Arsenal Analysis resident ticket holder at the Emirates was there on Wednesday night for the Carling Cup tie against Spurs. These are his “touchline” impressions of the game.
I have been reading a lot of reports about Wednesday’s game on the net and since I disagree with a lot of them I thought of putting down some thoughts about the game which are the result of watching the game from inside the stadium rather than from the TV.
Firstly let me start with Diarra who reports say that he excluded himself from the squad, apparently he did not feel mentally up to it with all the transfer speculation!!!
I hate to say that we missed him badly on Wednesday; we had no one to control the tempo of the game as Gilberto was not able to play such a role.
All Diarras’ rumblings in the press make him look silly and arrogant as he has only been with us for 5 minutes and is already demanding first team football.
Flamini proved beyond any doubt that if the coach thinks you deserve a chance then when he gives you the opportunity it’s up to you to make the most of it from there. Under different circumstances I’d be very happy to make a quick profit and sell him to the highest bidder!
However injuries and the ANC makes that extremely dangerous as he may have to fill in either the middle or as a right back. This is one occasion that I hope Wenger for once puts his foot down and keeps him in the team at least until the summer.
I was very impressed with the second half performance of Justin Hoyte when moved next to Big Phil to play as a centre back.
He was composed and his speed allowed us to hold a higher line and start controlling the ball better than we did in the first half. Also he did not get caught out of position and he could prove a useful solution during the next month.
I was very disappointed however with Diaby and Djourou. We all know that Diaby is not a left winger, but I think the reason that Wenger persists to employ him there is so that he can improve and work around his biggest weakness which is his left foot.
However against Spurs he persistently tried to dribble himself out of trouble rather than pass the ball, did not help Traore enough by being reluctant to track back and he consistently drifted infield and made life difficult for Denilson.
I’m lost for words for Djourou, he was simply abysmal. Let’s hope that it was just nerves of the first game back and he will improve over the next few weeks.
However a lot of unfair criticism has been laid on Senderos. Yes he started the game shakily but he improved as the game went on.
He was partly at fault for the nightmare spell 30’- 40’ where Spurs scored and should have had a couple more, but he improved as the game went on made a few good blocks and won a few headers.
I’m confident that next to an experienced and extremely quick defender like Gallas he will excel given some games to get in to rhythm.
Good substitutions by Wenger – even though enforced – we steadily improved in the second half and it was all Arsenal in the last Quarter.
For all the above comments however I am acutely aware that we were awful on Wednesday night. We could not keep the ball and resorted to uncharacteristic long balls and sloppy passing.
Berbatov created a lot of problems especially in the first half pulling defenders out of position, and feeding cute little through balls to any runners from midfield.
For all his class however his team-mates did not have the necessary composure to convert their chances and with that they squandered the best chance they had in a long time to beat the old enemy.
Wenger said he will keep the same team more or less for the return leg but I expect more options on the bench at WHL.
We certainly cannot be as bad again and even though they should be considered favourites now, I fully expect us to go to there and either win or get a score draw to take us through on away goals after extra time.