Apologies for the delay since my last post. Things were a little bit busy over the weekend, what with Christmas and all just around the corner.
As a result, I didn’t get to do up a match preview or review of the weekend game against Middlesbrough. As you will surely already know now, the match ended in the Arsenal’s first Premiership defeat of the season, a 2-1 reverse at the Riverside. As most supporters have correctly pointed out, it was the worst performance of the season and it was a game that Arsenal deserved to lose. They boys were out-fought and out-thought in every facet of the game.
As a result of the loss a lot of Arsenal supporters are starting to worry about what lies ahead for the club. I just can’t understand this. There’s no denying that Arsenal performed poorly and are unquestionably going through a tough patch of late but when it’s all said and done the side is still top of the league and have made a huge improvement on last season’s showing. This is a much tighter title race than in previous years and Arsene Wenger’s side should be commended for their performances thus far.
It’s surprising to read the comments in a multitude of other blogs about some of the Arsenal players of late. According to many, because Gilberto Silva is getting older and losing a bit of ability he was never a great player. Apparently Emmanuel Adebayor does not deserve a starting position in the side despite the fact that he is the top scorer in the league. I’ve read that Eduardo is not up to Arsenal standard despite the fact that he has rarely, if ever, started in his favoured position as a striker. People are even criticising Manuel Almunia for failing to save the penalty and suggesting that he was directly at fault for the second goal despite the fact that he made an excellent save in the first place. It’s really quite ridiculous.
I am definitely not part of the ‘rose-tinted brigade’ that so many people speak of. I know that Gilberto has not played well of late, that Adebayor is an unpredictable and frustrating player at times and that Almunia is not Petr Cech. But the group of players currently representing Arsenal are top of the Premiership and the simple fact is that it is a position that the club has not been in at any stage over the past two seasons. That in itself represents great improvement. While the loss to Middlesbrough was definitely on the cards after some less than impressive performances against Sevilla, Aston Villa and Newcastle, I have no doubt that Wenger and his side will bounce back.
Chance to make amends
People were predicting gloom and doom for Arsenal but Wenger and his players have risen above it and have performed to a standard than many people thought they were incapable of at the start of the season. There’s no doubt that the injuries are starting to show and the sooner Wenger can get one or two of Mathieu Flamini, Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas or Alexander Hleb back the sooner the results will improve. The manager has been quite careful with bringing back players too early and I feel that he is waiting for the Chelsea game to unleash a couple of his injured stars. Indeed, some recent comments from the manager suggest this may be true.
Before Chelsea I’m hoping that the side can use the Champions League clash at home against Steaua Bucharest to play their way back into some form. A good performance and result against the Romanian champions could instill the players with the confidence they need to believe they can beat Chelsea next weekend. Everybody has been saying that they want to see how Arsenal react to their first defeat of the season and with a tough few games ahead they’re soon going to find out. Personally, I’m not too worried.
Just a reminder before I go that the latest issue of the Arsenal FC Blog’s eMag, The Gooner Gazette has been released and can be viewed online here. There’s the usual opportunity to win a free shirt compliments of Arseshirts and heaps of other fun stage in there as well. Also, if you enjoy reading the blog then don’t forget to subscribe by joining the mailing list or via RSS. Cheers!
What do you think?
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