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Written by Mean Lean on Thursday, 31 January 2013 11:40

The neutrals would have switched off content last night but both Arsenal and Liverpool will have slapped their thighs in frustration at not coming away from an entertaining clash at the Emirates with all three points.

I suppose the result is a perfect reflection of the two teams, both capable of matching the top sides when it clicks but both have the propensity to shoot themselves in the foot at any given moment.

First halves have become somewhat of a problem for Arsene Wenger's team this season, needing to keep games tight early on has deserted us one too many times. The incline button was pressed once again in the first 5 minutes of the game. A ball searching out Glen Johnson down the left should have been Sagna's all day long so much so that Johnson had started applying the breaks until Sagna's feet gave way beneath him and Johnson pounced his left foot cross into the Arsenal penalty box was heading straight to Vermaelen for what should have been a simple clearance but as at Old Trafford, he miss hit his clearance to the edge of the penalty area, Aaron Ramsey trying to break against Liverpool tried to flick the ball into his path on the turn but it was too heavy which then gifted Liverpool another chance to get the ball into the danger area, the ball finally found it's way to Suarez who hit a shot which (obviously) took a deflection on it's way past Szczesny.

It is difficult to understand why goals like this come about and how they can be stopped or indeed why they happen to Arsenal so often. Individual mistakes have been a thorn in our side for far too long now. The finger will most likely be pointed at our manager and coaching staff but the fact is that both Sagna and Vermaelen were in the right positions to deal with the situation, we had at least two layers of errors covered. It is a real head scratcher.

Theo Walcott had a chance to almost instantly cancel out the opener but his low driven shot was too close to Reina. The game was pretty open and both teams had chances to hit the back of the net. Vermaelen, Giroud, and Walcott for us and Agger, Henderson, Sturridge and Suarez for Liverpool.

I thought we didn't trust in our football enough at times during the first half and it reminded me of our early season form. Numbers behind the ball but instead of trying to break them down by combination football, we looked to the flank positions to cross the ball into mainly one man and that was fruitless.

At times I get the impression that Sagna doesn't pick players out, he just tries to get it out of his feet and hit the ball into the box. It is the only way I can explain how so many of his attempted crosses end up on an opposition head often nowhere near Oliver Giroud.

There are not many Arsenal players that I feel a genuine sense of anticipation when the ball is at their feet from wide areas. One is Lukas Podolski and perhaps Santi Cazorla. The other players like Tomas Rosicky and Andrey Arshavin are not in the first team.

I think we are far more dangerous when we are playing combination football around the penalty area. Jack Wilshere is great at picking up the ball and driving at the heart of the opposition, Oliver Giroud is great at playing 1-2s with players as showed later in the game and we could really benefit from that. Similarly as Barcelona do with Messi when he drives forward and pops the ball into a player and spins off for the return. You have more control of what you are doing and opens up the opposition rather than feeding a defender a header to clear.

Kieran Gibbs did his hamstring in and that is awful news at this time. He has possibly been our most consistent player this season, certainly our most improved. Andre Santos is not a bad player, go back and read blog's and comments when Santos was stretchered off at Olympiacos last season to prove that point, the difference this time is that we have a player bereft of fitness, sharpness and indeed confidence.

Henderson put Liverpool 2-0 up and I don't think individuals were to blame but more the system and style of play that we play. We play an extremely risky defensive strategy where we don't have players behind the ball. Our defence is usually a foot race with the last man and we get away with it by fractions on so many occasions but the law of averages suggest that we will be caught eventually and the bounce of the ball went Liverpool's way, allowing Henderson to tap in past Szczesny. With last ditch defending always on the Arsenal menu, I would always have Laurent Koscielny as our first choice defender but that is just me.

I thought that was very much that, but Arsenal had other ideas. Jack Wilshere floated in a free kick from the right and Oliver Giroud showed what he can do when the service is good. The Frenchman glancing in from close range,

Three minutes later it was all square. Cazorla played a ball into Giroud and his first time cushioned touch into the path of Walcott was Bergkamp-esque. I know, I know blasphemy right? It was that good. Walcott lashed the ball past the helpless Reina.

While the team should rightly take the criticism for the poor defensive mistakes, credit is due for the mental strength to turn the score around. Heads did not go down and the players forced the issue. The biggest regret to Arsene will be Giroud not being able to sort out his feet and turn in Lukas Podolski's cross in the final minutes,

We missed one of those going mental moments which is a shame but our opponents also had chances to win the game towards the end so the draw was a fair result if not a wanted result.

