Stuttering Arsenal Salvage A Disappointing Draw…

Not sure to make of the game to be honest after that. While the display was below par and nowhere near the Arsenal of last month we did managed to nick a point with a sublime finish from Thierry Henry.

Are Arsenal a one month wonder?

January was fantastic with wins against Charlton Athletic, Liverpool (twice), Spurs, Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers.

But today Arsenal were disappointing, with Fabregas and Henry the main culprits.

And it was particularly disappointing because before the game Arsenal were 5 points behind Liverpool (who drew in the Merseyside Derby earlier in the day) with 2 games in hand. But Arsenal failed to capitalise on Liverpool dropping two points.

Too many Arsenal players were on the periphery of the match and a well-organised Middlesbrough side found it quite easy to cope with Arsenal’s attacks which lacked any killer instinct in the final third and with the final ball in particular.

It was disappointing to see Boro’s young second keeper Bradley Jones hardly have a save to make in the entire 90 minutes.

Arsenal badly missed Hleb and Arsene opted to play Flamini wide on the right when Aliadiere would have probably been a better offensive option. To many moves broke down and as hard as Flamini tried he’s just not able to play on the right side of midfield.

The only player that looked like making something happen was Tomas Rosicky, would tried to take control of the situation and made some decent passes and actually tried to shoot and test the keeper.

But far too many players had off days.

For me Arsenal’s best player was Gael Clichy and that tells you something about the overall team’s performance.

Fabregas was woeful, and looked second best to Boateng in midfield and therefore couldn’t impose himself on the game. Thierry Henry (the goal aside) was no better, trying fancy flicks and strolling around the pitch when the game needed an injection of urgency – it’s days like today Arsenal need to step up their play but it didn’t happen until Middlesbrough opened the scoring after 65 minutes!

For an hour Arsenal were predestrian and it was just like the game against Sheffield United. Arsenal seemingly turned up thinking that just being there would win them the match and I could see Boro scoring from a mile away.

With Arsenal strolling they got hit by the sucker punch on the break and conceded the opening goal (sound familiar?). Yakubu was played through and Senderos was judged to have pulled down the striker and Mike Riley awarded a penalty. Replays showed that Senderos had his arm on Yakubu but the Middlesbrough forward fell very easily. There was contact but you would have to say it was pretty minimal, and for some reason Senderos was sent off. I can guarantee that any other referee would have booked him, and I felt like Lehmann when Phil was sent off!

Anyway, Boro scored and finally Arsenal kicked into gear, spurred on by going a man and a goal down. Lehmann made a brilliant save from Mark Viduka and he was the man who started the Arsenal move for the equaliser. Lehmann threw the ball out and a long ball found Adebayor who headed the ball on to Henry, who controlled the ball brilliantly with his right foot and scored with his left in the bottom corner.

A great goal to level the scores!

It was a great response from conceding the first goal, but should we have even been in that situation in the first place? Anyway, after Henry’s goal the game petered out after that with both sides seemingly content with a point each.

After the game Henry and Viduka were laughing and smiling, swapping shirts and hugging. Am I the only one that was pissed off with that given that we only got a point from a game we could win if our performance was even half decent?

But maybe we’re a team that should be happy with a point?


17 thoughts on “Stuttering Arsenal Salvage A Disappointing Draw…

  1. dont agree aresenal have had a tough schedule the last while and they are strong at home and these are the games we lost last year we showed guts and got a good result the players can have off days,the reason we are not fighting for the title is the points we have thrown away at home when we have started at a snails pace and thengive away a goal and end up with a draw for the record we have thrown away 10 points at home v teams who had one shot on goal.

  2. Disagree this time. Arsenal has had a piled-up fixture list and and even longer string of injuries. They’ve been playing non-stop while in-form Boro had more rest and showed up.

    Despite that, we had better chances and were taking complete control of the game when Riley made that atrocious call. Yakubu already has said he wasn’t touched by Senderos, and on top of that the incident occurred OUSIDE the box. Talk about an argument for replays or some kind of technology.

    Maybe the foul would have been upheld with a replay — that’s the ref’s personal judgment — but it never should have been a penalty.

    As for the performance itself, Arsenal was playing it exactly right, staying tight during the first half to choke off Boro with general ease and then gradually stepping up the pressure — which would have netted a goal — when Riley intervened and changed the game.

    The fact that this tired team ran hard enough to earn a point showed a lot.

    And Henry?

    I thought he had a great game, and it’s worth noting he was the one with a full week’s rest. He got involved several times, scored the great goal and ran his socks off. How could you miss those steals and helping close-outs WAY back in our end near the close of the game?

    I hope you taped the game so you can watch it again.

    I’d say it was going exactly to script until Riley — who also choked instead of going for red when Kolo got mugged — changed the evening.

  3. henry seems to make a habit of embracing oposition players, following the end of the game…………is he after peer acknowledgement of his brilliance when it come to voting for the gongs at the end of the season.!!

  4. You would never see Roy Keane hugging opposition players when he was at Man U. He wouldnt even look at them waiting to come out of the tunnel !
    This is what is wrong we like the opposition too much ! And the sooner Flamini is sent on loan to Bristol Rovers where he belongs the better !

