And the centre could not hold. I’d say we played the best football we had in a long time but, the centre just didn’t hold. They lost the ball when it mattered and didn’t fall back to defend. I expected us to do this:
You see how Milan (Red dots) squeezed in Barca (Yellow dots), marking almost every attacking player they had? If you want to read more on Milan’s defensive tactics in that game, check the Bleacher Report.
In the first half, we were dominant. However, our kryptonite, our Achilles heel still reared its ugly head. The same thing we’ve been dealing with, the same thing we’ve complained about – A defence that lack concentration and an attack without precision. We had the game, look:
We controlled the midfield, this was supposed to be our game but like Superman, kryptonite defending and attacking got the best of us. Having 82% pass completion and 55% ball possession saw us have only 2 proper shots on target as opposed to Spurs’ 4 . Theo even became a little selfish, leaving his position and playing through the middle so that Jenkinson sometimes had to play his role for him.
*Silent thoughts* A £100k a week could make a man think himself Flash the Superhero sometimes.
Our defence was pushed high up, the midfield didn’t fall back, there wasn’t any tight marking so there was space for pacey players like Bale and Lennon to cut through our defence like hot knife on butter. Two similar goals in less than 4 minutes? My country-men would say, haba! Why na? (meaning: Comon, how crappy can you get?)
Right now, it’s more than just buying world class players (see Barca, ahem!). It’s also about tactical decisions, what the players learn on the training ground, their mental state – who they believe they are and what they believe they can do; it’s about Wenger being open to change, it’s about finding out what others (the Sorcerer Fergy, Mobster Mancini, The Portuguese Prince) are doing that he’s not, it’s also about our support. Or else, things WILL fall apart.
POST MATCH QUOTES
AVB had this to say after the game:
“The difference this year is that we are on an upward spiral in terms of confidence whereas they are in a negative spiral and once you get into that negative spiral it’s difficult to get out of it”
And Wenger had this to say:
“It’s very frustrating because we had the best defensive record away from home in the league before today. But it [poor defending] has happened to us many times this season and only in big games. It’s difficult to explain.”
[wp_graphic id=”notes1″ type=”notepad” align=”centre”]Note to self: Wondering if the Blackburn game was a big game…just thinking out loud[/wp_graphic]
The defeat leaves Arsenal in danger of not qualifying for the Champions League for the first time since 1997-98, ouch.
[wp_graphic id=”ipad” type=”video” align=”centre” autoplay=”no”]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRpAdwhwLug&feature=g-all-u[/wp_graphic]