October 21, 2012
‘Why did the supermodel stare at the carton of orange juice?’
I can’t get that stupid joke out of my head. And I’m blaming Arsene Wenger. Who had this to say following yesterday’s abject defeat against struggling Norwich City:
You can always find excuses when you lose a game but, overall, you have to stand up and say Norwich wanted it more than us.
I wouldn’t use the international break as an excuse for our defeat. I felt that we were not in the game at the start concentration-wise and started to get into it when we were 1-0 down.
I’d half agree with that. I felt that we weren’t in the game at the start concentration-wise. But then I felt that we weren’t in the game concentration-wise at 1-0 down either. Which does beg the question – if even a carton of orange juice can tell a supermodel to concentrate, why can’t a team of coaches tell the Arsenal players?
I could see from my living room in London that we weren’t up for that game right from the very off. We looked lazy, underprepared, sloppy in possession and completely lacking in any sort of zip. It looked to me like we completely underestimated the Norwich threat and expected to turn up and walk it. So why when that was so abundantly obvious wasn’t something done about it?
It’s all very well accepting the fact after the event and promising that we’ll do better next time but we needed three points yesterday. Why wasn’t someone lighting a rocket under the players’ arses from five minutes in? If the team isn’t concentrating then I’m pretty sure you can put that right there and then. Yet every time ESPN’s cameras cut to the Arsenal bench our various coaches and assistant coaches and trainers and kitmen were just sitting there like they’d been forced to watch another episode of Downton Abbey by their girlfriends and were just waiting for the butler to find His Lordship’s missing buttons so they could get on with their lives.
The fact is, and this is no disrespect to Norwich CIty who nobody could argue didn’t deserve that win, we are man for man a much better team than they are. I see tweeters and bloggers bemoaning our transfer policy this morning but the transfer policy has nothing to do with anything. If we’d put in anywhere near the required levels of effort and concentration yesterday we would have won that game and we’d be clear in fourth and chasing the leading pack rather than a frankly embarrassing 9th.
There is a big difference between the amount of possession we had and the amount of chances we created. That is down to the fact that Norwich defended well and we did not create a lot.
That is understating it. We hardly forced a save. In ninety minutes of plodding sideways football. Podolski and Gervinho on the wings were extremely disappointing. I lost count of the amount of times they bottled the idea of taking on the full backs only to stop, come back and play the ball in-field again.
We were clearly lacking ideas and yet as ever we were unable to make a change until at least 60 minutes had elapsed. In Oxlade-Chamberlain’s very first foray down the right wing he had more intent and threat than the rest of the team put together. Alas he also got a kick on his thigh which forced him straight back off again and will see him miss Wednesday at least.
None of us can have been particularly optimistic to see Arshavin brought on as his replacement but he too showed a fair amount of hustle and desire. But as a mate pointed out on the phone to me during an extensive and cathartic post-match rant, when Andrei Arshavin is putting the rest of the team to shame with his effort levels you know you’re in trouble.
The less said about their goal the better. The amount of space we allowed in the midfield for Tettey to get his initial shot away was reminiscent of seasons past. Mannone should still have done better though than to parry the shot back across his own penalty box and gift Holt one of the easier goals he’ll ever score.
In his press conference last night Arsene went on to say:
They played well, were completely committed and they deserved the win. Maybe we underrated the difficulty we would face. But the Premier League is the Premier League. If you are not ready for the fight then you will always have bad surprises.
How many times have we heard that? How many times have we said it ourselves? Only yesterday in my preview I wrote that our biggest enemy would be complacency. I almost didn’t bother mentioning it because it just seemed so blindingly obvious but apparently it’s the lesson we refuse to learn. If Le Boss is right and we underestimated the opposition then he should take every single post-match interview he’s done in the last few years where he’s said exactly the same thing and have them playing on a continuous loop in the dressing room before every game.
Either that or just place a carton of orange juice on the bench in front of every player’s kit. One word. CONCENTRATE!
If You Liked This...
- Arteta and Wenger accidentally give away the secret behind Saturday’s slip
- Arsenal 1 – 1 Wolves: Will lessons ever be learned?
- Arsenal 3 – 3 Norwich City: Disgraceful defending and scandalous refereeing put CL firmly in doubt
- Why we should be wary of Norwich + Park wasn’t fit, now he is + Blatter’s brave brave fight
- Worrying words from Wenger on transfers + Man City, we’re coming for you!