Arsenal Shoot Themselves In The Foot But Salvage A Draw

What do you make of that?

It was the same old story for Arsenal fans – a game that we dominated in terms of possession, but couldn’t win. We took the lead early on with a Sanchez goal after 13 minutes but after that, we lacked urgency, desire and passion which is a far too common theme in these home games. If we’re not at the races, we simply go through the motions and it happens far too much.

Hull had a game plan, like most other teams visiting The Emirates have, and were happy to sit deep and get us on the break. You can’t blame teams for setting themselves up for that when the come to Arsenal because quite frankly, it’s a tactic that works well – and we have no answer for it.

Hull City were fortunate to equalise after Flamini looked to have been fouled and then they took the lead straight after the break and from then on it was all Arsenal. We had the vast majority of possession but couldn’t do anything about it. Apart from the equaliser from Welbeck and the late late chance for Gibbs at the death, I don’t think the Hull keeper had much to do.

The passing in the second half was pedestrian, which was worrying considering we needed an equaliser. Cazorla and Sanchez tried to make things happen but we didn’t have the urgency to players willing to shoot.

We pressed and pressed and pressed and finally, got through on 88 minutes. Sanchez waltzed his way through about 4 players with a clever dribble and picked out Welbeck with a fantastic through ball. Welbeck controlled the ball well and his finish was excellent.

After that, the fans were well behind the team and there seemed like a real chance that we could actually nick all 3 points. We had the ball in good positions but we couldn’t find the right final ball to take advantage of scoring the late equaliser. Kieran Gibbs had a late chance at the death but it was asking a lot for him to score from something which wasn’t even a half chance.

In the end, we manage to salvage a draw but we all know that when it comes down to it, that is not good enough.

Arsenal Clearly The Better Team As Lucky Chelsea Park The Bus

It was always going to be a big ask going to Stamford Bridge and after the humiliation of last season, Arsenal vastly improved on last years performance and deserved at least a point from this afternoon’s match.

Arsenal started with Flamini, Jack and Cazorla in midfield, with Welbeck supported by Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil. The more conservative formation worked well, and restricted a robotic Chelsea side to only a few half chances.

It was a close contest, with Arsenal looking much stronger defensively than they have been in recent big games. Then a piece of magic from Eden Hazard broke the deadlock.

Chelsea’s number ten waltzed past Flamini and Cazorla, and with Koscielny the last man making the decisive challenge and give the hosts a penalty. Koscielny received a yellow card when he could have perhaps picked up a red. Losing a man and a goal from the penalty would have meant the game was effectively over as a contest so we were fortunate we could still play the rest of the game with eleven men.

But after that though, Arsenal’s “luck” ran out.

Oscar made foul after foul and didn’t pick up a booking until four minutes until the end, and Gary Cahill almost took Alexis Sachez’s leg off with a reckless challenge and should have been a red card.

Then the biggest decision in the game proved decisive in the end.

A shot from Jack Wilshere was blocked by Cesc Fabregas in the box, but clearly by his hand. It wasn’t even a close call – Fabregas had his arms high in the air and the ball hit them. I don’t care if it’s intentional, it’s a penalty.

And that would have made it 1-1.

Once Chelsea scored from the penalty, they parked the bus.

Only one team wanted to actually play football and it wasn’t Chelsea. Arsenal were making all of the play, trying to score a goal and were faced with ten blue shirts in their way. Arsenal had some good passages of play, mainly through Jack Wilshere, but it was too much of an ask. Watching the way Chelsea set up shop, I wondered if any team could get through such defensive tactics.

Although hardly surprising given this is a Jose Mourinho side, you wonder if Chelsea fans like watching this kind of football?

Given a transfer budget which eclipses ours by a massive margin, it’s still amazing he still plays so negatively. Have ten men behind the ball and play off the break? You’d have thought a team like Chelsea would have more aspirations than that, but no, they like boring football that gets results.

