Arsenalistas get the better of Arsenal.
We needed a massive performance against Braga last night in order to see ourselves back on track before this weekend’s clash with Aston Villa. The performance we eventually delivered was diminutive in size and got us about as back on track as a derailed train that’s been taken even further away from the track for repairs.
This time round there was no lead to lose at half time, all square at 0-0 as it was. It was a game that, in spite of Arsenal dominating posession, never really got going. The second half was calamitous for us, Cesc limping off with a hamstring injury before Eboue was stretchered off leaving us with 10 men on the pitch. Vela had been brought on for Bendtner (if I remember correctly), who had been pretty crap all match. If you’ve read this blog before you’ll know I’m a huge Bendtner fan and have been since we was on loan at Birmingham. Though he has his Burnley days, he always fights to the end and has scored us some vital goals. I love his attitude.
Or I did, until he came back from this groin injury. First came the silly comments about wanting a transfer if he didn’t get playing time, then he was dropped from the squad altogether (apparently), and then last night his positioning was useless and he didn’t look bothered. Given that his original injury was exacerbated by him driving like a knob, I’m just a little annoyed with him at the moment.
Anyway Vela came on and was brought down in the box pretty soon after this. This is Arsenal in Europe, so obviously he got booked for diving in spite of it being one of the most blatant penalty calls you’ll ever see. Which brings me to the uselessness of the extra officials they’re trying out in the tournament this year. Have they got any decisions right yet?
Braga (the team we beat 6-0 at home) went one up in the 83rd minute thanks to Matheus who also went on to score their second and final in the last minute of normal time as well. Bloody good goal as well. And Arsenal were caught on the hop once more.
It was a painful defeat, especially given the weekend as well. Leads you to question what exactly it is that’s going wrong with us. In ten days we’ve gone from two hard-fought away wins against Wolves and Everton to a slump so massive in size it can only mean it’s November.
Again if we look at our positioning in the league this month as compared with last November, we’re laughing. But what’s the point in that if we’re not going to make the most of it?
Johan Djourou called last night ‘a wake-up call’ but I’m sorry, if they weren’t already well and truly woken up after three home defeats only three months into the season, exactly how deep is the sleep they’re in?
It pains me to criticise these boys because I love them so much but there comes a time when you have to look at them and ask what it is that’s wrong. It isn’t obvious. We’re not being battered by teams, which would make diagnosing our issues much easier.
The Cesc injury is another worry. I maintain that the people claiming his problem is that his brain is on Las Ramblas already can go take a hike. It’s clearly a physical issue, although if it is in his head, it’s the knowledge that he’s five minutes off an injury all the time. As soon as his hamstring went yesterday, he was gesturing he needed to come off. That to me is not the action of a man surprised by his injury. It’s almost expected at this point.
By the way, when Cesc does take trips back to Barcelona, I truly hope he doesn’t hang out on Las Ramblas as it is a bit of a pick-pockety dive. But that’s another tale for another day.
We are now level on points with Braga and three behind Shakhtar Donetsk, who top the group. Our final match is now a match we need to win, so we should be thankful it’s Partizan Belgrade given their history in the competition this year. Then again it is at home.
I don’t mean to sound like a total Debbie Downer. At the end of the day, we’ve been in a crap position in the Champions League before and still qualified so I still have absolute faith we will. We’re still second in the league and still have FA Cup matches to tackle as well. OH, and Aaron Ramsey made a successful comeback for the Reserves yesterday after nine months sidelined after that injury. Hopefully he’ll be back in the proper squad soon, so that’s a silver lining to a big fat defeaty cloud.
It’s a bit grim being an Arsenal fan at the moment, although fans of other teams are queuing up to say “You wanna try being a fan of X”. Yes, we know the position we’re in could be a lot lot lot lot lot worse (and we must remember this), but watching a team lacking any fire in the belly is hard. Very hard.
Anyway we’re off up to Villa Park next. Their run of five games unbeaten was put to an end by Blackburn on Sunday, in spite of the late-in-the-second-half presence of Robert Pires. It’s probably fairly certain he’ll appear in this next match and I’m sure he’ll want to show the world he’s still got it. Sigh.
LET’S END THIS BLOG ON A HIGH, YES?
Well, a high for me anyway. ‘A girl who loves the Gunners’ has been shortlisted under the Best Young Bloggers category in the PickLive NOPA blogging and podcast awards 2010. Given that it’s still only nine months old I’m quite proud of that! All those shortlisted in all categories have also been entered into the ‘People’s Choice’ award as well, and if you have a look here…
… you’ll note how very silly my little ol’ name looks next to all those big guns of football brilliance. So, not that I’m one to beg a vote. But if you happened to click on the page… and saw my name (‘Sian’ for ‘A girl who loves the Gunners’)… and then decided you felt like clicking on it… well, I’d be very grateful.
Also a big thank you to Rob from Arsenal Ranter FC1886 for his very kind words in his last blog, which you can check out <a href=”http://arsenalranterfc1886.blogspot.com/?zx=59fba9f8fc0117c5“>HERE</a>
And don’t forget, Gooners… where there’s Arsenal there’s hope. We’re at the bottom of a dip here. Let’s start the climb back up now!