The game on Saturday was not an eye catching encounter but one where we did enough to get the important three points. After only one point from the last three games it was a necessary win for us. The game, as we started and dominated with the possession, should have been an easy encounter for us but as always we made things complicated for our own selves. Still we got the win albeit some controversy and frustration, I am in no way complaining here, just a fact.
I have a few concerns though. Foremost is that we are good in keeping the possession but in front of goal we lack decisiveness. We may get away with a few games like we did on Saturday, but this thing is going to be a problem in the future. The case being the Chelsea match; we dominated the possession there but could not take our chances and lost the match.
On Saturday again we had good movement in the centre but in front of goal we lacked that extra creativity required to score goals. How many times we got to the edge of area and then were at a loss what to do next. We just delayed our build up with extra touches and sideways passing. It never used to be like this. We need to be direct and a few early passes will not harm us. Also a few long range shots will not take away the beauty of our passing.
Some of our players are more at fault for this habit of sideways passing and unnecessarily making things complicated. Specially Diaby. He was phenomenal in his movement in the centre on Saturday. His powering runs from the midfield were a treat to watch. But his vision for a pass, his decision making, his creativity in the final third was just as poor. Perfect build up play is not going to help us win games; goals are going to win us games.
The other concern I have is about the defence. Our defence looks vulnerable every time we are under attack. And the goals we concede against the run of play are now a norm I guess. Our defence really needs to pull up its socks because we won’t be spared by other teams. Birmingham didn’t create much but whenever they would approach our goal, the defence would not look comfortable. Especially after they took the lead, our defenders panicked whenever a long ball was played into the danger area.
This brings me to the question that have we really improved in the defensive department? I don’t think so, because the goals that we have been conceding are all down to some bad defending. We are not comfortable with long balls, our defenders positioning is all wrong and most of the times they are caught ball watching whenever a ball is played in. We don’t clear the danger area correctly as we panic a lot and it just looks like a comedy show. And this has been the case for quite some time now. Arsene clearly needs to work this out or we are always going to concede soft goals.
Coming to the Wilshere tackle, it was a bad foul and rightly deserved a red card. Wenger and Wilshere acknowledged it and I hope I don’t see another Arsenal player committing this type of a tackle. Wilshere needs to learn from this mistake. The three match ban is going to give him some food for thought. I hope that every other tackle like this is punished the same way. But to compare it with the Taylor tackle is totally out of proportions.
The penalty awarded was just one of those incidents which can be related to ‘a mountain made out of a mole hill’. Chamakh got the slightest of touches and he made the most out of it. For me it was not a dive because he was touched. That is what most strikers do these days but still I don’t want to see such tactics.
On the other hand the performances of Wilshere, Chamakh and Song were exceptional. Rosicky made a good cameo appearance. Fabianksi had another good game, Eboue slotted in well for Sagna, Nasri was cool on the spot kick, it was good to see Bendtner return, Squillaci had a good game, Djourou and Clichy need to improve their positioning otherwise they were okay and Arshavin needs to be more involved.
Everything aside the win has closed the gap from Chelsea to 5 as they dropped points. Man Utd also dropped points so a good weekend for us in strengthening our position.
Tomorrow it’s Shakhtar and looking forward to a much better performance with a win of course.