Wednesday, 24 October 2012

No Fear for Null Vier as Schalke Take All Three

Consistent performances are what we've striven for, what we've been criticized for not doing when we've needed it most, can't argue at the moment for Arsenal have been consistent...... consistently bad for 180 minutes.

It got to one point in the second half where Arsenal's attacking flaccidity culminated in me thinking "Marouane Chamakh might be a good option" - Yup, at that point I needed sectioning. 55,000 people who didn't look or sound like they wanted to be there (Visiting fans aside) watching 7/8 people who didn't look like they wanted to be out there as well.

Plus points....well, um, you know. Per Mertesacker further staked his claim for the very easy title of "Arsenal's best Defender" with a solid, impressive performance, sullied by stepping out but wasn't helped by Santos playing  everybody onside for the goal. Arteta was his normal tidy, efficient self; Jenkinson tried hard as per and there were touches of brilliance from Cazorla. Second goal was classic Champions League away counter attacking as Arsenal piled (?) forward, Schalke broke and squared for Afellay who made it 2-0 very, very easy.

The injuries are playing a part and you can see the loss of fluidity without players like Diaby, Ox, Walcott etc etc but the squad looks awfully thin and short of confidence, even Gervinho's normal get-up-and go was tested in parts of the second half, culminating in him getting yellow for "Simulation" - The attacking side of things is starting to worry as you can't see a goal coming from anywhere.

Also the timing of the subs is now laughably predictable - 72 mins for the first one and it gives the incoming player hardly anytime to get any groove into the game, teams know what to expect from us and it makes us a million times easier to play against. Alarm bells are ringing out everywhere as it seems we only seem to run when we're a goal down and Schalke didn't have to be good tonight either. The difference is they have a striker they can rely on that when he's through on goal....he'll finish, I won't criticise Gervinho too much because he does try and run but you never have confidence he's ever going to do anything when he gets it.

Where does this result leave Arsenal? Dangerously poised in both competition and season as a whole, a difficult away trip to Gelsenkirchen awaits coupled with a visit to Old Trafford. The lack of attempts at goal are also terrifying - Schalke could of left for the airport and I still think we'd of struggled to find the net.


Mannone - 5 - Can't blame for the goals but the confidence he gives the back four is non-existant.

Jenkinson - 6 - Tried Hard

Vermaelen - 5 - Looks out of sorts. Captaincy weighing on him?

Mertesacker - 7 - Looked good. Pulled out of position for Huntelaar's goal

Santos - 2 - Awful. Out of position time and time again. Played Huntelaar onside and beaten for second goal.

Coquelin - 6.5 - Tried hard and got involved by faded.

Arteta - 7 - Tidy. What we have come to expect from Mikel.

Ramsey - 5 - Invisible.

Cazorla - 6 - Flashes of brillance but no-one to help him create anything.

Podolski - 5 - Looks injured and played like he was injured.

Gervinho - 4 - Ran about. Fell over a lot. Lost the ball even more. Booked for diving

Honourable mention for Serge Gnabry who looked like he wanted to do something when he came on.

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