A few years ago, I went to watch us play Wolves away on a Wednesday night. At half time we were 3-0 down and playing appallingly. I remember a good friend of mine saying that he always believes we can get something from a game but not when we ship 3-0 goals so easily and quickly. As West Ham scored their third yesterday I had that conversation in mind.
The first 39 minutes were as bad as I’ve seen Arsenal under this manager. The first was a bit of quality and whilst you can always stop a goal, those things happen. The second two were quite frankly embarrassing. I don’t really care that the free kick wasn’t taken exactly where it wad given, the issue is that everyone bar Luiz had turned their back on the ball. It was a clever idea from Lingard and Bowens deflected shot beat Leno at his near post. Shambolic defending. Moments later, a casual move down our right was turned over, whipped in and Antonio rose above everyone, nodded it down and Soucek tapped in.
At this point even the most optimistic Arsenal fan would’ve feared a cricket score. But after 40 minutes of truly shite football, we sparked into life. Odegaard and Chambers linked up down the right and the Englishman’s cross found Lacazette who pivoted and smashed it in. He can feel hard done by that it was put down as an own goal but we were back in the game. We should’ve reduced the deficit even further when Saka was played through but shot straight at Fabianski.
We came out from the half like a side possessed and I think its fair to say e dominated and overpowered West Ham. Lacazette had one cleared off the line when it looked to all like he was impeded. Then just after the hour mark we cut their lead to one. Soucek, the tallest and most bumbling player in the team thought he was fouled, the free kick went the other way and we moved the ball quickly. Again Odegaard linked up with Chambers and hit cross was smashed in by Dawson for, strangely enough a second own goal.
There were chances at both ends and then seconds after being introduced Pepe, using his weaker foot put the ball on a sixpence for Lacazette who powered his header in and we were level. We could’ve gone on to win it but in the end a draw felt like the right result.
Coming back from being 3 goals down is of course enjoyable and speaks volumes about the character of the team. But the flip side of that is how we ended up there in the first place. Arteta was clearly not impressed at full time and there are definitely things to be improved over the international break.
But I’m going to end this post on a positive note as in the end it felt like a positive result for us. Martin Odegaard really looks like a quality player now. His movement, vision and ball playing are out of this world, we’ll have one hell of a job to keep him after this season. Chambers had his best day as an Arsenal player after being given a chance and Lacazette continued his incredible form this year.
A two week break now as we enter the doldrums of the international break, then the small matter of Liverpool at home as we re-commence.