Written by Mean Lean on Sunday, 21 October 2012 11:55
It is easy to allow a result or performance to make you define a whole season based on one 90 minutes. It was only a few weeks ago when we went to last season's champions and out played them for long periods on their own pitch. It was also only a few short weeks ago where we were head and shoulders the better team at Anfield, coming away with a near complete performance. Those displays showed us what we can be and also how good we can be.
Equally when the team come out and give the type of performance showed yesterday against Norwich then they need to be judged on that 90 minute display, and that performance was damn awful. The worst I have seen for quite some time.
It reminded me of a display a few years ago against Ipswich at Portman road. Lots of pointless possession with absolutely no end product. As the game went on, you could just sense that we were never going to score. When we are going through that type of funk, we could play for hours and hours and a goal wouldn't be forthcoming.
Our game is built upon quick passing and combination play, it is our huge strength but as we saw yesterday it is also our weakness. We focus so much on our game that when it doesn't work for whatever reason we go into dog chasing tail mode. When we move the ball quickly and run off the ball then even the best teams in world football find us difficult to stop.
So it makes me wonder, at what point in that 90 minutes did the players think 'oh perhaps this isn't working, maybe we need to increase the gears a little' that thought didn't appear to enter their minds and I just do not understand why.
I do not even want to get into the goal we conceded because that really wasn't even the issue. Vito Mannone has errors in him, he is third choice for a reason and we have to deal with the injuries. If we played as we know we can then a goalkeeping error wouldn't matter one jot.
I remember writing a few years back about how our need to be patient against defensive minded teams can hinder us rather than help us. Our patience in our passing can look like complacency, whereas would we put in that type of team display if we were attempting to win the game in the first 45 minutes? I doubt it.
There can be no excuses for a performance like that. International football does not wash, our rivals had many players away but had enough to win their matches against stronger opposition than we faced. Injuries are also no excuse as we had more than enough to win the game based on quality.
If we want to have any chance of success then we have to find a way to create chances and score goals when the team isn't playing well for whatever reason.
We were criticised for being a one man team last season, wrongly I may add but having to rely on the team clicking just to function is arguably worse. Manchester United have spent the last few season's playing awfully but finding ways to score goals, even if referee's are more than willing to get in the box and get a head to the ball when needed.
I still have issues with parts of our team and I have said this during the better performances but they were once again on show yesterday. Cazorla needs creative players around him, he has the whole creative burden on his little shoulders right now. It is so frustrating that Tomas Rosicky has been out all season because he is just the player to combine with the Spaniard. Wilshere will be but is still not ready.
Lukas Podolski is the best finisher at the club, has a fantastic career goalscoing record yet is continuously playing as full back support, doing his defensive duty and getting involved in short passes at the half way line. When was the last time we sent Podolski through on goal? Where are the type of lung busting runs that we saw at Anfield?
When Gervinho first joined us, he stated that his best position was probably on the right of the attack. Judging by all his displays in an Arsenal shirt, it has looked like his worst so far. I cannot help but feel like we need another creative player in that wide position allowing Podolski to focus more of his energies getting into attacking positions.
Whatever the reason for this performance, the priority has to be to make sure that it doesn't happen again and if it looks like happening in the future, we need to change our game.
As Arsene rightly said post match it wasn't good enough. We have to make sure that we come back midweek with a much, much better performance.
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