How on earth did that match finish scoreless?
Not just in the case of Arsenal but for struggling Boro who came with a game plan and almost executed it to perfection. They were not content on just sitting behind the ball but sucked us in and hit us with super fast counter attacks. Traore on the right is lightening fast, I don't think I've seen a player as fast as that since a younger Theo Walcott.
We lacked Santi Cazorla's creative passing from deep without question but I'm not entirely sure that was the main reason for our flat performance. I thought we got the ball into our front players in decent positions many times over the course of the 90 minutes, the problem was that our attacking players were just off the pace on the day. Alex Iwobi was pretty decent in the first half, probing and finding spaces in the pockets between midfield and defence as he does so well, but his teammates were off their game. Mesut Ozil who had struck a hat-trick a few days earlier was not at his best and neither was our main scoring outlet from the right Theo Walcott. Alexis was busy as always but he was pulling the strings from a deeper position.
In the second half we looked a bit more dangerous and could have really done with a double change of Ramsey and Giroud coming on for Elneny and Alex Iwobi, who had faded completely after a bright opening. Unfortunately we have to wait a little longer for the cavalry and those options were not available from the bench.
Even though we were not at our creative best and Boro were resolute in their defending, we hammered on the door, especially in the second half. Alexis put through by Theo Walcott rather than the other way around, drew a save out of Valdés when Alexis really should have buried it. Koscielny was inches away from nodding into an empty net and Walcott could have scored. The final pass, cross or shot was a fraction out on so many occasions it was crazy.
Defensively we are still looking a bit shaky and could have easily conceded at least twice. Koscielny had a mixed bag, had some unsettling moments but made some heroic tackles including a late last ditch tackle in the box on Negredo.
It looks as if the midweek European football took it's toll, not only at Arsenal but for all the clubs that took part midweek failed to win, including Manchester City at home to Southampton. Our late victory against the Saints now looks like a very important three points as they are really playing well since Santi's late penalty. I intended to get an hours sleep before the Arsenal game as I had worked throughout the night, but I ended up missing the entire game which really angered me greatly. I checked the score in my half asleep state and the score frustrated me even more. What a way to wake up eh? At least I was cheered up no end by the goings on at Stamford Bridge. There are not many occasions where I want Chelsea to win football matches but against Jose Mourinho I was well up for them embarrassing him with all the cameras on him. Hopefully a meltdown isn't too far away for the humiliated one.
Liverpool and Chelsea will be pleased with this weekends football for sure. The top of the table is very congested in this early part of the season, only one point separating the four teams.
Hopefully the midweek rest for several of the players will see us sharpen up for Sunderland at the weekend where we hopefully get back to winning ways.