While we do not move any closer to the top four at least we are not further back with both Tottenham, Chelsea and of course Liverpool also managing the one point.

However these individual errors have to be stopped, I hope something is done about it as soon as possible because games and time us running out. Stoke City next up, fingers crossed with an addition or two.

Comments (14)

  • Arselicked  - Rambooooooo
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    I feel Ramsey is really coming up. He is really taking this defensive mid position well and i can't help but appreciate that he may be as good as Flamini
  • Joecarbonuk  - Improvements
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    I think our defensive errors are born out of a nervousness that exists in the team as a whole, possibly originating from our carling cup final defeat a couple of years ago. I do think that our defenders are all individually good players. We just need to be tougher mentally and refuse to give the opposition any room.

    On the attacking front though I think we can all agree that things are improving and I would say that we're only going to get better. The team are still not completely on the same wavelength at times as was evidenced by a few b
  • Joecarbonuk
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    Doh! Continued from previous > back heels being missed. Once that understanding is reached then we'll see a return of the tippy tappy for sure.
  • shotta
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    Good one ML. Not much to add. Plenty of positives to build on. Lets hope we can reduce those individual errors; they are killing us.
  • Zayed
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    ML im really glad youre back to writing, youre honestly one of the bright spots of my week :D.
    Full credit to attack and Ramsey (Carzola was subpar though)
    We cant let that happen again, atrocious defending that is. I dont understand this Arsenal side at all, first we have the best defense in europe (ala 3 almost 4 clean sheets in a row opening season) but couldnt score, now we have the opposite. Alright slight hyperbole but oh well.
    In any case back to the defense, I know its never productive for players to get blasted and get the "hairdryer" treatment, but honestly I don't know what else Arsene should do with these grown internationals. Sagna's slip was ridiculous, complete and utter lack of concentration he has been horrible these past few months compared to his standards. Whats happened to Per? TV continuing his up and down season. Szczesny also followed up his poor display over the weekend with another one. The only good defender we have is Gibbs and God knows how our luck works.

    Im a huge AKB so if he doesn't get another LB I understand, but any1 else really think we need a defensive signing?
  • jd  - Poor Commitment
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    The Arsenal Players did not show enough desire or commitment on wednesday. At times Mertersacker was embarassing. He is so massive but dances round like a Fairy when trying to make a block. At the other end Liverpool players did everything they could to try to get in our faces and make life difficult. It was obvious that Liverpool having a defensive midfielder like Lucas helped them control the game in midfield better and however good ramsey was at times I do feel that the first goal was more his fault than anyone elses. The Sagna slip was unfortunate and vermaelens clearance was so poor but at least he was trying to do the right thing. The little flick ramsey tried was suicidal and was all about making the wrong decision. What would a proper defensive midfielder have done in that situation. I don't remember Gilberto trying stupid little flicks on the edge of the box. Also I think that Santos is a bad player. I defended him on this blog about 6 months ago and to whoever I was arguing with I apologise. I gave him a chance and he has done nothing but dissappoint. He is a liability and I am so glad we have signed Monreal because I honestly think Santos is such a liability that a month with him at left back would have ruined our sewason he is that bad! The best thing to come out of the liverpol game was that Jack wilshere and Theo were awesome and Giroud was good enough for me to think he could one day be the world class striker we need. Our whole attack was brilliant at times and the only thing I question is again desire. If we are good enough up front o rip liverpool apart like we did in that little 10 minute spell when we levelled then why can we not do that from the beginning of the game. What was more frustrating was that after we levelled I felt sure that at home with the momentum and the way we had shown we can play we would surley get in front and win. That did not happen though and it seemed as if the players got back level and went back to the mediocre way we had been playing in the first half. Maybe it was because we were so afraid of losing what we had that we choked which is not great because we can't just only ever play well enough when we have nothing to lose. The player need the desire to win enough to be able to take a gamble and that is something we are missing. We can get top four this season easily but we need to change our metality and have the desire to win not just the desire not to get beaten.
  • paspartu
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    hey there jd i stopped reading when you blamed aaron for suggesting he went for the spectacular backheel instead of clearing..... the ball is deflected ....from tommy v;s poor clearance..and falls behind aarons path ...just saying.....

    take your spuddie attitude out our club 8)
  • baldy red
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    jd take no notice of that plonker paspartu,fact is our defence as a whole is a fucking liability at present,theres individual errors scattered all over the place,so much so that you could fill 2 hours of a 2012/13 bloopers dvd.clear to see sagnas playing for a move as his form coincidently dipped after his interview,the bfg,as lovable a character as he is skates about the pitch like bambi on ice,the QE2 could turn quicker,our captain has been poor this season as well and our erratic keeper its no wonder the goals we our conceding are of a comical nature.