Arsenal fans can be proud of their team today, as they gave everything. Wilshere, Flamini, Cazorla and Sanchez never gave up, and the back four were solid. The issue Arsenal had was Mesut Özil, who had a very bad day in the office.

At 1-0, with Arsenal needing a goal in the second half, the game was begging for Oxlade-Chamerlain to be introduced with at least half an hour left, and it should have been for the lethargic Özil.

But what does Arsene Wenger do?

He introduces Oxlade-Chamberlain with only 25 minutes left, and takes off Santi Cazorla!

Alongside Jack Wilshere, Santi was our most creative player – and added to that, he actually tracks back and defends, unlike Özil.

I understand Özil is our record signing but Arsene needs to recognise when Özil needs to be taken off. It is ridiculous to think a player can always have a great game and Özil was a million miles away from that. Taking off Cazorla is something which is mind-boggling, and even the player himself was mystified as to why he was hauled off.

Obviously Arsene was hoping that Özil would come up with that piece of magic, or the final pass that would make the difference but ultimately, he was slow, lazy and didn’t contribute a single thing to our performance. You don’t care if a player is in a bad patch and isn’t in form, as long as they give 110%. I’ve always supported players like Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere when a lot of Arsenal fans were slagging them off because they may not have had a good game but they bust their balls off in an Arsenal shirt.

That’s all we want to see when players put on the red and white of Arsenal so to see a player waltz through the game without a care in the world is painful to watch.

On Özil, my thoughts during the game sum him up:

The game in end showed Chelsea for who they are – a functional team that will sacrifice football and the beautiful game for results. A side which is boring to watch, and a team full of massive cunts. Any respect I had for Cesc Fabregas has well and truly disintegrated after his actions on the pitch.

It didn’t take him long to become a “true” Chelsea player.

Leicester City Prove That Arsenal DESPERATELY Need A Striker

In the end a frustrating game where Arsenal couldn’t beat a newly promoted Leicester City side.

Having lost to Chelsea and drawn to Everton, Leicester were not intimidated by the arrival of Arsenal and a draw was probably a fair result – although it could be argued that the home team had the clearer chances on goal.

Arsenal looked lively at times and but the home team were content (and quite rightly so) to sit back and hit us on the break. Just like at home to Crystal Palace and away to Everton, we struggled to get our passing game going and we greatly missed the presence of Olivier Giroud in the side.

With various options in the squad, Arsene opted to start Yaya Sanogo and his inexperience showed. His touch was poor, and he couldn’t hold the ball up and bring others into play.

And if you were connected to Twitter during the game, you would know that the majority of Arsenal fans were not happy with the fact Arsene decided to miss out on Remy, who ended up going to Chelsea.

It is clear that even against a side such as Leicester City, we struggled to take our chances and you wonder how we are going to fair leading up to Christmas without a decent striker.

The fact is, we desperately need a top class centre forward.

But what are we going to do? Falcao is off to Real Madrid, we’ve missed out on Remy… Our options are quickly dwindling and the number of decent strikers available must be into the single figures. The sad thing is, we have a decent defence and midfield, but not top striker. With one in the squad, we could probably do great things this season.

As ever, Arsene is being extremely stubborn and it’s clear we’ve made our one marquee signing per summer with the arrival of Alexis Sanchez. The Chillean was excellent today, and by far our best player – he showed fight, desire and determination throughout the 90 minutes and tried to make things happen.

The other players however, were poor. Ramsey tried but couldn’t get his passing going, as did Cazorla, while Özil looks like he’s still suffering from a World Cup hangover. Flamini is not the defensive midfielder we need and Yaya Sanogo had a glorious chance to put us ahead but shot straight at Baby Schmeichel.

Chambers was excellent when he came on for Koscielny, and Per, Debuchy and Monreal all had solid games. But the problem was in the final third where Arsene decided not to use Podolski or Campbell.

Sanogoals is not the answer and it’s unfair to have him as the scapegoat for Arsene’s inability to see that we need to bring in a top striker. Chelsea already have Diego Costa and what do they do? They strengthen as they obviously have aspirations to win something this season and bring in Remy, who is a decent player. We desperately need a striker and don’t get one, it really is mind baffling.

