Yesterday when reviewing the game I said I’d be happy with 3 points no matter how we obtained them. Perhaps that was a touch exaggerated. Winning the match against Leicester was, obviously, of paramount importance. Dropping points at home to the side bottom of the table would have been abject. Yet we didn’t look anything remotely like a solid, cohesive unit last night and allowed our opponents to not only make a game of it, but probably warrant having taken something home with them.
In short, we were sh*t.
Whether the reasons for that stem directly from losing to Spurs is debatable. Some jitters and nerves are expected during a fixture in which winning is vital and that’s often compounded on the back of a defeat. However, more worryingly so, we looked complacent and sloppy far more than jittery.
We started reasonably enough, but even in the early exchanges there were plenty of signs Leicester could be dangerous if we didn’t perform our defensive duties. Mesut Ozil, arguably the stand-out performer on the night, was integral in both the goals that saw us go in at half time 2-0 up. He showed his usual bursts of vision and guile on the ball and bagged himself another 2 assists – the first a corner delivered to the feet of Koscielny and the second a rasping shot deflected in the path of Walcott.
Perhaps operating under the assumption the game was already won, we looked appallingly off colour in the second period. Leicester seemed to sense this and gradually got themselves into the game and began to create chances – good chances. Had their players been of a higher quality (no disrespect intended) I’m fairly sure we would have been on level terms pretty soon.
Our rear guard seem to look disinterested and huge gaps were appearing – notably down the right side covered by Hector Bellerin. The youngster has impressed in recent weeks but I don’t think it is coincidence that our opponents are beginning to single him out as an avenue they can exploit. The young Spaniard is still a little raw and often finds himself caught out of position. I don’ think he warrants blame entirely as there needs to be someone marshalling him and that rarely seems to happen.
Francis Coquelin ahead of the back 4 did his best to cut off the supply and win back possession. Even The Coq, who has been brilliant, didn’t have the best of evenings. In fact, across the back 4 and David Ospina, it was jarringly off colour.
Speaking of Ospina, I’m not sure I think he’s a better choice than Szczesny. Granted, his attitude and approach appears far superior, but I don’t think I’d say he’s the better goalkeeper. Whilst he hasn’t been bad, he doesn’t immediately fill me with confidence, notably when coming for high balls.
Finally, it has to be mentioned that we witnessed another utterly terrible display of officiating. The frequency with which I find myself lambasting referees might sound worryingly churlish, as if I’m hunting for a means to excuse other deficiencies. However, if you watched the game, you’ll know just how bad he was – at one stage he even contrived to yellow card Olivier Giroud for being struck on the back with the ball in what was one of the most ludicrous bookings you’ll ever see.
Having grumbled about the display, it’s worth remembering we got the 3 points and with Liverpool beating Spurs we go back into the top 4. The means of accomplishing that might not have been the greatest, but we got where we’d want to be and can build on it. The real downside was worrying injuries to Alexis and Ramsey, both of whom hobble off with what appeared knee troubles. There’s no news on either as yet, but I’ll crossing every crossable part of my anatomy that it’s nothing serious.
That’s all for today, folks. Feel free to leave me a comment below and discuss the match. I shall return tomorrow with more. Until then, and as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.
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