Sunday, September 24, 2006

Even at 50%, Arsenal were twice as good as Sheffield.

Not a great game yesterday it has to be said. One can't argue with the result, of course. It's great to get a home league win under our belts at the Emirates and for Thierry to get a goal. But we were far from convincing, and as late as the 65th minute, it could have plausibly been 'one of those days'.

At a base level, half our team didn't seem to click or be playing at anywhere near the top of their game. Rosicky didn't have any long range efforts, Fabregas's passes were going astray, and no-one seemed to want to give the ball to Freddie. Indeed, Freddie actually had a decent game yesterday, depsite the midfield's reluctance to try and use the right flank. He had a great header blocked with a reaction save, and even if his shooting continues to look slightly unconvincing, I thought he looked more of a threat than against Boro.

But the chief culprit of our woes was Henry. I would dismiss the charge that he was lazy yesterday, and ascribe it more to a odd form of overall malaise in his play. Neither his flicks, passes or shots seemed to be coming off, and when he had a very decent chance stopped with a fine save in the first half, it seemed to sum up his current difficulties.

It all added up to an insipid and lethargic first half. The players seemed to be running through treacle, and all our best play seemed to be coming from our back four, who were excellent all game. Although he comes in for some stick, I think Hleb is actually pretty much key to making our team click nowadays, and we missed his passing and overall ingenuity.

The second half started with a little bit more of a bang, which the crowd deserved. There was a great atmosphere in the stadium at kick off, and I was worried that our first half display might have squandered it. We continued to put on pressure, and eventually Sheffield's Championship nature shone through. Henry tried a rather speculative piece of skill, by flicking the ball over their defence - it worked, with Fab controlling and Gallas blasting home to get a deserved first goal. He was excellent yesterday, and the debate must surely now rage - should he continue at lb, with senderos or Djourou at cb, if Clichy isn't going to establish himself at lb? Or would this be a waste of one of the world's finest centre backs?

We quickly added a second from an own goal, stemming from an even more speculative cross, put in by Henry. United were coming apart at the seams, and Eboue found acres of time and space to put the ball on Tel's head for our third.

It was good to see a win, but I thought the scoreline slightly flattered us, if not United. They had no real spark, and didn't even seem capable of parking the bus. I talked to a very disgruntled United fan after the game who wanted Warnock out. One could almost feel that United didn't expect to take anything from the game. While this is a realistic attitude, it's not the right one for a team to take, who will undoubtedly find themselves in a relegation battle. I think they'll go down.

So, overall, some movement in the right direction, and a win is always a win. However, I don't think we've seen Arsenal put in a great performance at the Emirates yet.


anti said...

I think Henry has lost a yard or perhaps the change of the entire left-side has affected him.

He isn't the same player I think

Anonymous said...

The score flatters us a bit but equally, if ever a team is deserving of conceding an own goal then IMHO it's the team who play even more defensively after going a goal behind despite their only plan beforehand being not to play any football but to turn up & not to lose.

Anonymous said...

Henry played a part in all 3 goals you asshat

anti said...

You talking to me 12:44?
I'll assume you are and ask wtf has your response to do with mine?

Are you saying he can't lose a yard and score goals? Because Bergkamp lost a metre and was scoring. Arsenal fans as you make me want to support QPR.

Little Dutch said...

You're bang on about Hleb. He beats players and provides a decent link between midfield and forward. You can see why he is such a cast iron forst choice. I wish people gave him more credit.

Anonymous said...

This 12:44 isn't Anti. Anyway, along with my own goal sentiments, I think my lack of sympathy for the 'Blunts' has probably got something to do with all the pre-match & even some post-match press lamenting their lack of numbers despite Wright, Geary & Kabba not looking remotely injured during the game. Yes, that & their fans making themselves very easy to despise by marking their presence with only one chant,"Same old Arsenal, always cheating" after Djourou took a boot in the head. Enjoy the Championship next season losers!

anti said...

Heh. What do Sheffield Utd know about "Same old Arsenal?"
Weren't they in the 1st division or something like that?

Anonymous said...

How can Anti support QPR? Everyone knows the cunt hates Arsenal and loves Chelski and his boyfriend Cashley (when he hasn't got Gelbs to suck his cock).

gazzap said...

until 65 mins it was by far the worse we'd played so far this season and yet we end up with our most convincing scoreline. Ironic that.
It reminded me of chelsea. they play dour stuff first half come in at 0-0 then go out get 2 or 3 goals from nowhere, still without really playing that well, and then see the game out. they have built 2 titles playing just like that. I hope we dont become them.

Anonymous said...

Titi was poor - but he made two and scored one. His headed goal (and the good save Bennet made from his backpost header) both came from Kevin Davies-esque movement. Henry is attemptin to develop his game - with is sore foot and with Adebayor doing his donkeywork, he played as a more conventional centre-forward. As pointed out by Gray on SKY the movement for his goal was a classic strikers run - across the defender than checking out once on the blindside. Against Sheff U Henry asn't fit enough to add his normal pace and penetration to the mix (and in all honesty couldn't get intoth game) but if he can delive a different element to his game the rest of the league has even more to worry abut.