November 25, 2014

The Stats Do Lie

The Galavanting Gooner
By Steve Kessel

It is very hard to know how to feel after Saturday’s game against Man U.  I know that for the rest of the day I felt thoroughly depressed.  An emotion I saw mirrored on of the face of my fellow Gooners as we tried to forget about the game by drinking and playing pool in a dive bar in Detroit.  Didn’t work.  I awoke the next day still thoroughly pissed off and wondering how the hell we managed to lose that game!

It still seems inconceivable to me, Man U had only two shots on target, one of which was saved and we lose 1 – 2. That’s crazy, though not completely unexpected the way that results have been going for us of late.  Every stat was in our favour, except for the one that really matters, the score at the end of the game.  At that is the main stat that has not been in our favour this season.  It doesn’t seem to matter what we try, we just can’t build any momentum.

Let’s look at the game.  We started very brightly and there is not much to criticize about our first half performance.  The one failing we did have was not converting our chances, a problem we had throughout most of the game.  Welbeck started brightly and definitely looked like he had a point to prove.  Maybe he was trying a little too hard and thus lacked a little composure.  But as always he was everywhere and showing great energy.  Jacks game was not right all day.  I can’t figure out what was going on with him in this game.  After two great performances for England I thought he would have a calm head and a wealth of confidence.  It seemed that the mistakes he was making were really getting to him, which built and built until he massively over-reacted and tried to head butt Fellaini.  Fortunately, he was not tall enough and it just looked like he was having an argument with Fellaini’s tits.  He was lucky to stay on the pitch, and still could face retrospective action, but it looks like he will like be injured for the duration of any ban.  Despite his less than perfect performance in this game, he will be a big miss.  No matter how he is playing, he is always passionate, always wants the ball and always wants to push the play forward.  Something only two other players on the team seem to be doing well.

Ramsey was still out of sorts and although we managed to get nine shots on target, all but one were right at De Gea, and we never forced him into a spectacular save.  Their first goal came very much against the run of play.  It was a combination of mistakes from our defensive unit and mistakes from the reffing unit.  Firstly, Fellaini was offside, only just, but offside none the less.  Without the benefit of replay however, you cannot really fault the linesman too much for this as it was very tight.  Gibbo and Szczesny have been given a lot of criticism for not communicating effectively, resulting in the collision.  Now I could be wrong, but I have watch the highlights many times now, I am almost certain that Fellani (always a dirty player) gave Gibbs a shove and pushed him into Szczesny.  What makes me doubt myself is that not too many people have been talking about this, but take a look for yourself and see what you think.  If so, it is another foul the refs have missed that resulted in a goal against us.  The more I watch it the more I am sure.  Certainly does not improve my opinion of the afro’d one.  The goal itself is just bad luck, could have gone anywhere. 

Either way, we were a goal down.  I am finding it hard to comprehend our response.  On one hand I like the spirit we showed in going for it, on the other we pushed way too many forward and got burnt.  It’s not like this is the first time it has happened this season, in fact, just last game we showed the same naivety.  Who is picking this up and addressing this?  If Wenger wants the players to think for themselves, they need to recognise this, the BFG and Arteta should be keeping an eye on this, instead the BFG spent WAY too much time in their half and Capt. Arteta did nothing to advise him otherwise.  What happens….we get embarrassingly caught on the break.  It almost happened before the second goal when Rooney was wrongly ruled offside (thank god).  We HAVE to address this weakness else it will keep happening.  The definition of insanity………………

There were a few positives to take from the game.  Was great to see Giroud come back from injury early and mark the occasion with a cracking goal!  By far the best goal of the game, and a great ball from Arteta for the assist.  Arteta look great and was my man of the match.  We really need him in the team to stand any chance.  We were cruising against Anderlecht until he came off injured and it all went to crap.  He does need to be more assertive as captain in organising the team on the field and making sure others are doing their defensive duties.  The Ox had a good game again terrorising their defence and, unlike against Swansea, also helping Chambers out with some defensive duties.

We need to stem this dark tide of poor results.  Let’s start with Dortmund on Wednesday.  Let’s do the basics right and build on that.  They are banged up too and doing terrible in the league, we need to make a statement to ourselves that we are worthy of our place in the Champions League and worthy of a label as a ‘Top Team’.

Come on Arsenal!!!