  5. I agree it was similar to the Sheffield game. We just didnt turn up. How many first half goals have we scored this season away from home? I thought Boro was poor but they sensed the opportunity and went for it the way we were playing in the 1st half. Henry’s fancy play is way too much and Rosicky too. In a way am glad Senderos is sent off I think Wenger needs to make afew changes. Thought Gilberto played well at CB. Surely an option in 2 or 3 years. I like Denilson’s win at all costs mentality. He came on and released the ball very quickly he played a great ball to Aliadiere. I really hate Wengers new style of ” keep the ball for 70 minutes and score in the last 20″ & the dancing at 1-1 was embarrasing

  6. This game is a replica of the early days when Arsenal would pass all day bf shooting.

    Me thinks this style is unlikely to win matches. The opposing defenders have plenty of time to regroup and stifle the attackers bf they go into the dz.

    This type of of play is one dimensional and there is no variation in the attack. Even the corner kicks were not of a sufficient ht ti threaten the defenders unlike the one against MU.

    To footballl purists this is how the game shd or ought to be played but unlikely to win games or trophies.

  7. The display was annoying for a number of reasons.

    Firstly, as someone has pointed out this was a typical display that we had earlier on in the season and in the last season at Highbury. We just passed the ball around too much and look where we finished last season! In 4th exactly where we are now!

    Another reason this was annoying was this year it looked like we had turned the corner, being more clinical and taking our chances and making our opponents work. But today was just back to the old days of playing around too much and basically fannying around!

  8. Disagree. The result was dissappointing but it made sense considering how many fixtures we’ve had recently, how many injuries we have and Boro’s fine form of late. It was never, ever as bad as Sheffield United, and the sending off and pen were terribly harsh.

    About Henry smiling and talking with opposition players, frankly the man can do whatever the fuck he wants after the final whistle has gone as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t really affect his performance on the pitch and who the hell are we to tell a player of his calibre ‘no, don’t smile with and hug viduka for whatever reason considering we didn’t hear anything you said, kick him in the bollocks instead next time’.

  9. It looks to me the link-up between the midfield and the strikers are not existent and Flamini and Ade is just not good enough for the arsenal style of play, although they are very hard-working but the football sence just doesn’t click with the rest like fab and rosicky. They actually slowed down our attacking build-up.
    Both Hoyte and Senderos still looks very shaky when they are faced with experienced and pacy opposition.
    The whole team just dont look like they were going for the three point except for Kolo, Rosicky and Silva. My three best from the game.

  10. more annoying than the game is reading these reviews… it’s as if the other team doesn’t exist, and the only reason we ever lose is because “we didn’t show up”. yes, fabregas was woeful, but your statement would sound a little less whiny if you pointed out how many games he has played this season (esp. the last 2 months) instead of stating that boetang had the better of him. and obviously you failed to notice henry running aronud like a madman, trying to run with the ball, trying to play players in, tracking back and defending when we were down to 10 men. it seems that the only contribution you noticed was his goal and that’s it… “trying fancy flicks and strolling around the pitch” is just an insane view of a player who has done remarkable things for us on the pitch, even DURING this match. if you want cloggers who run hard after everything, we could buy heskey or someone, right? and keane wouldn’t hug opposition players… who the fuck wants a psychotic thug like keane in our team? you need to get your head examined.

  11. flamini = bloody awful, why even play him when aliadiere was on the bench. he was fuckin woeful and stood out even among the very average performances around him.

    Riley the cheating ref, why is he not in charge of div 3 games where he belongs. along with most other refs in premier league, why are european refs so much better than english? similiar to the skill difference between foreign players and english players.

    conclusion, as english players are crap, and english refs are crap, as well as cricketers btw, all sport in england should be run by foreigners who are actually competent as opposed to thick.

  12. C’mon you guys. All those criticising the team are as ridiculous as Riley awarding the penalty. I felt the boys did great considering the amount of games they have played and the number of injuries suffered. Give them a break.

  13. Can any gunner fan let me know what happens to bungling refs?

    Senderos offence was outside the box and Boro were awarded a penalty.

    We have suffered enuf from this very same ref who has awarded the rd a high number of penalties most notably when Campbell was adjudged to have fouled a certain loony in 2004.

    I know there is a system of assessment to monitor the performances of refs.

    Don’t be surprised to see the ref to be the 12 player for some opposition

    teams. By the time you know the cup and all impt issues would have been decided.

    I hope the FA crack down on blundering refs by demoting them from the pl and consign them to the 2nd divison games.

  14. i wouldn’t mind if AW played the reserve and lost 0-2 if the players tried their best with the heart and hunger we saw in the recent CC games.

    After the first 45 mins it makes me feel like we are the leading team with 10pts or so to spare but the fact is we are not even safe from the CL spot yet.

  15. WELL SAID ‘ZS at 6:06 am ‘…
    There are only couple of additional points to be added… the first being the referee who should have given a free kick and a yellow instead of the red and penalty, and the second being Le Boss playing Flamini on the right wing… you cannot blame Flamini for being asked to play in a position where he simply can’t… I think Wenger realised and accepted his error, and was about to change things by bringing on Walcott or Denilson in his place, but Riley then put an end to that with another one of his fkd up decisions showing red to PS6. Too many bloggers these days expect us to beat everyone week in week out, and challenge our own unbeaten record… Middlesbro are a good side who also have had a good record against Man Yoo of late. They are not the cheap McClaren side we used to whoop year after year…

  16. no, apparently england are the new cheap mclaren side who will get whipped every year. cannot believe he got the job. and southgate what a head is it made of plasticine?


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