Well, the game did play out to some of my expectations. I expected that the match wouldn’t be a walk in the park but I never expected a draw or drop of points. I expected a bad performance from Denison but not a freak goal and mistake from Almunia and Squillaci. I expected any one of Arshavin, Van Persie and Nasri to produce a big moment but I never expected four goals to be scored. As it stands, we are now five points behind Manchester united with a game in hand.
As far as the performance is concerned, it was below par for like an hour and only when Arshavin scored the first goal out of nowhere, we became alive. The more alarming thing is that it took two goals for our players to wake. But that can be taken as an improvement because when we played them last time at the Emirates, it took three goals for us to realize that we were losing, and eventually we did lose that game.
The defense today was in shambles as everyone made mistakes after mistakes. No communication, no coordination, no positioning, everything was erratic to say the least. In the middle also we failed to create much. Our movement and passing wasn’t sharp enough. Upfront, we had very limited chances to score from.
And as for learning from our mistakes, that we will never do. We again had plenty of possession but we created very little opportunities. We again conceded by giving away an unnecessary corner, by a mistake of the keeper and defender and by not closing down the opposition or attacking the aerial balls.
West Brom on the other hand scored two goals with their two shots on goal and looked threatening every time they were in our half.
However, I am disgusted the most with Denilson’s performance and Almunia and Squillaci’s mix up which sums up our failings of the season very nicely. Denilson for me shall never start for Arsenal again. He has been given chance after chance and everytime he disappoints. It’s becoming unbearable to watch him trot at a snail’s pace and then give away the ball when under no pressure. Simply not acceptable if we want to win something.
Same goes for Almunia. He may produce a couple of good games but mistakes such as the one committed today are a telling us quite clearly that he never will be a good keeper and will always cost points. Squillaci too needs to step up exponentially or he will be joining them soon enough. He is just a step behind.
The only positive if it can be taken as a positive is the way we came back. We could have even won it in the end. However, if we had started playing from the first minute it would never have come to that and I see this as two points dropped and not one point gained.
Coming to player ratings:
Almunia (1): I don’t know what he was thinking when he came out of goal like that. Horrible piece of keeping that spoilt the game. It is mistakes like these that he will never be a good keeper as I said before.
Sagna (5): He made a lot of uncharacteristic errors as his positioning was not good and left his side exposed a lot. The corner which led to West brom’s first goal should never have been conceded had Sagna not lost his man.
Koscielny (5): He also made plenty of uncharacteristic mistakes. Needs to improve his partnership with Squillaci or else we will be seeing more performances like these.
Squillaci (3): Horrible mistake for the second goal. Did produce a great block late in the game to deny West Brom a win. Needs lots of improvement.
Clichy (5.5): Upfront delivered in a few good crosses, one of which should have been a goal, had Ramsey done better. However, he did give away the ball on more than a few occasions which led to nervous moments at the back.
Wilshere (6): Nothing much from the youngster as he did well in the second half alongside Nasri in the middle of the park.
Denilson (2): My temper with him has crossed the boiling point. He was in the lineup today as we have no other defensive midfielder. Showed again that he doesn’t want to play.
Nasri (6): Again nothing much from Nasri but similarly to Wilshere did well in the midfield in the second half.
Arshavin (7): Anonymous for like 75 percent of the game. However, produced a magical moment for the first goal and then crossed the ball which led to the second goal.
Van Persie (6.5): Tried his best even without support. Scored the vital second goal.
Ramsey (5.5): He isn’t ready to start games. Lost his man for the first goal and missed a simple tap in the first half. Not going to judge him much as he hasn’t played football at this level for a year.
Chamakh (6) and Bendtner (6) provide good support to van Persie and increased our presence in the box. Bendtner provided the assist for the second goal.