… Well, what can I say? It’s all well and good telling me that it all worked out in the end, but let’s face it, if we had lost the game, you all would be as pissed off as I am.
We were shambolic in the first half. Could not string two passes together, our movement was horrendous and the players kept going for hollywood passes that they just do not have the ability to pull off. The opposition wanted it more and kept a solid defensive line and harried us when we had possession, so we settled for knocking the ball sideways and backwards, trying to fiddle it towards goal. On the occasions when the players felt a bit rebellious and thought that they’d actually have a go at putting one of our strikers through, they just ended up getting out muscled off the ball or holding up play, cutting back and losing the ball regardless. It didn’t really matter, because no one had made the run for them anyway. It was basically the Arsenal of the past 3 years.
To be fair, we were defensively much more solid and more of a threat on set pieces. Wow, get a big, strong, athletic defender at the back and we become a better defence?! Shocker that, isn’t it?
Really, the reason we have been so crap for the last couple of years became crystal clear. Our players were just shit. Half of that team were starters last year. It’s not got anything to do with them being too young, or too inexperienced, or tactical naivety from the managers – though there was some of that today and let’s face it, he signs the players and picks the team – the players are just too slow, or too weak or just not skillful enough.
Who were the key men today? Sczenzy, Djourou, Fabregas and Walcott. All capable of playing for our first team. But there have always been ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ and ‘maybes’ surrounding the rest.
The likes of Eboue, Squilaci, Denilson, Rosicky, Arshavin and Bendtner should be no where near our starting XI. I’m even yet to be convinced by Chamakh. You can claim that they are good back up players and it’s true, when mixed in amongst the rest of our starting XI, they look decent. But in their own rights, as a team, they are shocking.
How sickening is it to see them fall down over the ball time and time again, to be pushed off the ball by players about 5’4 in height, to lose possession with their horrible touches, over hit their passes and then not see their team mates bust their guts to get on the end of it. Hell, Jack Wilshere isn’t speedy, neither is he strong, but he tries so hard that it makes up for it.
Denilson in particular is horrible. I fail to see what the man offers. He’s a water carrier at best. Just keeps things moving. But then we stick him in defensive midfield like today, he has no defensive sense, does not bother tracking back, is too slow to get back on to players who go past him and is too weak to do anything about it when he does. He may have the technical attributes sorted out but he doesn’t have the mental ones and football is a physical game. I fail to see how you just give someone pace.
Bendtner as well. I’ve always been one of his biggest fans. I like a bit of arrogance in a striker, but when you’re 22, it’s time to start walking the walk. He was poor. His touch and passing was off, he can’t shoot properly and his biggest strength – his heading – was awful today.
If Chamakh wants to be a top striker, he needs to be tearing defence like Leeds’ apart. Instead, when he gets the ball, he is either shoved off it, or he turns around and passes it back to Denilson. He stretches defennces a little, but for that to be effective, you need good players around you. Aerial Presence apart, I fail to see what he offers.
And then Arshavin… An enigma? No, a lazy bastard who does not care about the team. His mind is already on Barcelona or Juventus but he’s in for a rude awakening… No team outside of Russia is going to want him with performances like that. I don’t care what kind of ‘magic’ he can produce, in a tight F.A cup game like this, you need efficiency and industry. I don’t see how he can produce anything, if he can’t even control the ball.