Unlike the Premiership, Goonerboy decided to have a bit of a Christmas break - hence the lack of posts of late. But after a performance like that, comments are mandatory.
What an abject performance. Spineless, bloated, over-elaborate rubbish. I'm not sure if our players realised it, but trying to play one-touch football on a first world war-esque quagmire doesn't work. Especially when you have players of the touch of Baptista and Aliadiere playing.
Yes we had injuries. But so did Sheffield. And moreover we had the entirety of the summer to create a squad which could compete when these injuries occurred, and Arsene/the Board didn't get enough quantity of quality in. When you're down to the last ten minutes of a game you're scrapping desperately to win in wet southern Yorkshire, you don't want an 19 year old debutant to come on; although at least Denilson actually bothered to put a shot in on goal and at least try to test the outfield player that Sheff had been forced to put between the sticks.
What were our players thinking when Kenny went off injured? It would seem not, 'lets not get some quick shots in on goal to try and catch out a player who isn't a goalkeeper'. They seemed more along the lines of, lets try and play one-touch along the penalty box-line, let the Sheff players get back in depth, and then lose the ball. I'm not one of those people who normally scream 'Shooooot' every time we over-elaborate our play, but the match was crying out for some incisiveness today that we seemed incapable of producing.
There were more than a few culprits for our malaise, and names should be named.
Tomas Rosicky was over-elaborater in chief. After a stunning early goal in the season, all my fears about him being played out of position, and needing time to acclimatise to the Premiership have come to pass. He's good enough, but he's not a left winger, and he needs to simplify things sometimes. Why can' Arsene buy players and play them were they want to be played? Is it so much to be asked?
Jeremie Aliadiere is not good enough to play for us, nor will he become so. His first touch was dire, and he didn't really look a threat. Van Persie can do everything Aliadiere does with considerably more skill and aplomb. To have Bendtner out on loan when we're crying out for a half decent striker is madness.
Julio Baptista seemed to think you get five minutes before a challenge in the Premiership. He grew considerably during the match today, but what was he doing stuck out on the left wing? Again, he's a central player, played out of position, acclimatising to the premiership. He should be running directly at people, down the middle. And speeding up his thought to action process considerably.
Justin Hoyte is not good enough. His positioning is poor, he doesn't get forward, he gives the ball away cheaply. I know Eboue and Lauren are injured, but Eboue isn't good enough either, and loaning out Kerry Gilbert seems almost capricious in the circumstances. We need a new right back.
Gael Clichy was better but we need another left back. Knowing Arsene, it'll be Gareth Bale, but we need someone now as well as for the future.
The rest didn't cover themselves in glory but wern't awful. Kolo is beginning to worry me at centre back; he sometimes really does look like a midfielder playing in defence, relying on his recovery speed too much. RvP's petulance was annoying but I'd be frustrated to play to in a team like the one Arsene put out today. Flamini was anonymous which was unacceptable given the opposition.
The cold, hard fact-of-the-matter is that we couldn't beat a stand in keeper playing for a bottom four side today. That is not good enough and something must change more profoundly than just waiting for injured players to come back. Our squad, once the bones are picked away, is too light-weight, too many youngsters of unproven ability. Sure we've scrapped wins against Watford and Wigan away recently, but we're in fifth, 17 points off the top and I foresee a desperate struggle for a Champions League place yet again materialising. I expected a little more than that this year.