Written by Mean Lean on Thursday, 03 May 2012 13:52
Not such a good day for Gooners today as the sound of buttocks squeak ever so highly this afternoon. The worst possible results for us happened last night. A Pappis Cisse inspired Newcastle beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and Tottenham proved too much for Bolton at the Reebok.
Everyone is talking about Cissie's goals and rightly so. Two wonderful strikes, especially his second. His first reminded me of Thierry Henry's goal against Chelsea at Highbury years ago. Flicked up and then volleyed in with his left foot across the keeper. His second? wow. Only a player in red hot form like his would try and volley a curling effort over Cech into the top corner.
Plucked out from German football, he looks an absolute steal and if our German based forward can contribute to half of what Cisse has then he would have done well. We can thank Wigan for destiny still being in our hands after they destroyed Newcastle last week.
When Bolton had pulled the game back to 1-1 in the second half, I was rubbing my hands together. Bolton had increased a gear from their poor first half display and got the equaliser. Hopes that they could go on and win the game were short lived when Tottenham ripped them apart on the break.
We should have beaten Bolton at the Reebok. van Persie's chip smacking off the crossbar kept flashing in my head during last night's events. I am long in the tooth enough to know that missed opportunities do not stop only at the feet of Arsenal FC and there is no point shedding too many tears. Still frustrating all the same.
After sprinting ahead of our competitors we have stumbled at the wrong time. In another world our last two matches could have been games where we could have fielded players like Coquelin, Miquel and Chamberlain. Low pressure games that would give them some much needed experience. Here at Arsenal, we do things the hard way.
Stoke City away needs to be our Sunderland FA Cup game or our Tottenham away match. Basically we need to show some backbone and produce our best under pressure because make no mistake about it, we are under pressure and the only way to relieve that pressure is to win against Norwich at lunchtime on Saturday.
I am already cacking myself about that game so I don't know how I am going to survive on Saturday.
Theo Walcott has spoken about the need to vary his game and not be one dimensional.
“At times people just expect me to knock the ball and run but it is not as easy as you think to be honest. As soon as you start doing that, the defender knows what you are doing every time. You need to change it because you can't just be one-dimensional."
It is a side of his game that many people agree he needs to work on. When you see Walcott receive the ball on the right, turn towards his full back then you expect him to try and run outside his man. The trouble is full backs and managers also know this. Sometimes you cannot stop him but often his runs end up with him on the floor and the left back running away with the ball. What perplexes me about Theo is that when he receives the ball and drives inside his full back, usually on their weaker foot it causes teams problems and often drags defenders towards him, thus opening space for the likes of van Persie to find room in the box.
Off the top of my head I can think of Chamberlain's goal against Blackburn at home when Theo drove inside and poked it through to the Ox. He has also scored goals that way. Birmingham City away, Blackpool at home last season and I am sure many others. We just do not see him do it enough.
Theo Walcott's most successful dribble came as a youngster at Anfield. You cannot expect a player to be able to do that on a regular basis unless their forename is Lionel of course but look at the changes of direction, especially at the start of the move.
I am not sure how much further Theo Walcott can develop his technical side of his game. Here is a quote from Arsene Wenger in an interview about youth development.
The most important [coaching for] under 14 years old is Technique. After 14 Speed becomes more and more important. Not physical speed but reaction and speed with the ball
Theo Walcott is never going to be as skilful as perhaps someone like Oxlade-Chamberlain. His technique would have probably started and finished during his school years but he can round up what he already has and use it effectively consistently. Looking at that run at Liverpool it is quite clear that he has that talent to do it he just needs to catch that elusive consistency. It would be pretty sweet if it all came together next season with Lukas Podolski doing the business on the other side but hey, that is next season. This season should now be our only focus *weeps again with fear*
Andrey Arshavin has said that he will consider his future at the end of the season which is a little different to 'I am coming back to London at the end of the season'
He is doing well by all accounts, scoring goals and making goals so that can only be a good thing whether that means he stays or leaves the club in the summer.
Lastly the big man Sol Campbell has hung up those large boots of his. I remember the day he signed for us. I was working in a rather large sports media company and a number of the employees were football fans. One guy who sat close to me was a Tottenham fan, he was convinced that Campbell would sign for Inter Milan. When the news broke, he fell to his knees and screamed 'Noooo!!!'
I will always remember that moment. How painful would that have been for Tottenham fans? Hilarious. Sol Campbell was pretty poor technically, not as cultured as the likes of Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen but Sol Campbell was a warrior, a winner and a leader. He was a big part of the invincibles and will always be seen as a legend.