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1) What on earth happened there then? How did we manage to throw that away?

@AngryOfN5 - Complacency, lack of concentration, inability to close a game out - nothing we haven't seen many times before to be honest. My son's football team win most of their matches, and coming up to the end if they're a few goals ahead their positional sense and willingness to pass disappears as they all want to get on the scoresheet. It reminded me a bit of that. But the Arsenal players aren't all nine years old, they're supposed to be experienced professionals.   

@invinciblog - Once they were gifted their first (offsides) goal, Anderlecht got the wind in their sails. Arteta's forced substitution made our unsteady ship unstable. Poor match management in the final 30 minutes meant that Anderlecht were allowed to convert momentum into more goals.

The substitutions were questionable - neither Rosicky nor Podolski displayed the qualities you would expect from players of their calibre. They added little going forward, and nothing going back. We rushed headlong into an ambushwhacking of our own making.

By the time Anderlecht had their 2nd, a 3rd seemed inevitable. I'm just glad they couldn't steal a 4th, and really ruin our night.

@olafbrinkmann - A few factors. Cruising at 3-0 and an offside goal, by a country mile, is allowed to stand. (What exactly does the official next to the goalkeeper actually do, Mr Platini?) Then Mikel Arteta is subbed with a hamstring injury. A weak penalty awarded against Nacho Monreal and the nervousness skyrockets in the team. The draw was on thereafter as our whole system shutdown, a collective defence was required and it was not forthcoming. We should have shut up shop but did not. Silly in the end.

2) Did you have any issues with the line up before kick off?

@AngryOfN5 - Monreal at centre-back? How is that a good idea? The issues stem from lack of activity on defensive cover in the summer. At the very least put Chambers as CB and if you have to play Monreal put him full back and tell him not to move from his position. On pain of death. On the plus side I always like to see Ox start ahead of Rosicky, who has spent what seems like at least ten years flattering to deceive in an Arsenal shirt.

@invinciblog - I personally would have started with Arteta and Flamini. I think they gave our defence a stability that allowed us to flourish up front in the last two games.

That said - Ramsey has to be given game time to find some form. (Safe to say, he didn't find it tonight. I think he was pretty shocking.) In his defence: he doesn't hide, though sometimes you wish he would.

Cazorla was extremely underwhelming tonight. If I was Wenger, I'd seriously consider giving him some bench time. I would probably have started Rosicky over Santi. But that may not have turned out any better. Which is why I'm not the manager.

@olafbrinkmann - Not initially or on paper. Carzola concerned me a little and he then stayed on for the full game, contributing too little given his talent. Flamini with Arteta would have been wiser starting pairing than Ramsey and Arteta.

3) What did you think we did right during the game?

@AngryOfN5 - Started well and took a 3-0 lead! Attacking wasn't as pedestrian as usual, so Welbeck at least had the chance to run in behind a few times. But I think faster attacking is only possible for this Arsenal side against fundamentally weak teams. A good team is always organised properly and in position to halt our slow build up before it even starts. Then eventually the players get bored and shoot from outside the box and miss.

@invinciblog - At first - it seemed like our 'attack is the best form of defence' approach would work, for once. As the game slipped away, I realized that a 3 goal 'cushion' is a bit of a straw mat, where Arsenal are concerned.

Perhaps we should stick to being Greek, and coming from behind.

Obviously, scoring goals is something 'right' - and something I hope we continue to do. But conceding them, so readily, at home, takes that 'right' and knocks it deep into the black heart of 'wrongness'.

@olafbrinkmann - The interplay at times was sweet. We had ample  possession (the stats bear that out), were seemingly in control in attack whilst bringing Chambers and Gibbs into the offensive part of the game at the right time(s). The team was in control till the dubious 1st goal and we unravelled after that. An expensive lesson learnt, we hope.

4) Did any Arsenal player particularly impress during the game?

@AngryOfN5 - Is this a trick question? Alexis of course. Mind you they all looked good at 3-0, even Szczesny who has barely saved an actual shot all season. Nobody was awful for 90 minutes, but then again if you give away a 3-0 lead it's likely nobody - or very few anyway - is particularly doing well either.

