It's a cynical headline but after Manu's loss to Chelsea in midweek we had a great opportunity to close the gap to a single point, and in the process apply some real pressure to the bacon faced one's Manu side. In the end we gained a single point and failed to do the above, this was a massive disappointment for Gooners everywhere.
It's easy to pin all the blame on the referee and officials for the wrongly disallowed goal and the missed stonewall penalty for Bramble's fouls on Arshavin in the second half. This would be unfair, the offisde could have gone either way, the penalty decision was an error, but the poor officiating was only a small part of the reason for our failure to gain three points for me.
A bigger reason was the fact that our midfield squad players have not been good enough to fill in for the likes of Song and Cesc all season long. Denilson has been poor game in game out, he adds nothing other than his completely mediocre lack of presence, I really have to question the manager's judgement in persisting with such an average player. Diaby was also poor, slow to move the ball on and lethargic at times, although he is only just returning from injury (again), how many more chances will he be given to show us his erratic lack of genius? It is hard to believe that someone like Henri Lansbury could not have added something yesterday, a bit of bite and a bit more drive possibly. As Arseblog says this morning, the Diabnilson or Deniaby axis was frankly piss poor, and sadly this was so eminently predictable.
The poor Deniaby axis was even more obvious without the presence of Theo and Cesc to paper over the cracks. Arsene spoke of this after the game, and one can't help but feel that our lack of raw pace on the bench and our lack of decent midfield cover are both problems that he should have anticipated before now.
Having said the negative we were still rather unlucky not to come away with all three points, a combination of bad luck, excellent goalkeeping from Mignolet and some slightly wasteful finishing combined with the poor officiating to devastating effect. Mignolet's fantastic save from Bendtner's brilliant dipping shot from an angle was top notch, he made some other decent stops in the second half. Chamakh was terribly unlucky when he second half header cannoned back off the inner angle of the woodwork. Positively Szczesny was outstanding, he had to be at his best on more than one occasion to tip away some high quality goal bound Sunderland efforts on the counter attack.
Overall though I find it hard to see why a player like Denilson is still at our football club, honestly he is just not good enough. Diaby is a slightly different case given his terrible fortune with injuries, but I still feel he is showing us that doesn't have the discipline or consistency to remain at our football club in the long term. Surely Ramsey could have done more from the start than Denilson managed yesterday? Also why are the likes of Henri Lansbury out on loan when they could add some of the missing ingredients to our midfield? Arsene may be 'disgusted' with the officials, but surely some of this misplaced rage is a result of knowing that he has not done enough to address the gap in terms of our squad's strength in midfield. It has cost us several times already this season, it cost us again yesterday, how much longer will he persist with these failing players?