That was the kind of performance that just sums up where Arsenal Football Club has been going wrong for the last few months. The effort was there but there just wasn't enough quality to open up a stubborn Sunderland defence. It was a very even game, we had plenty of the ball and did knock it around reasonably at times, there just wasn't enough in the final third in terms of incision and end product.
The first goal was key and Richardson's goal owed a lot to lady luck, a deflection off Squillaci and the ball flew into the bottom corner, a couple of Sunderland players in offside positions also seemed to be impeding Fabianski's view. After this Sunderland could sit back, defend in numbers and make it very tricky for us to break them down.
We dominated the possession and even had more shots than the home side, but we just didn't create enough clear cut chances. Walcott had come on just after half time and I have to say I barely noticed him on the field, a sad indictment on his lack of a performance, again. Ramsey had again been poor in his attacking midfield berth.
It was a tight competitive game and Sunderland fought hard, they also had that little bit of luck that we didn't get in the penalty box. It has to be said that the useless Howard Webb helped Sunderland by letting them get away with numerous cynical deliberate fouls in the midfield, a nasty O'Neill tactic that would have been stopped by a competent official.
Tactically we just look pathetically naive at times, we keep being destroyed on the counter attack and we really struggle to break teams down that stick a lot of men behind the ball. There is not enough help for RVP, we have no proper leaders of the line at the club. However the manager seems to have run of ideas tactically, the same mistakes keep on happening, we used to destroy teams on the counter attack, these days we seem incapable of doing this.
There was effort and heart there today, the majority of our players do not deserve the criticism that will be fired in their direction from certain quarters. The concern for me is that our squad is woefully short in terms of its attacking options, especially in the centre forward position, it is poor that the board and manager have allowed this to happen. The lack of ideas and the tactical naivety do concern me, it has been happening for too long and patience can only run son far.