just don’t think playing an un match fit Freddie was wise against a team such as Bolton. I am not sure he took it passed anyone once. Another interesting note in that Baptista did not start. Surely against the apparent physical nature of Bolton the Bap is the clear answer. Gilberto was back in, and although he did his defensive duties fine, still there is no bite in midfield. Flamini worked hard but never reall imposed himself. I really don’t know, I just can’t really justify that midfield.

Adebayor was up front on his own and may as well not have been there. He offered very little and yes hit the woodwork (which we did 3 times in total) never looked dangerous. If I were a center back and had never played against Adebayor before I would be worried however as the game went on it would become clear to me that although he has a presence he never uses it.

Our first half display was well below par. The goal we conceded was shocking. A corner again, I think that is now 3 this season. No one picked up Faye who is massive and in it went. Just devastating as it is such school boy stuff. How can we not be concentrating fully on defending set pieces when we know that we have conceded twice before off them. Especially as both time we ended up losing points AND Bolton are renowned for causing problems from them. Argh…

Then late on in the first half Bolton counter attacked and it fell to Anelka. Now take nothing away from a fabulous strike however again for me Eboue defended terribly. He gave a top player about 4 yards space. You cannot do that, it is textbook defending. Eboue can clearly afford to get tight to him, if he does get it jinked round him he is rapid and probably could recover. Simple coaching in that for me rule number one for defending is keep the ball out of our box, whether that is a shot or a cross or whatever. Get tight to tour man, do not give him space to shift it, limit his opportunities. It was Dyer all over again Eboue showed him onto his stronger foot. Shocking.

I would also like to touch on the other full back – Clichy. Once again his final ball was dreadful, painful infact. And defending he looked worrying. I hope fos ours and his sake that this is just a case of him working his way back…

We clawed one back after they scored, just before half time with a Gilberto header. At half time I had hope, it was a glimmer but it was there. I knew that if we would step it up there might be something still remaining for us in this game.

To summarise the second half, we did play better, we did step it up but it was still not good enough. We hit the woodwork a couple of times, Hleb came on – finally and Baptista came on too. For me the 11 we ended with should have started the game. They scored an excellent 3rd through Anelka again. Heart wrenching. We had gone down to a shoddy first half display. Something which I just cannot comprehend is why oh why did it take until we went 2-0 to realise we had to dig deep. I am positive if we had started with the starting 11 mentioned and started with the attitude of the second half we would have come away with something.

For now I am on a real low, if we play supremely against Fulham and qualify for the second round in the champs league maybe my spirits will rise. But right now, and I am sorry to say it, things are pretty bleak…


2 Responses to “The agony of defeat”

  1. annoxero said

    It’s really annoying huh? And the worst thing is it’s all too predictable. Let’s hope we pick ourselves up against Fulahm, and give the Totterers a real hammering. 😉 Personally I’ll be very happy if we could get the three points at Porto and progress to the next round, as that is our very only chance for any notable silverware this season.

  2. annoxero said

    Well I see you’ve added me to your blogroll, heh. big Thanks. The thing is I do my blog mostly on my free time and actually there’s no guarantee that I’ll manage to do write something on there always. And actually my blogs a very general one, I wont’t limit it to only Arsenal stuff, though it looks very much like an Arsenal blog at the moment. 🙂 Anyway I’ll add a link back to you in my Arsenal links section the next time I log into my dashboard. Your blog is quite a good read. Nice work.

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