Thursday, November 02, 2006


Thrashed them 0-0

If I was a manager, and I had an array of forwards including Henry, van Persie, Walcott, Aliadiere with players like Rosicky and Fabregas pushing on then I wouldn’t worry about the blank against CSKA last night. On another night and the 20 year old Russian keeper would have had serious back ache.

The problem is when you’re not creating chances. No team in Europe would have fancied playing Arsenal last night, they could not rely on so many glaring chances passing the wrong side of the post. It’s something you can’t legislate for. The first 45 minutes for example was as good a piece of attacking football you’re ever gonna see and we can throw 1970 Brazil and 1973 Ajax into the mix.

The time to worry is when you’re not creating chances every 5 minutes. When you ponse about with the ball playing neat triangles inside your own half for most of the game and unsurprisingly get beat 1-0. It’s when the opposition keeper orders a Bovril from a bellboy. No, it’s when he nips out for his own, that’s when you worry.

I’d love to have been a fly in the wall of the CSKA dressing room after the match last night. They’d been well and truly battered yet nicked a point. They’d been torn this way and that by the liquid movement of the exciting young Arsenal team yet the record books will show honours were shared. What’s Russian for relieved? Flabbergasted?

I remember back in the early 80’s we were torn apart by Spartak Moscow at Highbury after getting a credible 2-3 reverse over there. I had gone to Highbury reasonably confident we’d do enough to get a result but I, like the rest of the 28,000 there that night was gobsmacked as our Russkie visitors danced rings round us and despite us losing 5-2 no one there begrudged them the standing ovation after the game.

Of course though it’s not the first time we’ve done all the fancy stuff but failed to finish teams off but what could you do different. Shoot more from outside the box? Use the wings more? Without Eboue we seem reluctant to go that way. Perhaps Walcott could be encouraged to get to the bye line more but it’s not something AW seems over keen on.

One thing we have not seen so much of is Henry being released by an incisive through ball splitting the defence, Henry racing down on goal, one touch, two and it’s in the net, Henry almost casually lifting the ball over the keeper as he goes down. Before he’s had Pires and Bergkamp doing that with their eyes closed, now we have Rosicky and Fabregas doing the threading and it’s taking a bit of time but I’m sure it will come.

The only thing I would like to see added to the Arsenal arsenal is a more potent threat at corners. Stick someone on the near post for the flick on, with Gallas and Toure lurking in the box it would give us another outlet but Arsene doesn’t seem interested. Our corners are about as dangerous as a fangless pit viper; how often do you see us challenging for a second ball? All too often the ball sails out of play and Toure and co jog back to their own half in time for the restart.

Someone is due a hiding soon…

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