Last night’s game had everything. It was a classic Premiership end-to-end encounter and was undoubtedly, for the non-invested supporter, a wonderful spectacle of flowing football and incident. For an Arsenal supporter is showcased some of our greatest strengths and our most glaring weaknesses. And it certainly didn’t do much to help ailing heart rates and blood pressure.
On a positive note, you have to admire the constant drive and dedication of the the team. Often in the past Arsenal teams have been accused of lacking character. Sometimes this has been justified, others not so much. More often than not, those kind of statements are purposely inflammatory and made by irrelevant players/pundits looking to piggyback into the limelight via a little controversy. Troy ‘cojones’ Deeney, for example. Last night I thought we showed real character to get ourselves back into the game, and not for the first time this season. It’s an addition to our game this season for which we frequently seem to lack any credit.
When Marcos Alonso put Chelsea 2-1 ahead, heads could have dropped and the players could have slumped into resignation. They didn’t. They pressed and harried and they got themselves back into it. It was great strike from Bellerin to level the game at 2-2 and whilst I couldn’t deny we were a little fortunate Alvaro Morato didn’t bring his shooting boots, a draw was fair result and a decent point on the balance of play.
Yet, in the dying moments, it could have been all for nothing. If you are ever looking for an example of Arsenal’s defensive ineptitudes and moments in which players lack basic concentration, look at the Morata/Zappacosta chances just after we had levelled the game. Chelsea kicked off, and immediately split our defence in half with a long ball from their own half of the field. Morata was clean through and his tame finish was parried by Cech into the path of Zappacosta who thumped a shot against the bar. After all that hard work, it was sheer fortune that saved us from defeat in the end and the lack of basic awareness from Mustafi, Holding and Chambers at the heart of defence was terrifying. There is no excuse to be that open and exposed after levelling the game in the closing moments, irrespective of the euphoria. And I don’t particularly enjoy having to shriek uncontrollably like a startled banshee in the face of such occurrences.
One area of the match I’ve failed to remark upon up until this point is Eden Hazard’s cheating, sh*thouse antics for the penalty that got Chelsea back into it at 1-1. Many of the ‘pundits’ on television claimed that the mere contact alone constitutes a penally, but given it was the mildest, tamest of connections that resulted in Hazard writhing around the floor as if he’d just suffered a close range gunshot wound to the shin, I find it bizarre that he’s not being called on his behaviour. There was contact, no doubt, but it was as blatant a case of simulation as you’re likely to see. Last time I checked, football was a contact sport and you can’t go giving penalties for the slightest of contact otherwise you’d be awarding several per game.
Regarding the performance of individuals, I thought young Ainsley Maitland-Niles was the stand out. I can’t recall a time I saw someone so calm and assured on the ball and considering he’s playing out of position on a side of the field that doesn’t necessarily suit his favoured foot, He has looked very solid and creative. His natural position is central midfield and it would be interesting to see how well he performs given a chance in that role – maybe alongside Wilshere in the upcoming league cup fixtures with Chelsea.
Speaking of Jack Wilshere…. (another segue that simps oozes class…) he was interviewed after the game – as is interminably the case – about his contract situation. He stated in an interview with Sky that “no progress” had been made. To some this is worrying news, to me it just means that nothing has changed since the last time they asked the question. At this stage, given his good performances, obvious desire to stay at Arsenal and his ever-improving fitness, I’d assume an accord will be reached. I think it would be extremely foolish not to retain his services.
The result last night leaves us in 6th and someway off the Champions League spots. There is still some way to go, but as our results remain inconsistent and we drop points, the Europa League appears a more likely revenue for us to enter Europe’s most [restigious European competition. If you take a moment to peruse sites offering Free Bets, you’ll see the odds tend to tell you the same thing. We’ll certainly need to up our concentration levels in defence if we want some silverware this year.
That’s all for today folks. The comments section awaits below for your opinions on the game.
I shall return soon with more. As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.
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