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The only guaranteed loss weight programme
By Walter Broeckx
This has to be the flattest Arsenal performance I have seen in a long while. From the start it seemed as we couldn’t get of first gear and well we got stuck in that gear for the rest of the game.
I think this was what can be called a typical case of international hangover. Weren’t the players focused on this game? Well it looked like that. The good vibes that were in the team after the West Ham win were not visible at all. At West Ham we played with pace and with an good attacking game. Now we just played the ball around in a slow way. No penetration from the midfield. Nothing came from the flanks. It was as if the break had resulted in 11 new players playing together for the first time.
We could point at some missing players. And don’t see this as throwing the stone to Santos but we sure did miss the overlapping runs from Gibbs today. Santos is a different player who drifts more to the center to join the attack and in today’s game we could have done with a left back who can get to the byline and run past defenders on speed. Santos is fast in his car but not the fastest around to continue to run his flank up and down. Santos has his own qualities but today was not a game for him to flourish in.
I do think Mannone will be very disappointed. And he does have all the reasons in the world to feel that way. I also would like to say that it was one of those moments where you wondered where the midfield was to put pressure on the Norwich player who took the shot. It came but too little and too late. The shot was not the most difficult shot in the world and a top class keeper could have done all kinds of things. Smother it with your hands and let it bounce just in front of you. Push it wide if you are not sure about being able to retain the ball.
But never should you push the ball back to the middle of the goal. That is fine with a reactions save and then nobody will say a word. But with a shot like that you should make sure that the ball ends up in the safest area possible. Now it ended up in the most dangerous area you can find on the field. But for the rest I don’t think he did much wrong in this game.
But when the team has a bad game it is important to not commit mistakes. We made one and we paid the price. At West Ham we went on to put more pressure on the home team and we turned it round. Now we just didn’t seem to get that far. Was it being sure in our heads that we would turn it around? Maybe being too sure? After all we have a reputation of coming back from being behind.
But Norwich sat back and defended low and in numbers and with Arsenal playing too slow we couldn’t create much. Those who know me a bit longer know I don’t like it when teams defend like that. But it is not against the rules and it was up to us to find the answers. And we just didn’t.
The most terrible thing about it is that when you look at the league table this is a big loss. A win would have taken us up to 4th place. And right behind the teams who are leading the pack. I think the players let themselves and the fans down big tonight.
And to add to the misery we maybe lost another player today with an injury. Oxlade-Chamberlain came on, made one run and then the defender made contact with him when he kicked the ball out and he was struggling. So we even had to bring on Gnabry for his début in the PL. Bad game to make a début one can say.
I know some will need to find a black sheep. I can imagine the usual suspects that will be in the line of fire. But I do think that maybe today it would be better to not look for 1 black sheep but for 11 black sheep. I do think that every player will be aware of the fact that this was a bad, bad performance on the day. I hope the manager will tell them that such a performance is not good enough for them and for Arsenal.
But things are like they are. We can get mad about it, it will not change a thing. We can be sad about it. That is usually my reaction and is the way I feel now. But well…it also will not change a thing. We just have to accept what just happened.
But as a supporter the only thing I can do is shake my head in disbelief. Feel let down by my team on the day. We must learn the lessons we should learn from this game like: no game is won on paper before the game!
And then we have to look forward. On Wednesday there is another game. The team owes us a better match against Schalke. Who will be on a high after winning their local derby at Borrusia Dortmund yesterday (1-2). So well maybe next week they will be thinking that the game is won before it is played? And maybe we will be ready to make up for the loss of today.
Nothing is for granted in football. No game is easy in football. I hope today the whole team learned that lesson and will remember it for the rest of the season.
Come on you gunners! We can be down now but tomorrow is another day. We can do better than that.
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