Saturday, 4 October 2008
Frustration and elation
I didn't see today's game, but I did listen on the radio and the annoying biased northern tones to the commentary did have me bashing my head against my walls at times, I should be more tolerant but I can't help my natural rage. By the final whistle I was still ecstatic at the late equaliser, but also angry at the fact that two vital points had been dropped.
The tactics can always be faulted, especially with the advantage of retrospect, however I am inclined to agree in one particular aspect of this critique, that being that Van Persie should either be played up front or not at all, he is simply not effective on the wing. I am not massively fond of 4-5-1, it does have it's place at times, however it is essential that you have pacey wide men who can support the attack, Walcott is perfectly suited for 4-5-1, but RVP simply is not. Personally I would have stuck Nasri on the left if I was forced to go for a 4-5-1, but surely we should have started with our traditional 4-4-2 formation?
Objectively we deserved at least the draw, and probably all three points. It was a veritable bolt out of the blue from a Sunderland side that rarely threatened Manuel's goal. The statistics tell the story, more shots on target, more shots off target, more corners and over 67% possession. Again we were done by a rather speculative long range shot that another day would have sailed into row Z, but today it found the top corner. Even then we could still have easily have won the game.
The ref allowed far too many deliberate fouls, especially in the first half, for example Dwight Yorke seemed to have a license to commit professional foul after professional foul. The key moment in the second half came at 0-0 when a perfectly good Arsenal goal was wrongly disallowed, the linesman adjudged the ball to have gone out when it blatantly had not. Had that been 1-0, the three points may well have been ours, call me paranoid but that's the second week running we've had a perfectly good goal disallowed, I can't see the same happening for any of the other sides in the big four. Of note Manu's first goal against Blackburn involved a blatant barge on the Blackburn goalkeeper by Vidic, the ref ignored this.
So yet again an unfortunate combination of factors has seen us drop points, the very defensive Sunderland side clearly surprised Arsene. I don't think Arsene should be criticised for being too negative, he clearly expected more positivity from Sunderland, however RVP does not perform out wide and should never be deployed their in my opinion. The weak and highly inconsistent refereeing does not help either, far too many cynical fouls are not punished with yellows early on, this doesn't help sides that try to play football, it helps the cynical cheats. I'm erring towards it being a point gained at the moment, but maybe that will change depending on how our other rivals get on, mixed emotions again it seems.