Morning, delicious creatures.
Yesterday was a frustrating day. I don’t know what the weather severity was like in your corner of the globe (that doesn’t make sense) , but here in glorious Bristol it was awful. Most of my day was taken up with Christmas shopping in a perpetually sodden state and sitting at home in the warm certain the noise outside my house was a f**king 747 flying 20 feet above the roof.
I had hoped for The Arsenal to provide some salvation and boost my spirits heading into the period of forced festivity and faux jocundity. Alas, they did not. Much like the rest of the day, it was frustrating. Having spent a few hours or so having a think about the game, I’m still left with an overwhelming sense of disappointment. A solitary point isn’t likely to be the catalyst for the apocalypse, but the performance wasn’t at all good. Some people like to lay blame at the door of Mike Dean’s officiating or Mourinho’s negative we’re-happy-with-a-draw tactics, but before we get to those areas we have to look at ourselves first.
Firstly, for the majority of play our passing was terrible. Yes – I’d be the first to agree that the weather conditions didn’t allow for flowing football and its beautiful intricacies, but conditions are the same for both parties. Chelsea’s distribution for the most part was better. Having not had the burden of a busy schedule, it’s certainly not unfair to expect a little better.
At the back we looked solid. Mertesacker was commanding and as thoughtful and calm under pressure as we’ve come to expect. Given his lack of starts, Thomas Vermaelen didn’t put a foot wrong. In fact, all of the back 5 and Mikel Arteta put in a good shift and only looked troubled very briefly when Tubby Fat Frank threw one of his trotters at the ball and struck the underside of the bar. It was offensively I thought we looked poor. Rosicky did his best to quicken play and make things happen, but Ramsey looked off his game and Ozil couldn’t get into the match – a fact that has lead to all manner of ridiculous statements emerging. I guess when you come with a large price tag, you’re a walking target for bitter morons who’d have you at their Club in a heartbeat.
Which brings me to Olivier Giroud. Again, he’s getting the majority of Internet bile for missing a good chance to win the game. Granted, he should probably have at least hit the target, but it baffles me how quickly one error can make some people forget all the good work that has preceded it. Giroud’s biggest trouble, as far as I’m concerned, is he doesn’t have any competition, or someone to take a little of the burden from his shoulders. Wether we sign a striker in January remains to be seen. We’re strongly linked to Diego Costa of Atletico Madrid, but I suspect that story is nothing more than journalists adding 2 with 2 and reaching 37.
We need another valid option. Can Podolski do a job now he’s returned from injury? Perhaps. I wouldn’t be at all shocked to see Lukas start at West Ham on Boxing Day. What is important is that we support Giroud as best we can. He’s proven himself a valuable member of the squad and a threat to opponents. I love the guy; he’s unselfish and a real team player. He works his socks off for Arsenal.
The main talking points from such a drab and uneventful game were a couple of decisions and Mike Dean’s, frankly, shit-awful attempt to referee the game. Dean made one enormous blunder amidst what appeared hundreds of lesser mistakes by not giving a clear penalty for a foul on Walcott when it happened right under his nose. How he couldn’t see something so jarringly obvious is astonishing. However, I do agree with his failure to dismiss Obi Mikel for his challenge with Arteta. Both players went in equally and at the same time, Arteta just happened to get there a fractions sooner and catch the force of Obi Mikel. It could have quite easily occurred the opposing way round.
Speaking after the game, Arsene had these words to say about the result and the decisions that didn’t go our way :
“It is a solid point but two points dropped at home because at home you want to win your games.
“But it can happen that in this kind of game you drop the points. We were a bit edgy with our last result (a 6-3 loss at Manchester City) I think played a little part in our head, but the team did fight very hard and I think on points we should have won it, especially in the second half.”
And on Mike Dean’s unwavering shambles of a performance:
“100% penalty. In my mind there is no doubt” Why it wasn’t given - ”That’s a question you should ask the referee – I cannot give it.”
Mourinho’s tactics were also maligned. We all know ‘The Special One’ is a miserable, tedious old sod when the big matches come along, so parking the bus came as no surprise. A point at a title rival away from home is a pretty good result – certainly better for Chelsea than us. Can you fairly cast aspersions on how he set his team up? Not really. However others set up the teams we play should be of little concern. Yes, he may have spoiled the game as a spectacle, but it’s up to us to break down the teams we play. When you consider Arsenal hardly registered a meaningful shot on target the whole of the 90 minutes, I’d say any blame or reason for the outcome should be aimed at our own first.
That’s not to say there is too much reason for dismay. At this point, the race for the title is wide open, and it’s safe to assume there are plenty of twists and turns to follow in the coming months. As things stand, we are very much in the race. At this point, that is all we can ask for. We could be sitting on top over Christmas had we turned in a better performance of got a little more luck, but it just didn’t happen. There’s little time to dwell or be bitter. Move on, and focus on the next one.
That’s all for today, folks. The comments await your thoughts below. Let me know how you felt about the result, the performance and the big decisions.
As always: thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.