The rest of the first half was pretty uninspiring other than Howard Webb's rather incompetent officiating, an example of how not to referee if ever there was. Arsenal looked disjointed with too many sloppy long balls going astray, the midfield not looking its normal cohesive self and there was an ominous lack of movement. Eduardo looked short of confidence, while the midfield game lack any real tempo.
However it is made especially hard to come back when every time an Arsenal player beat a man and broke from midfield at the Boro back four, they are cynically stopped in their tracks. I counted at least five 'professional' fouls in dangerous positions that should have resulted in yellow cards, of these only O'Neil got a booking. Two clear Arsenal corners were given as goal kicks for no real reason, while Boro got a ridiculous free kick in a dangerous position when Gilberto cleanly won the ball. When cynical tactics like Boro's are allowed to prosper like this, one gets a clue as to why English football is not developing good technical talents with flair, there's no incentive to if you are cynically taken down each time a man is beaten.
Boro started the second half in lively form, two harsh bookings quickly followed from the inconsistent Webb. A lot of time wasting and some fairly disjointed football followed, Arsenal's midfield never got going and we never got on top of the game. Diarra and Gilberto do not seem to compliment each other particularly well. Boro scored a second as Tuncay followed up from a decent Almunia save and the game then looked over. There were a few positive glimpses from Theo, one incident in particular when he could have gone down in the box for a penalty, showing that he has more intergrity than Aliadiere. Bendtner looker sharp, but Adebayor had a poor game, gifting possession to the opposition on numerous occassions. Rosicky grabbed a consolation goal with a well worked second and that was that.
Overall an extremely frustrating ninety minutes. The soft penalty was exactly the start Boro were looking for, and our stuttering performance meant we never really looked like getting back into it. The midfield did not look right, there was just not enough pressure on the ball and not enough craft, with too many long balls gifting possession back to the opposition. Boro didn't deserve to win the game either in my opinion, they tried hard but didn't really create much clear cut. Small things do change games, and Howard Webb's particularly incompetent first half performance did swing things Boro's way. Having said that, we'll need to improve significantly if we are to get a result against Chelsea next weekend.