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Thursday 17 September 2015

Caught With Our Pants Down In Croatia & Our Collective Backsides Deservedly Smacked

I was only watching an AFC training ground video this afternoon - 
and thinking that the team spirit looks encouragingly healthy.

However it was evident from our failure to turn up for the first-half and the patently flat-footed and shamefully indolent body-language that our squad continues to lack leadership, as has been the case now for more years than I care to remember.

We remain devoid of the sort of intimidating & forceful personality who is capable of motivating his team mates, to ensure that they dare not kick-off ANY match in such a sluggish and uninspired fashion and who's capable of handing out the sort of bollocking that would leave them all sufficiently motivated to save them from incurring such wrath.

Our lot walk off after such a piss poor first-half with absolutely nothing to fear, knowing full well that our glorious leader doesn't permit any raised voices in the dressing room because it's contrary to his feng shui principles!

I'm always a believer in playing one's strongest team and was convinced that it would've proved far more effective if AW had done so this evening, in the hope of being able to take off the likes of Coquelin, Alexis & Ozil, once we'd done the business & secured a couple of goals.

To my mind this would've left our players having expended a whole lot less energy & nervous exhaustion than was the case with the likes of Coquelin coming on for the last half hour, desperately running their socks off, in an effort to chase a result.

It's not the defeat that bothers me so much, as the manner of our demise, where we've started the game at such a slow tempo and so thoroughly devoid of any intensity that we were simply inviting the home side to take advantage.

To my mind AW's team selection was partially responsible in sending out the sort of message that encouraged them to believe victory would be ours by right and that we need only turn up in Zagreb to pocket all 3 points.

And such defeats only serve a purpose if one learns from the experience, but we know full well that this sort of lacklustre display is bound to be repeated ad infinitum, so long as the ingredients remain the same. 

As is so often the case, once one commences an encounter on the back-foot, it's invariably a difficult task to grind through the gears and garner some real momentum, as we witnessed with our struggle to impose ourselves after the break (not helped by Giroud's idiotic red card, as he should've known he was already walking a tightrope, after foolishly getting booked for giving the ref a peace of his tiny mind!).

If we've learned anything from tonight, it was just further evidence that Arteta is well past his "sell by" date. I know our Spanish captain is an adorable bloke and all that, but sadly he's no longer a viable alternative to Le Coq and if I wasn't certain before this evening's fiasco, I am now convinced that the number of defeats we endure during this season's campaign will be in perfect correlation with the amount of times Coquelin is absent.

If a comparatively piss-poor quality outfit like Dynamo Zagreb are able to overrun us in quite such a comprehensive fashion in Coquelin's absence (to the point where it was only the home side's lack of basic quality with the final ball that prevented them from scoring with almost every attack), then I absolutely dread to think how we will fare if Franny is unavailable against more competent opposition!

Ultimately we should still be able to finish the group above Zagreb & Olympiakos. Assuming there's a reasonable chance of it coming down to a head-to-head comparison, we will have to do better against Dynamo at home than their 2-1 win tonight. But in all honesty, if we can't finish above these two teams, then we really don't deserve to qualify for the knockout stages.

However, on the basis of how far we still look from having the necessary character & personality to overcome the likes of Bayern, in order for us to have some feint hope of CL glory, I will gladly sacrifice the 3 points we blew in Zagreb, in return for finally seeing AW overcome his Mourinho hoodoo at the Bridge on Saturday.

Then again, judging by the continued lack of leadership witnessed tonight, you'll have to forgive me for not feeling particularly optimistic.

Unless Petr Cech's presence is going to guarantee us a clean sheet, we've seen nothing from the exact same bunch of outfield players to suggest they're any more capable of turning out at the Bridge instilled with the sort of confidence & belief to overcome our recent nemesis, than they have been in any of our woeful South West London displays of late?

Still I suppose things could always be a whole lot worse and we could be travelling to Azerbaijan to play the mighty Qarabag



Anonymous said...

It's very easy to play against the gunners. Give them 99%
possession and let them weave intricate patterns without shooting.
At the opportune moment,hit on the counter and soon the ball s in the gunner's net.
The fm can't believe this.Arsenal were the more dominant team but if you can't score,you don't win.
I doubt he can ever lead Arsenal to cl glory.

Anonymous said...

The BBC report on the Zagreb game is absolutely spot on.
That is give the gunners possession.True to Wenger's style of the beautiful game,the gunners will weave pretty and intricate patterns.
All the other team has to do is wait for the opportune moment to hit the counter.Soon the ball is in the gunners net and why not.
With only a handful of defenders its easier to score than when faced by 8 to 9 defenders,
Until Wenger goes direct and is more clinical,the gunners will continue to be just another team making up the nos in the cl.
I doubt Arsenal can win the epl or cl this season.These are early days but I cant see the winners beyond the traditional teams like Barca,RM,BM and other top flight Euro teams.