Tuesday 30 October 2012

Back from the dead! 7-5 to the Arsenal

It was a painful and bizarre first half.  Somehow we conceded four goals without really being dominated, that unique mixture of suicidal individual defending and poor team defending saw us concede four before the half was over, only a late Theo Walcott goal saw a glimmer of hope salvaged.  The starting eleven was extremely attacking with Chamakh/Arshavin/Walcott/Gnabry all starting, so no wonder that we looked extremely fragile as a direct Reading side started well and attacked us hard with a very high tempo.

Kos was culpable for the first two goals, caught napping for the first which was a very well taken goal by Roberts, and then a poor attempted clearance with the left foot left Martinez with no chance at preventing the own goal.  Martinez then dropped a clanger for the third, but the time and space allowed was symptomatic of some really poor general team defending again.  The fourth saw acres of space yet again appear on the flank and our defenders were weak in the aerial challenge despite outnumbering Reading in the box.

Theo's excellent goal and then a lightning bolt of a header from the substitute Giroud with about twenty minutes to go gave us some hope, then Koscielny's header from a corner with a minute to go.  It seemed like it was not quite going to be, but then Theo got the ball over the line with over 95 minutes on the clock, the linesman didn't give it but Jenkinson expertly tucked home the rebound, 4-4, the recovery was complete, utterly amazing!  Extra time then came.

Then came the most amazing and incredible thing, as if scoring twice from corners wasn't enough, but Chamakh came inside from the left wing and struck a beauty into the bottom left corner of the net, the comeback was now truly complete, 5-4 to the Arsenal, unbelievable stuff.  We then seemed to be cruising but incredibly Reading found an equaliser out of nowhere, a lucky deflected shot was headed home by Pogrebnyak who was just about level in offside terms, 5-5, blimey.  Giroud was then inches away from winning it in the 30th minute of extra time, his shot flashed narrowly wide.  With penalties looming both teams were still pushing for the win, we broke, Arshavin destroyed, the ball was cleared off the line and Theo hammered home, 6-5, words were failing me at this point.  Then Chamakh scored again, I thought I was hallucinating at this point, fortunately I was not.

Overall the appalling first half showing seemed too much for us to recover from.  Great credit must go to the players for keeping going and never lying down, great credit also to Reading for being truly excellent opponents. The thing that really frustrated me in the first half was not the effort of the players, nor the commitment shown, it is the naive way that the manager sent the team out and the terrible defensive shape we showed for so much of the first half.  Without the ball we have been too poor for some time now, we too often lack solidity as a unit and seem prone to conceding far far too easily when not under a great deal of pressure.  Anyway we showed terrific fight and courage to come back, well done the lads.  Many questioned your commitment and effort, unfairly in my opinion, and you proved them all wrong.  Amazing, incredible, in fact words struggle when it comes to games like that, awesome and spectacular, a truly magnificent game of football.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

GREAT! fight back from US. we need walcott to ink that paper