An Opportunity Missed. Now let’s move on.

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Dec 142010

It’s 4.30 in the morning. It could be the kebab or whisky I had a few hours back that’s keeping me up, but the thought that keeps running through my mind is what an opportunity we’ve missed. I couldn’t see the game, and thanks to my over-zealous boss I couldn’t even sneak off to the bogs for a listen. So I can’t comment on incidents in the game. Just how I feel about it.

I would usually be in a state of depression and anger after such a result, but from what I can gather, neither side played particularly well, neither side showed much flair in attack, and neither side showed much frailty in defense. I hear it was a frantic first half, with “England’s best referee” doing his best to keep his cards in his pockets.

I find the starting line-up a little puzzling. Why start with Rosicky? Sure, Nasri’s form meant he would have been marked out for special attention, but to bring in Rosicky to the midfield hardly added steel, and as a consequence of his starting there was no space for van Persie, so we had less creativity. The Dutchman showed some fine touches against Partizan, and didn’t seem off the pace at all for his first start in ages. From what I hear he added to our attack well when he came on. So why not start with him, bringing on Rosicky/Walcott for Arshavin if needed?

Of all the sides we play in the Premier League, ManUre’s defense demands we field the best we have in terms of attacking talent. Sure we need possession and steel in midfield, and perhaps AW was concernced about RvP, Arsh and Chamakh’s collective ability to track back, but for me it was the wrong decision.

We’ve shown this season that it’s our attacking talent that’s been winning us games rather than our defensive prowess. And great teams don’t need to make concessions to the opponents.

Maybe this is my sleep-deprived mind talking, maybe I’m being na├»ve, but it sounds to me like we played into their hands in this respect. There’s also the consideration that we made a change in formation to a side that had been scintillating up front.

One welcome solution to this issue is to make sure Arshavin and whichever one of Chamakh/RvP is playing wide track back and defend more effectively.

It’s a mark of champions to pick themselves up from such setbacks. That is precisely what we need to do, and now we have two tricky home games in which we really have to get maximum points to keep a title challenge alive.

Let’s dust ourselves off, and batter Stoke on Saturday.

Arsenally tired and disappointed,