Today's game summed up our season. There was some incisive attacking football, we could have scored way more than the 3 goals we ended up with. There was also some terrible defending as a unit. Typically there was some absolutely awful refereeing. We so nearly escaped with all three points but couldn't hold out, I just wish I didn't care, but sadly I do and it is hard to find words appropriate to sum up my dismal frustration.
Firstly immense credit to Norwich, they were excellent on the counter attack, the problem was that, much like in the Wigan game, we set ourselves up so naively and so open to the simply fast counter attack. Norwich could have had more than the three goals they had too, our midfield just didn't shield the defence and play with enough discipline, the defence also made big errors of their own, notably Szczesny's poor mistake for the opener and Vermaelen's poor positioning for their third. Again it was no naive, so predictable and so frustrating.
The set-up of the team was all wrong for me in terms of a defensive strategy. Song and Ramsey didn't do enough to help out the back four, while the 4-3-3 formation did leave the back four incredibly open to the counter. The problem was that this has happened in so many games this season, notably the Wigan home game, we simply have to be more organised and more disciplined as a team. Arteta's absence seems to have coincided with this run and this is no coincidence. I would have been tempted to start Coquelin in the holding role today. Both the manager and the players must take their share of the blame for our defensive woes.
An amazing statistic is the fact that we have not had a single penalty at home all season in the Premier League, make of it what you will but the chances that this is down to bad luck are extremely slim. We are one of the most attacking sides around and we are a top side, these both contribute to making this an incredible statistic, one that is rather damning in terms of casting doubt on the neutrality of referees in this league. Again we had a stonewall penalty turned down at the end of the game as RVP was cynically fouled when about to tap the ball home. The Norwich shouts in the first half were weak in my eyes, Coquelin won the ball for one and the other was just a two sided tussle.
Overall it summed up our season, fundamentally we simply have to blame ourselves because our defending was simply not good enough in so many ways. We were naive, indisciplined and too open on numerous occasions. We now have to rely on Newcastle and Tottenham slipping up.