By 1970’s Gooner
I was left disappointed rather than relieved at the end of Arsenal’s game last Sunday at Anfield.
Disappointed because facing 10 men we not only allowed them to score but also could not put them under the necessary pressure to get not only an equaliser but also a winner.
But when you think about it further, the performance should not have been a surprise.
For a start Arsene Wenger made the wrong choices for the starting 11.
Arshavin has been non existent all throughout the friendlies (and I watched all of them). He in no way deserved a start against Liverpool. He was a passenger, often giving the ball away.
Strange as he was not involved in the World Cup. Better to have started with Walcott who has looked sharper lately.
Secondly starting with Wilshere in the middle of the park was another decision that did not work.
The boy has potential for sure but to start him away from home and against Liverpool was asking too much.
And he was to be partly blamed for not controlling the ball outside the area which eventually resulted in their goal. He made the same mistake in the first half which resulted in a dangerous move by the opposition.
Better to have started with Rosicky who indeed looked the most creative and penetrative Arsenal player when he came on.
I do not see Wenger making those choices again unless he is forced by injury or these players improve their performances dramatically.
And therefore Arsenal’s first 11 will surely not be as weak again.
And there are two more reasons to be cheerful.
The first has to do of course with the likely return to the first team of three vital cogs in Arsenal’s engine: Song, Fabregas and van Persie.
Their stand ins left a lot to be desired. Especially Chamack.
He will turn out to be an excellent buy by Wenger but on Sunday he repeated his performances in the friendlies: lacking control of the ball and also penetration.
The second has to do with Almunia.
He is Arsenal’s best goalkeeper at the moment but will not be when Given or Schwartzer arrive.
I don’t think that either of those goalkeepers would have let Ngog’s effort at the near post (which was a carbon copy of Imbrahimovic’s goal for Barcelona at the Emirates remember?).
So cheer up…..