Monday, 18 April 2011

Arsenal's dramatic 1-1 Draw With Liverpool Costs Them Dearly.

Where do I start after Arsenal's 1-1 draw with Liverpool yesterday? It was a game which Arsenal simply had to win to keep their slim chances of winning the Premier League title alive, but ultimately their ability to self destruct cost them dearly yet again. The manner of Liverpool's 112th minute equaliser was quite ridiculous, as Emmanuel Eboue showed exactly why he cannot be trusted on a football pitch.

He has become a cult figure among many Arsenal fans since he was booed off the pitch against Wigan on December 2008. He had come on as a substitute in that game, and after a dreadful display some of the crowd turned on him, and he was substituted for his own good. It took a while for him to rebuild his confidence, but he came back, and he has become a legend to some fans. I have always thought he is a liability when he plays for Arsenal, and so it proved yesterday.

What crossed his mind as he knocked Lucas to the ground to give away the late penalty, only he knows, but it has finally ended Arsenal's slim chance of winning the league. I thought Eboue had a very good first half, but after the break he went missing from his defensive duties. The referee could be blamed for playing four minutes over the allotted eight minutes displayed by the fourth official, but that would disguise the fact Arsenal couldn't see out two minutes of play after they had taken such a very late lead.

There was visible panic among the Arsenal players when Liverpool kicked off after Robin Van Persie's 98th minute penalty. There were no calm heads willing to put their foot on the ball, and run the clock down. Three Arsenal players scuffed clearances, and that gave Liverpool the impetus they needed to win the free kick that led to the penalty. Unfortunately what happened is totally believable, as Arsenal have shot themselves in the foot all too often this season.

In my opinion Arsenal have three players in their squad who are a liability when they play, and it is down to Arsene Wenger that Eboue, Manuel Almunia, and Denilson are all still part of the first team squad. When any of their names appear on the team sheet, I feel a sense of dread about what they might do during the game. All players make mistakes, but I think the three of those players are far more likely than any other Arsenal player to err. 

The team picked by the boss was more or less as expected, with the exception of Abu Diaby keeping his place ahead of the fit again Alex Song. Unfortunately he was back to the player which Arsenal fans usually expect to see, as he had one of his quiet games again. It was hard to find any Arsenal players on the day who did put in a good display, as their game lacked pace and drive. Liverpool set their stall out to play a defensive game, and Arsenal found it very hard to break them down.

The best chance of the first half came from a Robin Van Persie corner, when Laurent Koscielny headed against the bar. Other than that chance Arsenal did very little to impress in the final third of the pitch. They certainly didn't look like a team which had to win to stay in the title race. Cesc Fabregas had a poor game by his high standards, and I can rarely remember him misplacing so many passes. I'm not sure what his problem is at the moment, but he certainly seems to be playing well within himself at the moment.

The second half followed much the same pattern as the first one, and Arsenal never really looked like scoring until Samir Nasri played RVP through a few minutes before the end. His shot was well saved by Jose Reina, and it appeared Arsenal's chances were gone. The referee added eight minutes of injury time, after Jamie Carragher was treated on the pitch for a nasty head injury.

In the sixth minute of that injury time Cesc was taken down in the Liverpool penalty area, and RVP stepped up to give Arsenal what appeared to be the three points they craved. Surely there could be no way back for Liverpool, but nobody told them the game was over, and they kept playing until the final whistle. When Eboue ran into the back of Lucas in the 11th added minute the sense of disappointment could be felt in the heart of every single Arsenal fan. 

Arsenal have developed the ability to throw away games this season, and it has cost them a very real chance of winning the league. The two goal lead which The Spuds turned around in November was a disgrace, and so was the four goal lead thrown away to Newcastle in February. The players can talk all they like about putting in a performance for the fans, but when the chips are down, Arsenal have been found wanting too often this season.

The gap at the top of the table is now six points, with six games to play for both Arsenal and "Manure", and by Wednesday night both teams will have played again. If Newcastle beat "Manure" or even draw with them, it would be a great boost for Arsenal, but at the moment I just cannot see Arsenal beating The Spuds on Wednesday night. I hope I'm wrong, but if Arsenal can't play a lot better than they did yesterday they could find themselves overtaken by Chelsea in second place. 

There are some very real questions for the boss to answer this summer, and he has to realise his squad needs enhancing. Players with fight and determination need to be added to the team, as the  boss does not seem to be able to instill it in the players himself. At the start of this season he said he will be judged by how the team performs, and when it has really mattered they have not performed well enough. Last season Arsenal suffered terribly with injuries in the run-in, but this season that is not the case. They had almost every single player available yesterday, and still the same old weaknesses were evident. The time has come to eradicate those weaknesses, by whatever means it takes, and if that means buying the players to do so, then the boss has to buy them.

That's it for today.

Here's the highlights of yesterday's game.

See You Tomorrow.


  1. Denilson is good, i don't think he screws up often. and I have friends who are liverpool supporters, who admit it was not a penalty. then you can't really blame eboue, its the ref. But I agree with you; I am a huge gunners supporter, and want our team to win. and I agree we need some replacments and adjustments to the squad. Another more dominating player who can take control of the defence, But if Vermalen returns from injury, that will be like buying a new central defender. Another good midfielder, maybe Sneijder, or a player like Roben, or Xavi. Some1 with experience. we have a good youth, but we need more experienced players. We have fabregas and van Persie, and a few other exoerienced players, like rosicky, and sagna.

  2. I am sure it was a penalty. Lucas knew what he was doing, but Eboue ran into the back of him, and if it happened to an Arsenal player I would have wanted a penalty for it.
    Denilson just isn't good enough to play for Arsenal and he brings nothing to the team in my opinion.