I don’t quite know where to start. I really don’t give two hoots for the neutrals who we have to keep saying must be loving watching Arsenal matches at the moment. Of course the beauty of football is that it does ensure those who fall for it’s charms discover every single emotion known to man, and then some. But in ninety minutes? I don’t mind confessing at one point I wondered if my curry-inspired indigestion wasn’t something more sinister.
Let’s start with the glorious positives. We did contribute to a proper toe-to-toe slugfest of a game, and looked to have crawled off the ropes to snatch a sensational victory. Olivier Giroud is coming very close to looking the complete centre-forward. Menacing in the air and a fine touch on the deck, he also put in a shift chasing lost causes and keeping Reina on his toes. The header that got us back in it tonight was the least he deserved, and but for a vital touch from Agger he would have won the game with a near post tap in.
Theo Walcott may have scored the equaliser, but he will doubtless acknowledge the part played by Giroud with the perfect set-up. That moment proved to be the culmination of an astonishing performance to rescue something from the position that the back five had put us in. I didn’t realise the Chuckle Brothers family had become so extended. As much as there were plus points to take from the evening we cannot ignore the shambolic defending that gave Liverpool a two goal start, and almost gifted them the last laugh into the bargain.
We have to give Liverpool some credit for the pressure they created with their early pressing. I thought their first-half performance was the most ambitious and impressive they have given at the Grove. Suarez may be a despicable individual, but as we saw tonight he can also be a wonderful footballer. However even he will be smiling inwardly tonight at his good fortune for the early opener. From the moment Bacary Sagna did his impression of a new born foal the Arsenal defence produced a collective series of errors that defied belief.
In the second-half a near identical farce unfolded on our left flank, by which time the only defender not to have completely messed up, Kieran Gibbs, had succumbed to yet another injury. The dreaded ‘three weeks out’ prognosis will have done little to calm those who feast on the many shortcomings of his replacement. I kind of feel sorry for Andre Santos now. Called on so seldom he has no sort of form or fitness to help him when he is thrust into the spotlight, very clearly an increasingly round peg in a square hole.
After the whistle there came news that Norwich and Reading had ensured our neighbours had not got further ahead of us. Of course if your glass is half-empty that can also be quite rightly interpreted as us missing an opportunity to close the gap on them. How many more chances will we get? Once again a nervous and tetchy closing few months lie in wait. Here come more of those aforementioned emotions.
I obviously don’t know what is in store for the next twenty-four hours and I don’t intend to provoke that debate here. We all know what the various forums and social media sites will be like tomorrow. Fortunately I have a busy day to distract me, and with that in mind I should consider winding down with a fine malt. Don’t forget to pop back in tomorrow (Thursday) evening for the second part of BtM’s guest post, unless of course I have instead to review a raft of super quality deadline day signings. Yeah right…
G’night for now, ‘holics.
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