I am still attempting to digest Tuesday’s result, unfortunately I have not managed to brush it aside and move on.
I opted for playing football on Tuesday night, expecting to get the best of both worlds. I mean I was in pretty good form after last weeks hat trick and didn’t want to wait another week to play. Besides, I was going to watch our convincing victory with my feet up when I got home after yet another good personal performance. I was so confident of an Arsenal win that in hindsight I could have given my house away with those Promotions with Titanbet, I mean come on we are at home and we know just how important it is to win this game right?
Well it turned out that I had forgotten how to control a ball and every pass seemed to go to the opposition. Not only that but I had tweaked my hamstring as well as feeling pain in my back for most of the game.
I should have known from my own game that disaster was around the corner. In fact one of the guys, a West Ham fan told us during the game that Arsenal were 2-0 down.
I laughed him off and continued playing, not once believing that he was telling the truth. Don’t be silly I thought, we are playing Watford at home. The team who were absolutely destroyed by Tottenham only a few weeks back, a club who had just been knocked out by Millwall in the FA Cup. How could we be losing at home 2-0?
Come to think of it, how on earth did David the West Ham fan find out the score when he was playing the match?
Anyway I hobbled off the pitch at full time and grabbed my phone from my locker, I had planned to ignore the score until I got home but I couldn’t resist checking. Arsenal 1 Watford 2.
To borrow an Americanism, Tuesday night sucked. Sucked big time.
I have only today decided to watch the full match as the highlights were all I could muster on Tuesday night.
“I hope we fly out of the traps as we did at Southampton and given how much Arsenal are creatures of habit, I think that is exactly how we will approach the game tonight. At the start of the season we were quite front footed and it is only in recent weeks we have begun to start games slowly only to turn up the heat in the second half.”
That is what I wrote in the match preview, I couldn’t have been more wrong if I tried. Well that is not strictly true. We are creatures of habit and the team have decided to ignore what worked so well for the other players at Southampton and instead revert back to sleep walking through the first 45 minutes.
It is not always easy to produce your best football every week regardless of the opposition, so a night or half of sloppy passing can be expected from time to time, that happens to every team but what I find really difficult to grasp is basic application.
Those who have read my thoughts in the past may remember my annoyance at how quickly people say that the team does not give a sh*t every time we drop points. Application is not the only reason why Arsenal or any other team drop points or lose games.
But while I was watching that first half I saw a number of players not doing enough at all. Oliver Giroud’s first involvement was to lose a ball and not make an effort to win it back. He was not the only culprit, it happened a number of times during the nightmare first half.
I am in two minds about the Gabriel/Ramsey throw incident. It is being described as a terrible place to throw the ball but that is only being pointed out because of what followed in my eyes anyway. We always see players being put under pressure from their team mates because options are limited only for technique to get said player out of the situation then it has been forgotten about.
It is not even Ramsey’s fault because it is a tough ball to get under his spell but what happened next is crazy in my opinion. Gabriel watching the counter attack unfold decides to jog back towards his goal. Gabriel mate, you are the right back not a number 10 who doesn’t fancy the run back towards his own goal.
Are you telling me that Gabriel cannot get back into the spot that Capoue runs into to create the second goal? Gabriel is known for his speed and he should have used it.
Think back to October 2015 away at Swansea when Hector Bellerin was much, much further away (yes he is must faster) and he made it back to save a certain goal.
Even if the odds are 80/20 against you, you have to hope that the dice rolls in your favour. If Watford don’t score a second goal it could have been a very different game. I don't want to single out Gabriel on his own because a number of players seemed to have the same attitude in the first half. Also there was some poor defending from Coquelin and Mustafi who should have done much better to prevent the chance from coming into the box.
Interesting that Giroud was hooked after 45 minutes, a very un-Arsene thing to do. Reckon Giroud is back on the bench once more.
The intensity we should have started with was there from the first minute of the second half as you can see in this clip.
Had we decided to start the game in this way we would have beaten Watford without a great deal of fuss.
Alex Iwobi pulled a goal back after an impressive second half showing. I could understand why Arsene brought on Perez as he needed the goals and there were not a lot of other changes he could have made to give the team a better chance of scoring goals.
Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United all drawing their games made a frustrating night even more frustrating.
There is a lot of anger towards Arsene’s post and pre match comments about the players not being ready etc but I think it’s pretty clear what the manager is doing. He is talking to his players and not us or the press. Clearly he is not happy about what they served up in that first half and he is not one to blast his players in public for obvious reasons.
Now obviously the manager is the guy who prepares the team, the team are a reflection of the manager and I don’t think he should hide away from post match criticism.
But at the same time we are not a team of 17 year olds who need to be told how important this game was. Are you telling me that a group of experienced men need to be screamed at before every game? Players like Gabriel, Giroud and others should not need reminding just how important it is to fight for the right to play in every single game, especially a game where you have been suitably rested.
It is such a shame because it would have been lovely to have gone to Stamford Bridge with that victory under our belts and really taken the game to them.
If you have not had a chance to listen to the post match podcast, you can do so here > Arsenal 1 Watford 2