Middlesbrough (1) – (1) Arsenal
The Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough
It’s becoming a season of disappointments, and today’s game at The Riverside was no exception.
After the spineless showing at Porto, Arsene Wenger amazing went for the same trio in midfield with Denilson, Diaby and Song who had shockingly bad games in midweek. And today wasn’t any different.
They were terrible.
Throughout the game, all I kept thinking that Cesc deserves much better. As the little Spaniard stroked the ball around, held up the ball and made things happen it’s completely obvious that he isn’t just on another level to his midfield team mates, but this guy is on a different planet.
It’s a far cry from when Fabregas first started out in the first team, when he learnt his trade alongside Vieira, Gilberto, Bergkamp, Henry, Pires and the others. And these bunch of players weren’t just world class, they were more importantly winners.
This current side are only interested in the big games.
Away games at Fulham, Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Stoke and Manchester City have shown that Arsenal just can’t be bothered performing in the less glamorous matches.
The only players in the squad who you can say are world class and consistently play well are Fabregas, Sagna and possibly Gallas – although he seems to have struggled a bit since losing the captaincy and disillusioned at the attitude of the young squad. A lot of people will point to injuries to key players like Nasri, Rosicky and Eduardo but the fact is the depth and strength of the squad is down to the manager.
It’s so hard to watch Arsenal when Fabregas is playing because in terms of ability, temperament, dedication and loyalty he is miles ahead of any of his team mates.
And it’s his loyalty and attitude ever since he’s been at Arsenal that makes you want Fabregas to be a huge success with us. But looking at the current set-up that seems light years away.
Can you blame him if he moved on? I wouldn’t, and I’d wish him all the best for the future.
How much longer can Cesc put up with playing in a team of average players?
There is no balance, and even worse there’s no fight. Last season Flamini set the tempo with his energetic running but today it was lethargic, like it has been for most of the season. Without the ball, we just don’t close down like we used to and with it only Fabregas could use it intelligently. Diaby on several occasions in the first half could have played in Van Persie and Adebayor for simple chances but both times decided to shoot from positions where scoring would have been a miracle.
Adebayor’s fury at Diaby’s inability to play him in said it all.
And Song passing the ball in-between Fabregas and Van Persie in the second half from only 5 yards away (and giving away possession) just summed his performance up.
Arsenal scored after 17 minutes from a Fabregas corner and some Arsenal type defending let Adebayor score from 4 yards out with a free header.
As you expected, this sparked a Boro response and 12 minutes later it was Aliadiere who equalised with a diving header after some amateurish and naive defending from Clichy.
You would expect Arsenal to step up a gear, but it was Middlesbrough who looked more likely to score the winner.
Last season we were fantastic until the depth of the squad was exposed in April, but this season it’s already happened and it’s not even Christmas.