WEST BROM 1 ARSENAL 1
It was never going to be easy getting three points at West Brom. High on confidence after their victory at Old Trafford last weekend, it was always going to be challenging at The Hawthorns, and so it proved as we came away with a hard fought 1-1 draw.
Based upon our performance, the fact we went behind, and West Brom some how failing to extend their lead early in the second half (with Anelka missing two good chances), I think a draw was probably a fair result. However, I cant help but feel disappointed too. Despite their excellent result last weekend, I thought West Brom looked very ordinary today, and with a better performance I think we could have snatched all three points. As it was, Jack Wilshere’s deflected effort, his first league goal since November 2010, was our only goal of the game, getting us level to earn a point.
Injuries to our wide areas, with Walcott, Chamberlain, Cazorla, and Podolski all still out, is really starting to hamper us. When the team was announced I was surprised to see neither Rosicky or Gnabry were starting. Instead we went with Wilshere and Ramsey out wide, which impacted our balance, leaving us with a real lack of pace and directness. However, one thing this group of players doesn’t lack is fighting spirit, and an improved second half performance saw us get a deserved point in the end. Afterwards, Arsene said:
Pleased? No because I want to win but if you ask me if it was a fair point over the 90 minutes I would say yes. Why? Because we were 1-0 down just before half-time and straight after half-time Anelka misses a chance for 2-0 and that would have made it difficult.
It’s hard to disagree with Arsene there. As for me, a few final observations on the game…
- Jack Wilshere – he had a very poor first half. Yes he’s coming back from long term injuries and yes he’s being played out of position, but he gave the ball away far too cheaply and hit the deck far too easily. But credit where it’s due, he didn’t hide and was much improved second half, getting the goal.
- Carl Jenkinson – it’s not easy playing single games, as opposed to getting a run in the team, but today was another example of just how far Jenko is behind Bacary Sagna, and why it’s important the Frenchman gets a new contract, both for his quality, but also to continue mentoring Jenkinson.
- Mesut Özil’s Song – it’s great to hear his name being sung, and to a new tune, not a recycled one as is often the case. The lyrics are “what’s it like to be T*ttenham?, What’s it like to be small?, You sold Bale, We signed Mesut Özil, Mesut Özil” and I bloody love it. You can have a listen here.
- Penalty Decisions – there were three calls in the game. Lee Mason got the first one right; a Gibbs cross hit Jones on the arm, but it was by his side so would have been harsh. The second saw Wilshere taken out after a shot, to which the commentator said “it’s not a penalty, he got the shot away”. However, anywhere else on the pitch, if a player get a pass or shot away, and is then clattered from behind, a free-kick gets given. So what’s the difference? The same applies to the third decision. Mulumbu came through the back of Wilshere and then played the ball. Anywhere else on the pitch it’s a free-kick, man before ball (just see Jack’s first half booking). Yet when the same happens in the area it’s not deemed a penalty as the player touched the ball. How does that work?
I’m not saying Lee Mason cost us three points, but just wanted to observe how backward football “logic” can sometimes be.
Right, I think that’s enough for today. We head into the international break top of the league (albeit on goals scored now, as opposed to by points), but top is still top.
Finally, I’ve decided to do something a little different during these upcoming internationals. I will be holding two Q&A sessions with two top Arsenal supporters, writers, and good friends. So watch this space for those. Until then, we are top of the league, said we are top of the league. Up The Arse.