Not the best way to go into the international break, in fact it’s probably the worst after losing to that shower of…..
The afternoon clearly didn’t start too well when both Per Mertesacker and Tomas Rosicky were sent home from the squad due to sickness. Thomas Vermaelen stepped in for the big German and and Mathieu Flamini replaced Tomas Rosicky.
Mikel Arteta and Serge Gnabry were also feeling under the weather, the Spaniard did start, but the young German was on the bench.
During the first half, the home side had the better possession but until their goal, they didn’t really look like scoring. In fact Wojciech Szczesny was called into action just once and that was from a Rooney shot which had taken a deflection.
They did however break the deadlock on the 27th minute.
Vermaelen headed a cross from Rooney away for a corner, one which was whipped in for van Pursie to head home. Gibbs tried to get his head in the way on the goal-line but to no avail.
Yes, Mertesacker would have probably cleared that one, but he wasn’t playing…..
We couldn’t get our passing going at all in the first half, too many times a pass found a man in red, we seriously looked jaded and totally off our game. Maybe the Dortmund game had taken it’s toll, maybe the sickness bug was in a few other players, it certainly looked that way.
Giroud had a chance just after the half an our mark, but his header was weak and over the bar…..
Szczesny was battered into by Phil Jones as the pair went for a corner – the Manchester United man looked interested in only one thing and that wasn’t the ball. For a few moments it looked like our goalkeeper had been knocked out cold but he was soon talking and was able to continue. Jones was booked and rightly so!
Nemanja Vidic and David de Gea bumped into each other just before the break and the former went off for treatment.
That was pretty much it for the first half, one which saw Oliver book Sagna and Flamini.
Half time came and went….
Vidic didn’t reappear and Tom Cleverley replaced him.
We were a little better in the second half and had a few half chances. Ramsey had a shot blocked, Vermaelen blasted over from a free-kick and Mesut Ozil shot into the sidenetting when maybe finding a team-mate would have been a better option. The same could be said about Vermaelen’s free kick.
Rooney nearly made it 2-0 but after some clever work on the ball, but he dragged his shot wide of the post.
As the hour mark came, Flamini was replaced by Jack Wilshere and he looked good. Sagna whipped in what has to be said, the perfect cross and all it needed was a touch but there was no-one able to get that little touch.
Gnabry came on in place of Mikel Arteta with just seven minutes to go and he too looked good. In hindsight maybe Arsene Wenger would have been better to have started with him to give us more width and pace down the right but hindsight is a wonderful thing. However, both Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil had stinkers, he had nothing to lose by bringing the young German on a lot sooner. He’s young, unafraid and seldom hesitates to run at defenders, something our more experienced players didn’t do enough of yesterday.
Just before the end, Sagna fired another fabulous cross but the big
lazy lump Danish substitute couldn’t manage to get any part of his body on the end of it. Nik had a chance, a good chance but he blew it!
Why? Because he isn’t and never has been good enough to play for Arsenal and why he is even on the bench, I don’t know. We have younger players in Akpom and Afobe who are desperate to play in our first team. Well maybe it’s time they were given their chance because I sure as heck don’t want to see Bendtner in an Arsenal shirt again!!
That was only our second defeat of the season but it feels worse… Much worse.
On another day, we would have won that game but a culmination of illness, injuries and a lack of pace and width played it’s part in our defeat…
If’s and but’s maybe, but neither win football matches – width, pace and better performances do.
As said earlier, Dortmund may have taken a lot out of the players, as could illness, so let’s not batter the players too much..
What I would say though, having just two or three better players in the squad would make a huge difference, especially a player who can come on and score a goal……….
The next two weeks will be long and miserable so if anyone feels like writing a post to brighten the day, please just email me…
That’s it for another day…..