Arsenal News Blog

fact and opinion intertwined

We are starting games far too slowly

Posted by James Dall on 29, January 2007

1-1 yesterday in a game which neither team really deserved to win. We started with the line-up I predicted but the team itself started slowly. Now this leads me onto my talking point. In the past three games we have had average first halves. We have begun them slowly and it has taken us until the second half to realise our tempo must increase. Playing the type of football we play, we cannot play it slowly. All that lovely passing is useless without speed and urgency. If played sluggishly it enables the opposing team to get back into shape and deal with us easily. So take the last three games for example – against United we were OK first half but nothing special, second half we certainly picked up our game and when conceded we picked it up further. Against Spurs we were slow of the blocks, going in at half time two nil down. Second half we dominated. And now yesterday, the first half we were below par, beginning of the second half marginally better and then when Bolton scored we dominated the game. Why is it taking us until the second half or until we concede to really get going? Is it possibly due to the fact the team only really wakes up when they realise defeat is on the cards? Or is it simply because teams develop fatigue against us and after the first half they struggle to maintain their first half display? I am not sure but I would prefer to see Arsenal start a game how we finish them.

We drew yesterday of course. The first half was pretty uneventful, Bolton played well. We had two half chances, one a shot from Theo, the other a cheeky back heel from Henry. In the second half we had better tempo and pushed forward with more desire. Bolton went ahead with a good move, which was ruined in the fact that the final ‘pass’ was clearly a scuffed shot. Annoying. They could have gone two up if it weren’t for a sound save from Almunia. We then dominated proceedings trying to find an opening. Our equaliser came through a free kick where Toure’s header bounced off the turf over the goalkeeper. Given the ever growing injury list we played quite well. Baptista appears to have picked up a knock though, and now there is a lot of talk about Arsene making a ‘panic buy‘. Before I jump on the band wagon of who we might buy and making more out of what Arsene actually said, I will wait and see the official news of Baptista’s injury. You can read Arsene’s reaction here.

A for individual performances – our full backs were solid again, still showing signs that every game they are improving. Toure and Senderos were fine in my opinion. Toure surged forward a lot in the first half, something I think we all enjoyed. He is a terrific player and man. The next captain…? Rosicky woke up in the second half, Fabregas managed to hurt them more in the second as he found more room and was not as tightly marked, Flamini worked hard but does lack pace. Walcott was a tad better, the more he plays the more beneficial it will be to him. Henry and Adebayor were not great. Baptista looked the part when he came on though, I really hope he is ok and fit for Wednesday.

In other news Gilberto thinks this is not his best season. He is right, the fact he has scored goals has meant that he has had more limelight but he has been a great player for us for a while now. We all welcome him back for the Spurs game.

That is it for today, more tomorrow.

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4 Responses to “We are starting games far too slowly”

  1. Gus J. said

    Absolutely spot on: neither team deserved to win. It was simply poor football from both sides.

    With Bolton you know that the effort will always be there, but for Nolan to come out and claim that Arsenal were ourplayed is a bit over the top.

    And Arsenal, well every time they square up to the bruisers from the north, they appear almost comically small in stature.

    I am always suprprised at our desperation when we play Bolton.

    But one player deserves mention and no, it is not Cesc. Even though the kid was as always a class act. And it is not even Kolo, who aside from the goal was a gladiator. No, the player who deserves special mention is Antony Gardner. He was brilliant. What a player. He completely took Theo out of the game and managed a few good runs himself. Absolute class.

    But as much as I respect and admire Gardner, I am always shocked at Abdulaye Faye. He is a destoyer, and not the Makalele type player. But a Savage type of player. He is my definition of over the top. Pretty much every single tackle from this guy takes the opposing player (with or without the ball).

    But Kudos to Bolton for yet again exposing the fact that our team is composed of lightweight kids, who when rushed tend to lose their composure a bit too easy.

    Still, who wouldn’t want to see us stuff them 3-0 at the Reebok, and have that maniac Faye finally sent off for his incessant fouling.

    By the way Meite also looked an interesting player.

    To all a great week.

    With football optimism

    Gus J.

  2. Danish Gooner said

    I can not accept that Arsene will now pick his battles.We must go full throttle on all fronts….This is Arsenal and not sperds.Get the chequebook out you cheap bastards.

  3. Raj said

    Not an enjoyable day at the Emirates yesterday. One of those days when you sit there wishing you’d watched the game on Sky instead. You are absolutely right in that we started slowly and didnt get going until they scored. That seems to be the way Arsenal play at the moment. I’m quite annoyed that we’ve now given them a great chance to proceed. Do Arsenal have the mental strength to win at the Reebok? I’m not so sure. We should not be intimidated by a team like Bolton Wanderers. I just wish Arsenal would put 5 or 6 past them and end this bogey team nonsense.

  4. […] We are starting games far too slowly […]

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