So where do we go from here? Without a decent striker we struggled against Leicester City, and that does not bode well for the rest of the season.

The excellent Sanchez got us out of jail today in a game we could have conceivably lost. Without a new striker, we could struggle to get 4th place this season.

Players Fight For Arsene Wenger In Biggest Game Of The Season

The season only started 11 days ago and tonight was one of the biggest games of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal career. A goal-less draw last week in Turkey meant that nothing but a win would do – and an away goal to Besiktas could prove hugely problematic to our hopes of playing in Europe’s premier competition.

The referee was extremely picky, showing his yellow card every 12 seconds. In terms of letting the game flow, he was awful and I think he was worse than the referee we had in the Champions League Final in 2006, and that’s saying something.

In terms of nervy nights, this was right up there. Arsenal scored when Alexis Sanchez slotted the ball home after good work from Mesut Özil and Jack Wilshere, but after that we struggled to increase our lead. With a single away goal from Besiktas enough to knock us out of the Champions League proper for the first time in 17 seasons, every miss added to the immense pressure – with Oxlade-Chamberlain having the best chance to guarantee Arsenal’s progress.

As Besiktas chased the away goal they needed, the game opened up and Arsenal had numerous chances to bury the game. It didn’t come and the referee, who made a series of terrible decisions all night, decided to send of Mathieu Debuchy after clearly winning the ball.

After that, it was all hands on deck as Arsenal defended for their lives, literally.

Chambers came on for Özil and the team were fantastic. Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Nacho Monreal – everyone in fact, were immense, showing a huge amount of fight, desire and determination to get past the finish line.

In a world where some managers find it difficult to get their players to play for them, here there was no doubt whatsoever that Arsene Wenger doesn’t have the complete backing and trust from all of his players.

Arsenal have struggled in recent games, mainly because the majority of our players were involved in the World Cup. Without adequate rest before the start of the season, we’ve had to slowly get our rhythm and fitness back which has affected our performances – but in the past where we could have played badly and lost games, we’ve played badly and not lost any.

What does that mean when we do get our form and everyone is playing at the top level?

It means we’ll be a real force this season, home and abroad.

I’m So Glad I Got Everton at 10/1 To Finish Fourth This Season

Arsenal have been in free fall ever since the hiding at Anfield in February and as I’ve mentioned numerous times on this blog, the form between Liverpool and Arsenal since then has been polar opposites. Before the Anfield debacle, we were 7 points ahead of them and before this weekend even kicked off, we were 8 behind – in the space of under 2 months we’ve conceded a 15 point swing.

That’s why a few weeks ago I look at the odds for Everton to finish 4th. They were a good few points behind us at that stage (I can’t remember exactly how many it was) and they were 10/1 to finish 4th. Yesterday, before the game the odds were 3/1 and now after the decisive defeat to Everton, they would have surely become even smaller.

And even yesterday, I even predicted that Everton would demolish Arsenal. I got some abuse for writing that, with people calling me a negative twat (amongst other things). I’m not negative, I’m realistic. I watch Arsenal all the time and can see how the players are performing on the pitch.

The problem is (and I’ve received criticism for even suggesting it) is that we no longer have any belief. We don’t have any fight, there’s no desire and we have lost the plot. I suggested that Arsene Wenger had lost the dressing room and is there any evidence to dispute that? The players walk onto the pitch and walk around as if they don’t care.

And again today, as I predicted, we were a shambles. I highly rate Roberto Martinez and his side are hungry, determined and simply wanted it more. At Arsenal, failure is accepted and even rewarded it seems, with new deal after new deal given to players who consistently fail to win any honours.

As it stands, Everton are a single point behind us with a game in hand. With Arsenal unable to turn up to any away game then Everton who are the far more hungrier team, are favourites to get that final Champions League spot.

And I for one won’t be disappointed and will be ready to collect my winnings come the end of the season.