Confidence is a funny old thing isn’t it.
There were a lot of Arsenal fans speaking to me yesterday and in the days leading up to the game about how they thought we would win and we finally had the chance to go to Old Trafford and get a result. Don’t get me wrong I love the confidence but we shouldn’t get too far ahead of ourselves. We have had an amazing start to the season, an amazing week with the wins against Liverpool and Dortmund but if this loss brings us all a little closer to earth I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Being a fan that goes to games my opinion always seems to change, if only slightly, after I see the game or highlights back. There is always something else you see, something you wouldn’t have noticed or taking in when at the game. I was at the game yesterday and came away thinking we were poor, we had a go in the second half and should have taken one of our chances to get a point, but ultimately I didn’t think we did enough.
After watching it back on TV I changed my opinion slightly and think we did ok. We had a lot of the ball and restricted them to a few opportunities, it wasn’t the best game but we were not as bad as first thought. The second half was better than the first with chances coming and we moved the ball around better. Although we had possession we struggled to get going in the final third, chances and creativity were lacking, we just wasn’t as fluid as we have been so far. We didn’t drive forward as I would have liked us to. The flu virus that hit the camp meant we lost Per and Rosicky which were 2 big blows. It meant our midfield had Ramsey on the right with Flamini and Mikel holding the line which didn’t help us at all. Ramsey cannot create on the right, he needs to be in the middle and it shows Wenger knows that when he finally switched it later on and put him back in there. Rosicky has been excellent in recent games and we missed him yesterday, he has been doing so well in getting the team forward, the way he gets his head up and drives is a big positive and when he is not playing we miss that. We did so much better when Jack came on, we moved forward and made those chances, he took Ozil’s position in the number 10 role and played it better than the German had. Stories coming out this morning about how Ozil was also hit by the virus are yet to be confirmed but it would explain a lot as I think he was missing a lot of the time. When he was out on the right he got more of the ball and looked better, maybe Jack should have started in front of Ozil if he was ill.
Giroud did well up front working hard for everything, trying to hold it up and bring other players in but when we have no midfielders driving on to join him he is always going to struggle. There were a couple of times when he got the ball and could have looked up to drive on himself but he doesn’t have that pace, he doesn’t have that game in him unlike Suarez for example. He can get the ball anywhere on the pitch get his head up and run forward. We do need another striker and it has to be someone different to Giroud, someone with pace and skill to run at defenders and finish. I think Bendtners time has come to an end, I get the feeling from Wenger that he really doesn’t want to put him on but has no other option. That is his own fault however and should have brought someone in when he had the chance in the summer. Bendtner was ready to go and has released more stupid quotes this week slagging off the club, saying about how he wanted to go, he clearly doesn’t want to be here and we don’t want him here. Get rid ASAP please.
I think the defence look solid and felt comfortable together, they did very well considering the late change and playing against two quality players in Van Persie and Rooney they had to be on top form. We have been accused of not being tight enough at the back recently but you can see the improvement the defence has made. Vermaelen came in and did well alongside Koscielny, Sagna and Gibbs on the widths also impressed and deserve credit.
I don’t think United looked that dangerous at all and we defended against them well especially without Per. That loss was huge for us and the reason we went 0-1 down. Had he been on the pitch there is no way RVP would have got up to that ball to head it in. They didn’t do a lot and it was a pretty even game barring a few instances. We were unlucky and should have taken a draw. We had a few big chances, Sagnas crosses late on were incredibly good and we should have got on the end of one of them, Ozil’s shot which he should have hit across the keeper, Giroud should have pulled the trigger instead of taking another touch and there were a few other occasions, Ozil exchanging passes with Giroud, if only he carried on the run he could have been in.
Overall I’m disappointed as I think we were due a draw but the most important thing is to get our heads up and look to the next game. We have to remember that we were missing Per, Rosicky, Theo, Chamberlain and Jack didn’t even play the first half. This result doesn’t make us a bad side and we will see how we respond next against Southampton at home.
Something I have to mention is how many Manc fans are on the train to and from Euston. It must be embarrassing for United as a club to know that so many fans come up from London on the train for their home games. My train was packed with them and I have seen it before from when we have been up there but it still shocks me every time. There were 2 youngsters at London Bridge who had come from Euston, they obviously live in South London somewhere and travelled the length of the country to watch United. Why they don’t support a London club is beyond me! Tells you everything you need to know about their fans, late comers and glory hunters.
Heads up Gooners, onto the next one
Up The Arsenal!