It was an event-filled North London Derby and I’m not going to be able to get to everything. In those cases I typically like to focus on one or two items but today I’m feeling like I need to get all these thoughts out so here goes.
Before the game Szczesny bragged that he had Adebayor’s number and that during practice he would shut him down time and again. Something to the effect of “there’s a reason I’m here and he’s not.” And I have to say that it sure looked like he knew what he was doing.
Song and Perm had a good match against the former Arsenal man as well with just one exception: when he looked clearly offside and yet there was no call. Ade slipped through and had a one-on-one with the keeper.
But it was Szczesny who played Adebayor like a fiddle; feinting a dive to one side and thus forcing Adebayor to his right which Szczesny saved. It was a great bit of gamesmanship and all the proof you need that despite the one moment of poor keeping that let in the goal, Szczesny is something special.
Walker smells like a Rose
Remember Danny Rose? Yeah, well, all the journalists were lauding him as the next in a long like of great Spurs products after he hit a goal against Arsenal back in April of 2010. Bentley has hit one of those goals too. But if I was Walker I might be looking at the new found love-in with the press with a jaundiced eye.
Since then, Rose has been on loan to Bristol City and Bentley’s career has come up craps time and again.
Tim Stillman confirmed on his twitter account that the traveling Arsenal supporters sang the Angola chant that the press are now using to beat all Arsenal supporters with. Basically, the chants wishes that Adebayor had been shot to death when the bus he was on was attacked last year.
Sorry but that chant is indefensible. Though, if you were there, sang along, and would like to explain why, please have at it.
I don’t know what to say except that now we are going to be subjected to every possible terrible chant imaginable and if we complain, the press will criticize us as hypocrites. Of course doing that is unfair because it’s saying that a few thousand supporters represent the Arsenal majority but it’s an argument that people like Oliver Holt are already making.
Clive of Allen
Clive Allen, Clive of India, Clive Cussler, Clive Barker, there is literally no one named Clive who I like. Though I am open to suggestions. So, if you’re named Clive and want to change my mind please, tell me why. And if your name is Clive and you sang the Angola chant I would love to hear from you.
As for Clive of Allen, this whole handshake flap is exactly what you would expect from a small-time club like Tottenham Hotspur. I’m not even going to explain why Arsene Wenger doesn’t have to shake his hand, Martin Keown has done that for us. Instead, let’s just concentrate on what this supposed man did after Wenger refused his hand: publicly called one of the greatest managers in the history of the Premier League “two-bob” and at least one reporter claims that he called Wenger a cunt.
I’m going to sit here an hold my breath waiting for their club to issue an apology and announce that they have fined Clive Allen for his boorish behavior.
Internationals and then Sunderland
For once I’m actually looking forward to the next two weeks. On their current form almost none of this Arsenal team deserve to be chosen for their nationalism teams and I expect that many of them won’t.
Is Capello really going to play Theo Walcott when his biggest contribution to the North London Derby yesterday was leading his team in disparaging looks at his teammates?
Meanwhile those who aren’t in poor form are ravaged by injuries. Sagna is out with a broken leg. Squillaci and Koscielny are both returning from injury. Djourou is out with a muscular problem. Vermaelen is out for another two weeks after the international break. Wilshere isn’t back until January. And Diaby hasn’t played at all for Arsenal this season.
Perm will probably be picked, Gibbs might get a call up, Robin van Persie will almost certainly be chosen, Szczesny is probably going to be chosen, Gervinho too, and Chamakh is a fixture. I would guess that Arshavin and Rosicky will also be chosen along with Benayoun but if you look down the list of Arsenal players whereas once we had just Denilson left behind for internationals we now probably have: Jenkinson, Santos, Song, Arteta, Diaby, Djourou, Squillaci, and Koscielny.
Hm… defensive drills anyone?
Oh wait, there was a match? How did Arsenal play?
As I pointed out in my By The Numbers column on Arseblog News it wasn’t that Arsenal had a slew of turnovers, it was more the type of turnovers that was the problem. Arsenal dominated possession with 62%, they dominated passing numbers, dominated passing percentage, and yet Spurs created more chances: 18 shots and 6 on goal, compared to Arsenal’s 13 and 5.
Time and again Ramsey hesitated or made a poor pass that led to a scoring chance for the opposition. This started early in the game and continued for much of the match with but a brief spell in the start of the second half where he and Arsenal looked bright. If we have learned anything about Arsenal’s style, they need to move the ball quicker if they are going to break down teams who sit back and try to hit on the counter.
It’s no coincidence that Arsenal had their best bit of the game when Ramsey was playing at his best. All totaled Arsenal ended the game with a respectable 13 shots and 5 on goal but after Walker’s wonder goal, Arsenal looked like they didn’t know what to do.
For a bizarre last 10 minutes of the game Perm went up front and won exactly zero balls. In fact, Arsenal had zero shots in the last 10 minutes. It’s kind of hard to mount a comeback if you don’t get yourself in a position to shoot the ball.
Szczesny has been singled out for praise above and I’d also like to tip my cap to Coquelin.
Coquelin looked very good and you can see why he started over Frimpong yesterday. He’s a much more mature player, his passing is excellent (fewer poor passes than Ramsey, tackled well, and hunted down the opposition) which isn’t a knock on Frimpong, that’s what happens when you spend a year on loan rather than a year in the treatment room.
Some people are suggesting that Coquelin should start at right back over Jenkinson and on form I’d have to agree. But it’s a tricky situation because Jenkinson has had a very shaky start to his Arsenal career and Coquelin is an unknown quantity at right back. Whatever Wenger chooses it’s going to be a long three months (plus) of balls targeted in to that place on the pitch. UGH.
Oh and for Mike Dean: van der Vaart handled the ball. Not only that but he should have seen yellow for excessive celebration. Yep. And Arsenal will never ever get the benefit of either call, football will never ever introduce technology, and we can write to whomever we wish to complain but it’s not getting Arsenal any points out of yesterday’s match.
Handbreak, Belief, Likeanewsigning
After the match Wenger said that the team played with the handbreak on which has variously sparked mirth or anger depending on how the writer is feeling at the moment. I am not going to get worked up over what Wenger says in press conferences or interviews after a match.
Did Arsenal play with the handbrake? No, because that would imply that they had another gear that they could hit and I don’t think they do at the moment.
Now that Cesc is gone, Jack Wilshere was supposed to be the player who could change the team’s thrust with his vision and power. Unfortunately, guys like Ramsey, Arteta, Coquelin, Frimpong, Rosicky, and Benayoun while hard working players don’t really have that ability. Jack is a big game player and it looks like Arsenal are missing that quality at the moment.
This isn’t to say that the entire season depends on Jack but rather to just highlight the fact that Arsenal didn’t play with the handbrake on. Looking at the results, I have to say that’s this team’s normal speed.
The alternative to saying that, is that this team played at less than full pace in a North London Derby. That would be truly depressing, wouldn’t it?