Forgive me all this talk of us deserving to win because we had more shots and Foster made a lot of saves. Football isn’t decided in shots on goal or saves from the opposition. It is cold, hard goals that win games. We scored less than them. We lose.
There should be no doubts about the team out on that pitch being good enough to win, there were probably more players who had experienced a major final on our team than theirs. It isn’t down to bad luck either, we should have been a goal down within the first few minutes.
We could be sitting here right now saying how we got absolutely smashed, Birmingham could have stuck three past us in the first half – the defence crumbled under pressure with Djourou and Koscielny getting skattier with the nervousness spreading. When the ‘leaders’ word comes up it is all well and good pointing out that our captain wasn’t there on the pitch but it wouldn’t have changed the fact that none of our defenders stood up to be counted, you look for someone to grab that defence by the scruff of the neck and raise their game. Did the defenders bottle it? Maybe, the uncertainty then spread to the keeper who made his first two mistakes in the first team.
Szczesny was at fault for the first goal in my opinion, you don’t come out to challenge a beanpole striker. If he had stayed at home it would be an easy catch, I am a massive Szczesny fan, but if Almunia is criticised for that Andy Carrol goal at home to Newcastle, then Szczesny was wrong here.
The response came though, van Persie equalising after some brilliant work from Arshavin and at that point you thought they would look to get their noses in front as soon as possible, it didn’t happen and we didn’t have any real guilt edged misses or chances.
And well, the last goal? A mess up of Arsenal proportions kind of sums it up – I’d stick the blame on Koscielny but to know the player at fault you would have to know who called it and when. Did Koscielny panic? If so, just get the ball out and danger averted. Maybe he was scared of booting Szczesny and saw him coming for it at the last second? Still got you put your foot through it for me…
There were three players that stood out for me yesterday, Robin van Persie: His link up play was brilliant, a constant danger as well. His injury is worrying though, there are substantiated fears that he will be out for the Barca game. More details should be known by tomorrow. Fingers crossed he is ok. Jack Wilshere: What a star this kid is, at 19 he is one of the finest players in this team – he has a winning attitude and realises just what Arsenal is, what is stands for as much as Fabregas and van Persie do. Samir Nasri: What more can you say about him. Looked our most dangerous player when he was on the ball, sadly I don’t think he was on the ball enough.
Andrey Arshavin also impressed me, whilst visibly tired he was still looking very dangerous – he shanked a few passes but his spark is definitely back and we are a better team for it.
We may never know just how important this defeat will be, win against Orient and Sunderland and everything will be forgotten in the Barcelona build up. My stance is that we had to win the Carling Cup and/or beat Barcelona; one option left, lets do it.
What more is there to say other than to ensure that the wheels do not come off the only remedy is victory. It is what winners do.
Koscielny head slapping….
It is quite clear what happens here. If you did not see the incident I will explain..
Basically, Ferguson ran past and pushed Koscielny’s head into the ground deliberately as he celebrated. Being a captain of a rather small and unsuccessful team every Sunday evening, if that happened to one of my players there would have been trouble. It is disrespectful and shouldn’t be accepted. Of course, in the aftermath of the goal you are not going to go chasing after someone, but before play restarts I would have made my thoughts known in a way rather more forceful than having a whinge at the ref. I’m not saying that is what they should have done, but it would have been my reaction – if you follow me?
I think most Arsenal fans will find these pictures quite sad, Jack Wilshere is clearly devastated but let me tell you one thing:- winners are born that way, and he is one of them. His attitude is admirable, his temperament is perfect and he is a leader. At 19, he is one of the main men in our team and has attributes we couldn’t teach to many members of our squad.
In 30 years we have lost 10 finals, that isn’t good enough. This season so far we have reached one final out of one possible final – not a bad start. Of course it hurts, and I know who I blame mainly – the manager – now isn’t the tine or place to explain and shout about why though.
Arsenal will be back, and have bigger fish to fry. The success will come, and its more important than ever that it comes this season.
Hold onto your hats Gooners, this ride may get bumpy…