View From The Bank: Leyton Orient 1 Arsenal 1

A kick in the teeth last night having dominated a rather lacklustre cup tie only to concede a soft, late equalizer was met with knee-jerk over reaction from some Gooners.

We were minutes away from completing a very professional, if unspectacular job in defeating Leyton Orient, in a cauldron of fire and on a far from flat pitch.

Let me stress; I believe every Arsenal supporter (and I don’t include armchair fans that never invest in the club financially or emotionally by actually going) is allowed an opinion. We all want our beloved club to win every game and we all have beliefs of the best way of doing that.

So, it was a little disappointing to see so much negativity flying around Twitter, Facebook, message boards etc.

The usual suspects were singled out again; and this blog actually focussed on one player, but in a constructive manner. For me, I believe Manuel Almunia should not play any more games for Arsenal unless he has to due to injury or suspension (I stressed this in yesterday’s blog).

Almunia’s head has gone. He’s been pushed back from first choice to third choice, has made far too many mistakes to resurrect his Arsenal career and knows that the club tried to move him on in January until Fabianski got injured.

Wenger has his reasons for playing him yesterday: he always likes to rotate keepers for domestic cup games – possible reasons could be burnout to Szczesny (doubtful), to keep Almunia happy in case he has to be called upon (more likely). Nobody knows but Arsene.

Aside from Almunia, it was disappointing to hear Gooners getting on the back of Arshavin and Bendtner in particular; who I thought played OK.

Arshavin was lively but it didn’t always come off for him and you know he’s always going to turn the ball over more times than most other Arsenal players. That’s the way he plays. Sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn’t. He’s mercurial, and he very nearly sealed victory with a bursting run and shot that hit the foot of the post just minutes before Orient’s equalizer.

Bendtner, again playing out of position on the right flank, worked hard and created Arsenal’s only goal. It was an average performance but he didn’t let the team down in my opinion, yet got battered on Twitter. I think this was unfair.

Part of the problem I believe is Arshavin and Bendtner’s on-pitch demeanour. Often they don’t look bothered. But, they have a lazy style on the ball as well as off the ball. It’s the way they play. It doesn’t mean they don’t care. Eboue is similar; so too Diaby.

It’s a squad game, and as long as they wear the Arsenal shirt, they have my backing. That is my opinion. Although if I see Almunia in Arsenal’s goal again this season, I may well shed a tear or two.

Oh, and for those suggesting that Wenger shouldn’t have rotated as much as he did; that is absolute nonsense. We have a huge few weeks ahead, starting with Stoke on Wednesday – never an easy game against those cloggers – and a Wembley cup final on Sunday. It’s all about prioritising at this stage of the season and the FA Cup is 4th on the list.

In Arsene we trust. Keep the faith Gooners; onwards and upwards.