I deliberately waited to write following the weekend to gather my thoughts on it and to let the storm settle a bit. Going to Old Trafford as an Arsenal fan is never a fun experience. The story is almost written before we arrive: we play well, we lose. That is what we do up there and do with a worrying regularity. Sunday was exactly the same.
At first glance of our disallowed goal (that was excellently taken) I didn’t think there was much wrong with it. Watching the replays I was 50/50 and that is where my issue lies. CLEAR AND OBVIOUS ERROR – it was not. Lee Mason from Manchester called over Paul Tierney of Manchester for a look. The theatrics of the “deliberation” were ridiculous. He couldn’t wait to change his mind, despite the fact he saw the challenge from 10 feet away and thought there was nothing wrong with it. The other issue I have is consistency, we get told the referee’s want to let more physicality go and that was clear from the kicking our team got from United’s defence. And it was even clearer in the Youri Tielemans ‘tackle’ before Leicester’s first goal. If you haven’t seen it watch carefully at the bottom of the picture, it was a full blown assault. And it wasn’t mentioned once!
Aside from that, we didn’t do enough to win the game anyway. We had a lot of possession that lacked a cutting edge. That may be why Mikel Arteta wanted more firepower as I mentioned in the last blog. There were times when we fell into that age old Arsenal trap of overplaying rather than pulling the trigger. At the back we were undone on the counter despite the warnings. I don’t know why after two dangerous attacks at 1-1 we stayed on the halfway line. Rather than dropping back we remained steadfast and eventually it cost us. Twice.
Game management has long been a question mark hanging over Mikel Arteta and it reared it’s head again on Sunday. At 1-1 with 30 minutes to play we were on top and in the ascendency. We should have settled. Instead we went at the game like there were 5 minutes remaining and we got undone. It was naïve on and off the pitch, including the strange triple sub we made that completely blew the team shape apart.
Still we’ll learn much more about this team in the reaction ac opposed to that result and that starts against Everton on Sunday. But first we have a European jolly in St. Gallen tonight.