View From The North Bank: Sp*rs 3 Arsenal 3
Well, that wasn’t unexpected was it. First of all, that was more like an Arsenal performance. Sharp passing, attacking with pace and creativity and clinical finishing. That said, despite our decent defensive record this season, a game rarely passes without a calamity of some sort.
Cesc was back to his old self and Wenger’s decision to play Diaby and Song as two holders allowed Fabregas space to work his magic. This was the best performance by el capitan this year and hopefully put to bed the well documented and ridiculously out of context recent interview with a Spanish magazine that I’m not going to give more publicity to.
Diaby had another solid game before being replaced by Jack early in the second half, which made a difference to the match. This is by no means a criticism of Jack who has been a revelation this season but Arsenal were not able to control the game in the second half as they did in the first as Cesc was starved of possession for large parts.
Song didn’t have one of his better matches – was caught in possession more than a few times and unable to break up play as much as we needed – and Jack was unable to impose himself on the game, perhaps due to fatigue but also maybe because he allowed van der Vaart to get in his head after an altercation and then a couple of nutmegs.
It was great to see Theo and Nasri back to their old selves and van Persie’s general play and movement were exceptional. I thought Sagna played Zingzilla - er I mean Bale – well, but Djorou had possibly his poorest game all season.
They scored two wonder strikes in the first half and then Sagna got caught napping by Lennon’s out-to-in-run and Szczesny cleared him out. It was rash, it was costly, but he’ll learn by it.
The difference between them and us is that they were delighted with a draw. At home. Whereas our boys were gutted. That made me find a sense of pride amongst the feeling of despair that we couldn’t capitalise on another lifeline.
The fact remains that we’ve drawn too many games at the business end of the season, but I would urge Gooners to ignore the ensuing media hysteria (it’s an easy way to gain hits and keep advertisers happy) and again reflect on the fact that our club is in good shape on and off the field.
It is however starkly evident that this squad needs shaping up. As discussed in this blog in previous weeks, Arsene’s scouts are working hard to find fresh blood that can take this team over that elusive finishing line.
What many Gooners are mainly disappointed about from Wenger’s point of view is his reluctance not to buy in experienced players. The problem is that the Academy keep producing fine talent and therefore Wenger should be applauded for allowing the likes of Jack and Szczesny first team opportunities rather than buying established players. A balance surely needs to be found though.
The frustration remains that many now view Arsenal as a finishing school for talented players rather than a big player that dominates domestic and European football. Wenger’s hands have been tied because of the relocation to Ashburton Grove but now Stan Kroenke has taken control of the club, Wenger will have finances available to improve the squad – not Chelsea or City millions, but millions nonetheless.
The Wenger Out mob will carry on with their negativity but he remains the man for the job in my opinion. In the grand scheme of things he has worked miracles to keep Arsenal at the top of English football despite not having any medals to show for it. And most football fans can only dream of their team entertaining as we do. We should never lose sight of that.
Bolton on Sunday. What are the odds on a draw from a winning position?