So what last night 1 point gained or two points lost?
Certainly before the game, a draw would not have been a bad result. And having gone 1-0 and 2-1 down within the first 19 minutes, I am sure many would have been happy with a draw. However, going into the 90th minute leading, we should have seen the game out. So in the end, it was 2 points lost.
In the last 13 games between Arsenal and Liverpool, there have been 8 goals in the 90th minute or later. So it should not have been a surprise to anyone that there was late drama last night.
It was frustrating to concede so late once more. A lot of fingers have been pointed at Arsene Wenger & Mikel Arteta. Wenger for his substitutions, Arteta for his performance.
Firstly on the subs, yes, by taking off Ozil, Walcott and Campbell for Arteta, Gibbs & Oxlade-Chamberlain, we were going defensive, and it was sitting back that eventually cost us. However, had we kept the attacking players on, and drew 3-3, we would also be moaning that Wenger messed up the substitutes and should have bought on defensive reinforcements.
Yes, Campbell was putting in a shift defensively, but anyone watching the game could see he was blowing out his arse by the time he came off. The Gibbs substitution is always one I like as he can assist in attack, but is obviously a natural left back so adds defensive cover. It just did not work this time around.
As for Arteta, it is a little bit cruel to blame him. Yes, we could have bought on Chambers in the middle, or Gabriel and gone with 5 at the back, but in Arteta, you get the added bonus of his ball retention. To blame a player who was only on the pitch for 6 minutes really is having an agenda. The goal he could do nothing for. A long ball deep into the box from the left. Blame the centre backs for not clearing it, or the keeper for getting down slow. Don’t blame Arteta.
Where I would blame Wenger is the 87th minute substitution. This is a tactic he often employs. But it confuses me. Do it on the 90th minute. When we are already into injury time. That way we can waste a little bit more time.
As for the result, in the end, whilst it did leave a bitter taste in the mouth, we did not concede any ground to our title rivals (I do not count Leicester as a rival). Manchester City drew at home, we drew away. Yes, we missed a chance to go 6 points clear of City, but part of me was expecting us to concede the lead in the league to them last night.
In a mid-week set of fixtures where Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs & Everton all failed to win, one thing is for certain, there are plenty more points be dropped this season.
Finally, well played to all those who travelled last night. It was just the 2nd league game I have missed this season (the 1st being Southampton away on Boxing Day). No trains, lot’s of traffic, and getting home at around 3am. I take my hat off to you. You did not stop singing. Our away fans are definitely the best in the league. See you all at Stoke!
So Arsene Wenger confirmed last night that Mohamed Elneny has finally joined the club. Speaking after the 3-3 draw at Liverpool, Wenger said: “He has joined us and we will see if he can qualify for Sunday.”
Again, people have had a moan up about how long it has taken for him to join. Clearly these people have never attempted to get a work visa anywhere. I would say the couple of weeks it has taken Arsenal is fairly quick compared to if an Egyptian worker in ‘normal life’ attempted to get a work visa. They would wait months.
Transfer take time. Unfortunately in this era of instant news, social media, and hits for cash, ewe have become impatient. The blogs and news outlets continually writing articles daily about him being ‘close’ just to get the hits for their advertising revenue is the biggest evil.
Those fantastic journalists at The Metro have published 36 articles about Elneny in the last 7 days. Deals do not take a long time to complete, they just seem that way due to how much crap we have to read through.
Let the transfer progress at their natural speed. You would be an idiot to think that the club are incompetent enough that they delay transfers to damage the club. I am sure if the Elneny deal could have been done earlier, it would have been.
As for the player himself, I know nothing about him, and most of you probably also know nothing about him. I have not even watched his Welcome to Arsenal video on YouTube yet. I probably won’t either. What is for sure, it is a reinforcement nice and early in January where we need players. Will he start against Stoke City? Probably not. But I am sure we will see him come off the bench, and hopefully he can be key to our title run in.
More good news for Arsenal fans. Alexis Sanchez is likely to return against Stoke City. Like Elneny, it is not hugely clear if he will be fit to start, or eased in from the bench. If I was a betting man, I would go for the latter. Although this is Sanchez. Put him on the bench for the first 60 minutes and he will probably spend its entirety warming up.
He is a class player and hopefully the enforced rest should see him 100% for the run in to the league title. His return is key as Ozil, despite still getting loads of assists in recent games, has gone off the boil a bit. Hopefully Sanchez back in the side will give Ozil that bit more space to work, and vice versa.
The odd thing is, we have not actually missed Sanchez. Since he picked up his injury against Norwich at the end of November, Arsenal’s form reads:
Not bad for a one man team hey!
Whilst he has not been missed, it will be brilliant to get him back as it gives us options, both in the starting 11, and coming off the bench.
A return to the starting 11 will enable us to use Theo Walcott as a striker once more, giving us the option of Olivier Giroud on the bench. Or alternatively mean that either Walcott or Joel Campbell are on the bench, alongside Oxlade-Camberlain, pretty much doubling our attacking options to bring on.
It will be good to have you back Alexis.
He clearly is not the lamppost that many people would make out that he is.