Thoughts from the Shakhtar game: Not the end of the world

It was supposed to be a difficult game but we made it really hard for ourselves. We hardly ever shifted into top gear and let them control the match. By the time we realized the game was getting away it was too late.

The game

There isn’t much to talk about as we failed to impose our control over the match. We made it hard for ourselves as we gave away possession needlessly and left them to attack us at will. They were quick, accurate and confident in their build up as they took the game away from us despite going a goal down. We never really got our passing going and made a lot of errors.

Walcott’s goal

Very well taken goal and I must say it was against the run of play as Shakhtar were pressing us high up field. Wilshere got the ball and he passed it early into the path of Walcott who sped away from the defenders and slid the ball coolly past the keeper. At that moment I had a feeling we would settle down but it never transpired.

Midfield

The battle was lost at midfield as we had no control over it for major parts of the first half. It allowed the Shakhtar players to put us under pressure and press us far up the field. It made us to give away possession quite a few times and that made them to create goal scoring opportunities.

Shakhtar goals

With constant pressure from their side, they eventually had to score. A free kick was delivered in to the box and Chygrynskiy had a touch before it was deflected into the back of the net by Eastmond. The second goal came from a mistake by Clichy. The ball was nicked away from him by Srna when he took too long to clear a simple ball. Srna squared it then to Eduardo who nailed it.

This brings me to Clichy’s performance

One match he makes an important assist, the next match he makes an error that costs us. As much as I like Clichy for his commitment on the pitch, he is error prone in defence. Most of the times we get away from such mistakes but at some point it are going to cost us as happened last night. As much as most of us want him to become a world class left back, the more he is going back words. The problem is that Gibbs remains injured most of the times or he would have replaced Clichy by now. As it stands Clichy needs to get back to the basics or the cost won’t be just three points the next time.

Coming to Our second half performance

It was much better than the first half as we showed some urgency. Still we never really had the game under control. We had a few chances but failed to utilize them. I had said before that we would have to be clinical in front of goal but we again didn’t take our chances.

Coming to individual performances

Fabianski had solid game. He made some good saves. Both our defenders were good at times but did commit a few mistakes. Eboue was not at his best as he was struggling against the pace of Shakhtar. Nasri and Rosicky failed to make much impact. Wilshere was our best player by far. Eastmond didn’t cope well under pressure. Bendtner was taken out of the equation by the Shakhtar defence and his bad first touch. Walcott scored a good goal but other than that didn’t do much. JET tried hard in the final minutes. Vela added urgency to our game but wasn’t enough. Chamakh also didn’t make much of an impact.

Conclusion

The defeat is bad but it isn’t the end of the world. The manner of the defeat is what concerns me. Wenger pointed out complacency to be the problem and I agree with him. I don’t know how many more losses we have to suffer because of this. The moment we think the job is done we lose focus and in the end we are scrambling to cross the line. Why can’t we be ruthless and kill the matches before they get out of our control? I guess I would never know the answer to this but seriously we cannot relax before the job is done.

I don’t agree with the ‘lack of maturity’ reason though as most of these players have been playing for a long time. And for how long we are going to hide behind not being mature. To not take the initiative is not lack of maturity it’s stupidity. A task is never done till it’s done and you can never be certain of a win. I don’t know what they had in mind but I never want to see us play like that again.

I wont blame individuals on the loss as our whole team didn’t play well.

Still we are in a strong position in the group. Realistically we should win the next two games to top the group as Shakhtar also has to play both Partizan and Braga and they can win both their matches.

The next match is against Newcastle and let’s hope we don’t make it hard too. This month is important for us. We need to put this defeat behind us and look forward.

Keep the faith!

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