That was a pleasant surprise. This had a nil nil draw written all over it. They did not come to play and we could not play too much.
Unfortunately I had to listen to the retard Tony Gail bleat all over the commentary. He is such a monumental wanker; so completely biased and negative to Arsenal. But worse than that he is a Neanderthal with regard to tactics. His thinking is the perfect example of the reason why England can’t produce a decent national team. He only knows how to get stuck in and then hit the big man up top via route 1. It’s amazing he played for West Ham (to be fair he was shit). If only we could put him and Michael Owen in a dingy and drop it off somewhere in the middle of the Pacific…
Back to the game. As I’ve long given up that we will qualify for the Champions League and I’m equally sure that AW will be with us next year, I continue to look for indications that we can Make Arsenal Great Again (“MAGA”). That is the lens through which I view each game – aside from the next one. Is there improvement and evolution? Are we developing? Even after 20 minutes it was clear this formation with the infamous 3 at the back is improving the level of our play. With the players we currently have and with the self-belief still mired in the dirt, this system suits us better. We pass out of the back more cleanly and also are less exposed defensively.
As the game progressed there were only rare chances for them but, unfortunately, less for us. Of course playing with just 10 men did not help. I don’t get why we’d only field a team of 10 players and allow a ball-boy to come in and take the number 14 jersey. That seems irresponsible to me. And very unfair to Theo. Someone must have locked him up in the dressing room and then hijacked his jersey. We need to send out a search party to find our caffined and tattooed winger. It’s inconceivable there could be any other reason for that performance because surely a player who’d not played for the last 2 games (or maybe more I can’t remember) would have been energized to have been in the starting eleven and have run around full of energy trying to prove to others he was worthy. Unfortunately the ball-boy proved to be wholly unworthy.
Unfortunately this formation also shows up the limitations of our Coq. As much as I adore this boy and love his fight he looks lost because he often finds himself upfield in positions requiring creativity. Of course, replacing him with the side-ways and back-wards AR8 does not exactly solve the issue.
But the formation does help our defense. Monreal has been a star in each of the last two games. Likewise BigEars. Bellend seemed slightly improved but then it must be tough having a ballboy play in front of you. That’s why all our progress came down our left.
Someone also has to go and find Alexis. Today nearly everything he tried suck so loud. Every touch was too heavy and every pass was to them. Just goes to show that shit happens even to the best of us. He will come back though it’s been a while now – Sunday would be nice. But I was happy to see him return to the center of the attack. Again, it did not help that the ballboy was off to the right. When Alexis would create and then look up to the static ballboy who’d not attack the box or the ball he must have wondered what team he was on. Let’s pray we get the Ox back on Sunday.
Xhaka was imperious again. This set up suits him. All good things ran through him. And he connected well with Ozil. The defense now look for Xhaka to release the ball to him. This helps our fluency.
Not that we were by any means great today. But we were a little better. Just a smidge. And we need to be better this Sunday. I’d easily settled for a point now. There is no way we can win there – if we do I’ll go out an by a ton of lotto tickets. That team is way better than us and they have a winning mentality. They will know we’re vulnerable. If they beat us then they are assured of finishing above us for the first time since electricity was invented. In addition they have the dual motivation of still striving for the title and also killing off our Champions League aspirations.
My only hope is that we are not embarrassed. We need to expect an onslaught and be ready for battle. The atmosphere will be intense and toxic. We can’t afford any weakness. They are a better team so we have to have the right mental attitude. More semi-final and less Crystal Palace. More backbone and less Watford. It will be a high tempo pressing game from them. we will need to find the best from Alexis and hope that the Ox returns. This is not a game for the ballboy. I’d also revert to Holding on the left. Basically it should be the Semi-final team without Giroud. Not that I’m in love with DW23 but he at least has some mobility.
Though I should be enjoying the warm glow of 3 points that we were fortunate to gain I’m more worried about how my weekend will go. I’ve been worrying about Sunday for too long. This could be painful.