@invinciblog - Alexis, obviously. His appetite for winning is tangible - even through the TV screen. But it's Ox who impressed me most: he has now put in three consecutive head-turning shifts that should be a huge source of hope for Gooners.

@olafbrinkmann - Alexis was superb again but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was dynamic, positive and inspired. He has his detractors amongst our fans but Mikel Arteta was the glorious metronome that helped the team tick between defence and attack. His substitution played a large part in the loss of the rhythm we suffered. And did I mention that Alexis was superb again.

5) Which players were not at their best and why?

@AngryOfN5 - I think Mertesacker hasn't been at his best all season - maybe he's permanently past his best. Flamini might be in the same boat. Monreal's best isn't really very good, especially in the middle, so I don't expect a lot. Szczesny's poor form has been slightly hidden by the lack of shots he's faced, because he's been letting in a large proportion of shots he does face. I'm not a Rosicky fan, I rather gave up on him years ago. Podolski made no impact, but was hardly given a chance to - once again Arsene's substitutions seemed to come at odd times, but obviously not as odd as bringing on Podolski to close a game out in the 80th minute. That just sends the message to the players to carry on attacking in large numbers - and the players have to pick this sort of thing up subliminally because there's no actual communication from the manager during the game to tell them what tactics to adopt.

@invinciblog - Mertesacker's lack of pace against a young, tireless team becomes critical. He jabs a crucial (if panicky) interception every now and then, but often it's self-inflicted.

Ramsey is trying too much, too hard. Again, some unnecessary showmanship nearly cost us a goal. He doesn't seem to have the discipline to stick to what's best for the team at times.

Cazorla is just going through a brown patch. He is a brilliant footballer, and though his performance tonight was dire, I think he'll find his rhythm. Hopefully sooner, rather than later.

I thought Monreal was having a great game, until the penalty - and even then - those errors happen in the blink of an eye.

To be honest - I don't blame the defence for this result - I think the breakdown happened further up the pitch. We were leaning forward and getting away with it, so we leaned more. Pride comes before a fall, as they say...

@olafbrinkmann - Santi had another off day, Aaron is not anywhere near where he was and the BFG was caught out too often. All three could be relied upon towards the end of last season, yet currently they a falling short of the high standards they themselves have set.

6) Do you think this result/performance will negatively affect us in the short term?

@AngryOfN5 - Not really, no. Ultimately we weren't likely to win the group anyway and we're still hot favourites for the coveted second place and a few million euros for the privilege of being thrashed in the last 16.

@invinciblog - Yes, I do. What faith we had in our ability to keep a clean sheet has been truly shafted. Rumours of our resurrection seem to have been greatly exaggerated. Team AND manager are going to have to do some serious introspection. Arsenal's ability to never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity is troubling, and has been for a while, now.

The whole is not equal to the sum of its parts, and it's up to Arséne to fix that. Quick.

@olafbrinkmann - Usually I would say yes but the collapse tonight will be more of a wakeup call than the results we have squeezed out recently. It will motivate the team as you should never go from 3-0 up to draw 3-3. Coming from behind gaining three points shows, as AW likes to say, resilience and character. Having 3 points and qualification in the bag and coming out with only one point, must mean you better prove the naysayers wrong in the next game.

7) Any other thoughts?

@AngryOfN5 - Why don't keepers stand still for longer on penalties? They'd save far more of them.

@invinciblog - It's easy to let a result like this bring one to despair. The challenge for us, as fans, is to take this result and give it the same weight as a win. Negativity loves company. Step away from the newspapers, from Twitter... Go walk the dog instead. Breathe. Repeat.

@olafbrinkmann - We expected to win. The team played like they did, the fans were not singing/supporting the team with any gusto and even the manager seemed like he wanted this over and done with. That flippancy and sense of the expected, are not drivers of pushing hard in attack and supporting each other in defence. A draw is not the worst result but a draw from a dominant winning position, is unnecessary and inexcusable. ATID.

Follow these excellent guys on Twitter. @AngryOfN5 @invinciblog @olafbrinkmann

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more