Wenger: “We gave a poor defensive performance from the first to the last. We never felt comfortable. There was a bit of bad luck because the first [Anderlecht] goal was offside but our defensive performance was not good enough. Across the pitch defensively, we were very, very poor.”
The world and their dog knew that without reinforcing the defence this summer,every now and then this season we would get shown our arse and last night in the space of 30 minutes Anderlecht managed to score 3 against us at our home.
This type of result was coming and no-one should be shocked, but to put the blame the players solely is unfair.
Nacho Monreal is an average Left Back at best. He has been shifted into CentreBack as our 3rd choice Centreback, whose only 19 was shifted to Right Back, due to our 2nd choice Right Back from last season being on loan at West ham. Meanwhile, last seasons 3rd choice CentreBack and captain was sold and not replaced.
We only had 2 defenders not fit and that resulted in 2 players being played out of position due to lack of cover.
Wenger said should Vermaelen leave, the club will find a replacement because the Belgian is “an important player in our squad”.
Now the draw last night isn’t the end of the world, we need 1 point from the last 2 games to get the money spinning last 16 games and either way we would’ve finished 2nd in the Group.
Jurgen Klopp could pick 11 players off the pitches at Market Road and still get a draw against us. It begs belief that with 30 minutes left last night we go from having the job done and being able to rest players in the last 2 games to 2 tricky final games.
Arsene Wenger has blamed “Fatigue” after just 18 games (including last night) of this season, but to be fair we have looked poor all season.
Wenger: “I think when we lost Mikel Arteta we lost out because he was one of the few who defended well. That didn’t help”.
Mikel Arteta is as much a Defensive Midfielder as Theo Walcott is. It’s not his natural position and when he was in his prime at Everton he played in an advanced position. Wenger even bought him to replace Cesc Fabregas, who is obliviously not known for his defensive capabilities.
Matheiu Flamini is our only real Defensive minded midfielder and he came on for Arteta for the last 30 minutes, just in time to be on the pitch whilst the wheels fell off.
Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey have been poor all season. It did not come as much of a shock they stumbled and faulted for most of the game. But to be fair neither of them will ever be the best at tracking back, again like Arteta it’s not there natural position. Never has Gilberto been so missed as this current squad.
With 10 minutes to go and with the score at 3-2, Wenger bought on Tomas Rosicky and Lukas Podolski in an attempt to kill the game. The former lost the ball with his 1st touch, the later is not known for his ball retention skills. Between them, they made 2 successful passes.
The greatest shame about last nights game (apart from half the ‘fans’ in the East Stand deciding a train home at 3-2 was better than supporting the team when they most needed it) is we should be now falling over each other to declare undying love for Alexis Sanchez who was head and shoulders above everyone on the pitch.
Not only was he our best attacking player he was also our best midfielder and to quote @husaby1 from twitter “Shame he wasn’t in goal for the penalty”.
Alexis had a hand in all our goals, He was tigerish in tracking back, he ran at them with strength and control, he threaded balls with precision and accuracy and his goal was instinctive. It was like watching and I don’t say this lightly a mix of Dennis Bergkamp and Rocky Rocastle, pure class. Maybe instead of singing ‘he scores when he likes’ we should sing ‘He carries our team’.
Our majority shareholder, who has as much a clue clue about ‘soccer’ as he does for discreet hair pieces must know where we are going wrong. But does he care as long as we win the 4th place cup and get into the last 16 of the Champions League? probably not.
Ambition at anything in life must come from the person in charge, be it a company or a ‘sporting franchise’. As a club we are constantly going 3 steps forward and then 3 steps back. We resolve our forward lineup in the summer, only to weaken our back line and for too long under Stan and Wenger we have been 2 or 3 players short every season.
A strong owner would put pressure on his manager to gather together the best players he could with the money available, apart from us, we prefer to show off how much is in the bank.
A change is needed desperately at the club and has been for a number of years now. Giving Wenger a 3 year deal as manager in the summer was a huge mistake, he wont change. He will continue to be tactically naive in today’s game, he will continue to under spend the resources he has, he will continue to buy too many players who just are not leaders on the pitch, he will continue to play players out of their natural position, he will continue to make daft substitutions, Welbeck and Ox for Podolski and Rosicky last night is a shocking example.
Wenger really needs to sit down today and listen back to what he himself said after the game, look himself in the mirror and then do the right thing ask Stan to find a new manager.