Reid 3, Odemwingie 58; Arshavin 70, van Persie 78
I suppose it would be easy to blame one person entirely for what happened at the Hawthorns. There would be a simple vindication in adopting such a line of thinking. The belief that since a single incumbent is responsible for our misery so by replacing that one incumbent our problems could be solved. The problem(s) however at the Arsenal Football Club is/are more than what could be gauged on prima facie evaluation.
It really isn’t Almunia’s fault that he’s just not that good. He’s just another man doing his job. The same goes for Denilson, Rosicky, Squillaci and all the others they tell you aren’t fit enough to wear the Arsenal shirt. What are these men (well, kids in a few cases) supposed to do? Put in their papers and demand a transfer to Grimsby Town FC?
The buck essentially stops at those responsible for playing these individuals week in week out. For not replacing those that have left the team or have been unavailable due to injury. That there are problems in this team is for all to see and how Wenger chooses to turn a blind eye is beyond me.
Coming to the game, it was a surprise to see Ramsey starting. And he clearly was not up for it yet. His movement let him down on more than a few occasions and could be blamed for the first goal. He got a chance to redeem himself with a simple tap in later on which went horribly wrong. I suppose you can’t really blame the lad who’s still on his way back from a long term injury.
Being one nil down at the break the onus was on Arsene to take the initiative. And he didn’t disappoint with Chamakh coming in for the abysmal Denilson. West Brom did have a chance to double their lead some ten minutes into the half and we ought to thank some profligate finishing on their part for keeping the score at one nil.
It was 2-0 soon thanks an absolute howler from Almunia who came well out of his area allowing Odemwinge to guide the ball into an open net. There’s no point discussing it really. A truly unforgivable mistake at this level. Have a look and name one keeper in the league who wouldn’t have done better. Sorry state of affairs really. You might say he’s our third keeper after all, but he was the undisputed No. 1 when the season kicked off. At this rate Lehmann may just turn out to be more than emergency back-up.
“Mathematically we lost two points, but psychologically I think we won a point, because when you are 2-0 down with 20 minutes to go, you cannot be too unhappy with this comeback.”
So at 2-0 down anything from this game could be viewed as gain but in the context of the league especially with Man Utd being gifted a goal at Old Trafford, this would be seen as two points dropped rather than a point gained.
But to get anything from the game at two nil team did show some character that has been missing this season. Some great play between Arshavin and Chamakh led to goal that, well, only Arshavin could have scored. And with 12 minutes to go van Persie got us level with a gritty finish after an Arshavin cross that appeared to have been knocked down by Bendtner’s arm.
The final ten minutes saw some great pressure exerted by Arsenal as we went for the win. It was in vain however as the home team hung on to deny Arsenal the victory thereby allowed Man Utd to stretch the lead at the top to 5 points, with us having a game in hand.
With our next game in two weeks’ time this wasn’t the ideal way to sign off. We are still unbeaten in 12 Premier League games, so that’s hardly a bad run. So there’s some optimism for you.