By Bilal Zaidi
Today is a depressing day…a 1-0 loss to Man City is simply not acceptable for a club looking to challenge for the title. I know it is only early days…and yes I accept that one loss isn’t the end of the world…there are still 36 games for us to play to win the league…but who can really expect it after only the first few performances we have seen.
We played our first leg away to Zagreb well but to be perfectly honest we shouldn’t expect anything less. Am I being harsh? Not really…if only the team and manager had this harsh attitude we might actually try to shoot instead of pass the ball every time an opportunity occurs to shoot! No excuses…none of that “it’s a young team” stuff…none of that “we have to settle in our new stadium” talk either…todays match was a disgrace and even though against Villa we were tremendously unlucky after hitting the bar etc, it is still fair to say one point from the first two league matches against two teams who aren’t in the top 6 of the league…JUST ISNT GOOD ENOUGH.
Our second leg to Zagreb again wasn’t brilliant by any means…we struggled to create clear cut opportunities and the ones we did we didn’t put away. The whole world knows how to defend against Arsenal…sit back…pack the midfield….over crowd us…and let us continuously pass from side to side trying to score wonder goals.
Im a HUGE fan of both Hleb and Rosicky…but with both of them continuously drifting into the middle and looking to always pass inside…Hoyte being right footed and doing the same…is just meaning we are passing it from left to right all day. The other night Walcott came on and gave us real width…even though it looked like he came on at first to stay up front…today he did the same…coming onto the left and at least trying to get to the byline. We badly missed Reyes on the left who gives us a left foot and direct runs…Cashley again would have provided us with similar attributes but lets simply erase his memory away from our brains….
Rosicky played very nicely in the first leg away to Zagreb and his zippy passes and inside runs looked to suit us perfectly…BUT today we saw that we don’t have another route…no ball over the top, a direct lash across goal or even a conventional cross for a header. Arsene has never played like that and up until last season his revolutionary method of play was still successful in breaking the opposition down with slick passing, cute through balls executed at a rapid pace from athletess…add Thierry up at the top and that is a winning formula…UNTILL somebody realises that they can just sit back and let us pass…passs….passss some more and snatch a winner from a free kick, corner or on the break.
Perhaps I am being overly harsh…but im not being stupidly harsh…to say our team isn’t good enough would be…they just need to open their eyes and realise that teams have a game plan that they will stick to and a lot of the time it works. After our heroic run in the champions league last year, I hope people don’t forget that we just scraped into qualifying for the very same competition with 11 league losses in 38 games…THAT’S EVERY THREE AND A HALF GAMES we lost…today it was our attackers who really let us down…that means midfielders and strikers…so far its two games played…one draw and one loss (in the league)…I hope that we can recover from this early set back and really take it to the other teams who we are better than…teams that could never play the sort of football we play or achieve what we have the potential to achieve, without meaning any disrespect to those other teams…Arsene you are an absolute legend in the world of football, there isn’t a character like you…BUT PLEASE can you realize what the whole world has realised last season, if you lose so many players over the course of 3 or 4 seasons, and you replace them with youth team players, they wont perform to the same standard over a 38 game league…over a cup competition like the champions league perhaps…but its time we get to the top again where we belong…
What did you think of today’s display?