By Walter Broeckx
Slip sliding away sang the singer a few years ago. And that is exactly what Sagna did in the first minutes of the game. Any sensible person who has seen this goal can only say that if Sagna doesn’t slip nothing happens at all. We can moan all day and all night (better do it on other blogs where they like moaning, so you could stop reading now – and don’t say I didn’t warn you) but how a player slipping up has anything to do with tactics, manager, boardroom is beyond me.
Or do some of you think that Wenger says to Sagna before the game: “just slip up when you want.” Of course not. Sometimes shit happens as Podolski said earlier this month. That goal was just a lucky goal. First for the slip and then for the bounce of the foot of Mertesacker that changed the direction of the ball so that Szczesny could do nothing about it anymore. So two lucky breaks (in fact could say 3) for Liverpool for that goal.
We then had chances enough to score a goal ourselves. Everybody thought Theo had scored but Reina made a stunning safe just seconds after we conceded. Later Reina did the same with a curling effort from Walcott. Meanwhile Szczesny was trying some fancy footwork that made a few hearts skip a beat. We were lucky that it lead to nothing.
We had to open up and that lead to Liverpool creating a few chances themselves on the counter. They have good players for such a game with Suarez and Sturridge. But the chances for Arsenal were not converted. Giroud, Podolski, Theo, all had a few chances but no end product.
In the mean time Gibbs got injured and had to go off. Santos came in his place. And he is the scapegoat for the fans this season. Going in 0-1 behind was not the correct reflection of the game. A draw would have been fair but football is not about being fair.
The second half was one way traffic. Liverpool was forced back and Arsenal did the attacking. My match commentator was just saying that Liverpool almost hadn’t been near Szczesny in the second half when disaster struck again. Henderson went past Mertesacker, Santos tussled with Henderson and then came Ramsey with a great block on the attempted shot from Henderson. But Murphy’s law struck again as the ball bounced from Ramsey against the knee of Santos and then fell in front of the feet of Henderson who couldn’t believe his luck and could roll the ball in the empty net.
Many teams would have crumbled. But not Arsenal. No the team picked themselves from the ground, dusted themselves off and refused to die.
The team responded and how. Wilshere with a perfect free kick and Giroud headed home. 1-2 and we didn’t stop. A flowing move over the ground and Giroud pushed the ball to Theo who fired a rocket past Reina from the right. The ball was in the net before Reina realised what had happened. 2-2 and we still had some 25 minutes to make the winning goal.
And then we just couldn’t produce that winning goal. Again chances enough. Podolski, Walcott, Giroud even Mertesacker all came close to very close. And only in the extra time when Santos misplaced a ball on the halfway line giving a chance to Liverpool for Suarez. And Szczesny made a really great save to prevent us losing the game. That would have been very harsh but we know football is like that sometimes.
So what did we learn today? We must do something about the slipping up of players. We must make sure that when the ball bounces around it doesn’t end up in front of a player of the other team. Apart from that we were the better team. And we really should have won the game.
But this is the way it goes. Games can be won with brilliant football. Games can be won with great goals. But points can be dropped by one player slipping up. Goals can be scored from an unlucky bounce of the ball. And sometimes you cannot score enough to make up for those bad things.
That is sometimes how it goes in a football game. I remember most and for all that the team didn’t lay down when 0-2 down. They fought back against bad luck. They showed character. They fought for what looked a lost cause. Surely we can’t be that unlucky in each game?
We could have made a big step today but as it is nothing really changes in the league table. Chelsea and the totts also had a draw today. Only Everton won their game. So all in all the other results went our way a bit.
Now a last note to the kit man: screw in bigger studs next time please.