    mental strength? pull the fucking other 1 arsene
  • bake
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    Agreed. That was not Ramsey fault. You just want to blame him. He could do nothing about that. It's down to sagna, per and verm
  • jd  - ramsey
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    I said that ramsey had a good game for the most part and as a box to box midfielder he would be good but he makes bad decisions sometimes I don't know why that makes me a spurs fan. I'm not going to take Paspartus comments too seriously because I have read a lot of the drivel he regularly writes on here. Just because someone has a differnt opinion to you doesn't mean they should support a different team. In fact if only plonkers like you turned up to support one team i recon the crowd would be lower than at an oldham game. If there is no reason to criticise arsenal then Paspartu why didn't they win the game on Wed? You seem to have it all figured out why don't you share some of your great insight so I can not read it then resort to slagging you off?
  • jd  - Ramsey
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    And I know that the ball took a defliection but ramsey still made a choice of how to deal with the situation and made the decision to try to set up a counter attack instead of making sure. If that was my team mate I would have wanted him to make sure. And passpartu the ball isn't deflected from tommy v's poor clearance it comes off the keeper then to Ramsey. I'm not saying it wasn't difficult but it was possible to do something more positive with it than what ramsey chose to do.
  • paspartu
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    well jd i have , many times, and yes it is all quite clear and straight forward, but i guess people with empathy towards arsenal and our players will always find something to complain about. we could win the title one day and you lot will complain for it not happening sooner.

    you came and blamed ramsey for something which aint his fault. instead of admitting same you accuse me about drivel....lol... maybe youre the one who comes out with negative drivel and im the one correcting you...

    you dont like it of course but thats what happens when people want to critisise, no? youre free to critisise arsenal and im free to critisise you and your opinions, so why you getting frustrated?

    seems like you guys do not want to be held accountable for your opinions ........
  • jd  - I am happy for you to criticise
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    I am happy for you to criticise but you admitted yourself that you didn't even read my argument. I am not a doomer and I am quite happy with the position the club is in. I have been an arsenal fan for a long time and remember the pre arsene days when we did not win a lot. I wrote a piece a little while ago saying that I would never beat my club up for not winning trophies because we don't have a divine right to do so. I have supported arsenal since I was a young boy and didn't live very far from highbury. The club is part of my identity and i didn't choose to be a fan purely so I could celebrate winning trophies. The importance that the club has in my community is important to me and the fact that it helps define the area I grew up in is important and I could have been a lot worse off if I had been born in blackburn or hull. If i lashed out at the club for not winning trophies then I agree I would not be much of a fan. I think that you have jumped to a conclusion about my opinions because that is what you wanted to believe. I respect my club (certainly enough not to start accusing real fans of being spurs supporters) but I do feel like when a performance is below what I know the team is capable of I am entitled to criticise. I have been watching the arsenal and football long enough now to feel like I am capable of forming a valid opinion. Maybe it was a bit strong of me to accuse you of spouting drivel and call you a plonker but I am sure if you are a proper fan as you claim you would know how irritating it would be for someone to suggest that you were a spud. Maybe the anonymity of the internet got you all excited but I very much doubt you would have the confidence to throw accusations like that aroud in the Auld Triangle when you hear people criticise the team.
  • paspartu
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    what arguement jd? i told you i stopped reading once i saw you were talking wrongly about ramsey...no need to read any further... the rest of your words do not concern me, i only got involved for the ramsey comments you made. in fact youre the one who accused me of drivel when youre the one who is wrong on ramsey...

    as for what value or credit i give to your opinion or anyone else's,its purely my personal decission.

    i dont like people who think they are in a position to critisise professionals of wenger's callibre and integrity. neither do i like people who think they can tell him how to do his job, therefore my opinion on yours or anybodys else;s critique on arsenal will be harsh, very harsh.

    if someone disagrees with the way things are ran he can stop paying and fuck off back where he came from to be honest. thats democracy. i dont see how it gives him or anyone the right to demand that things change and abuse the people working for the club.....

    in the end of the day, the idiots who want things to change because they dont get how football and economics work, are trying to force on to the rest of us that they are correct and that wenger must go and that we must this player and that player ...

    i wonder what you muppets have achieved in your lives to have the sheer audacity to think you can judge wenger ....some nerve you lot got...
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