Arsenal News Blog

fact and opinion intertwined

No surprises in away day defeat

Posted by James Dall on 31, December 2006

I did not watch the 90 minutes as I was at a family do. It appears that missing it might have been a good thing. I was checking every couple of minutes on BBC and we were not creating anything. I was also checking on a couple of Arsenal forums and the fans were not enjoying it one bit.

Aliardiere and Baptista started. Fabregas did not. Confusingly if someone is not fit to play they should not be on the bench in my opinion so why oh why do you bring on our creative force late on? Baffling. Apparently Baptsita and Aliardiere were poor. To be fair to the both of them (however I only see a future at the club for the Bap) playing in that game certainly was not the easiest one to make an impact in. None the less both players got a battering on the forums. I have sky plussed the game so will give it a once over later on today maybe. Although I am not sure I can be bothered to torture myself. The result brings just about sums up 2006 for us. Playing well against big teams and then churning out limp wristed, nothing performances against the lesser teams. We are now fifth, I really despise losing. I am of course aware that we had many many players out but so did Sheffield United for goodness sake. They even had an outfield goalkeeper in net for a while, he did pretty well to be honest but we barely tested him anyway.

I do not mean to pass blame, especially as the whole team did not create many chances at all really but Jens had a nightmare on the goal. Toure did get too tight to his man (the second time in 2 games Toure, somehow, has been turned and outdone for pace) but he had time to recover or at-least pressure him, Jens came storming out his net giving Nade almost an empty net to pass into. Highly disappointing.

The main point is that since the 3-0 victory of spurs we have been playing quite well and certainly have had a draining run. One which we have come out of pretty well. Hammering Spurs, nicking a hard point away to Porto, followed by the hardest working display I have seen from us against Chelsea, then a scrappy victory against Wigan, drawing against Portsmouth after an excellent but un-needed comeback, then victories against Blacburn and Watford. ALL without key players not mention Henry. You cannot tell me that Chealsea and Manchester United would have done the equivalent without their key man – Drogba and Ronaldo. Point made I think. Yesterday I think was a culmination of fatigue. With the injured players coming back although they have been injured it will have been valuable resting time.

Arsene’s reaction can be read here.

Now I do not want to finish 2006 on a bitter note. So I shall try and be positive. Charlton on Tuesday, Pardew’s new team. I’d expect him to get a battering from our fans. I also expect a big performance. Defensively and going forward. I am not sure who will be back, that might come clearer tomorrow or on Tuesday itself. We need Eboue back, or ideally a 100% fit Lauren, then we need Gallas along side Toure. We need a fresh four man midfield of Hleb, Gilberto, Fabregas, Rosicky and we need Hnery to be back to his world class best. Him up front with either Adebayor of van Persie would delight me. So clearly with players returning to fitness there are many positives. Diaby returning early on in 2007 will be a boost I feel. I keep looking back at his display at Fratton Park last year where he bossed the midfield.

Anyway I hope you all have a fantastic New Years Eve. Expect a late ish blog tomorrow. Bring on a successful 2007…


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