By Walter Broeckx
The Wolverhampton match was a tin can-game. More on that later when we come to the analyzing part. First unpleasant thing was the absence of Walcott. I know some fans don’t appreciate him and say he is a waste of place. I disagree on this. I feel with his pace up front we always have something extra. Even if he has a not that good game he frightens his opponents and other can capitalize on this. Benayoun took his place and he did fine but he surely lacks the speed of Walcott and so the Wolves defenders didn’t have to take care of that part of the game.
Ramsey got a rest and Rosicky came in and had a decent game. Song came back from suspension and he had to adapt a bit I felt. I do think he is one of those players who benefits from each game he can get and from a run of games. Djourou came back at right back.
We started bright and with lots of possession and we took our first real chance. Gervinho ran in to space and the pass from Benayoun was inch perfect. Gervinho stayed calm turned around the goal keeper and put the ball in the net. I then had the impression that we thought the game was won. Wolves never looked threatening our goal in the first half, come to think of it in the entire game I think.
The one thing we lacked was a spark to go for the second goal. We just tried to control the game without going deep enough. We still had a few chances and then it was clear to see that their goal keeper was having a splendid day. A low shot from Van Persie to the near post was turned in corner with a brilliant reflex safe low to the ground.
While we fell asleep Wolves got a corner and when the ball was headed away, the second ball came to a Wolves player on the edge of the penalty area who took a shot that got deflected of the onrushing defenders and fell on the head of Fletcher who to his surprise saw the ball ending up in the back of the Arsenal goal. The way the goal came out of nothing really should have rung the alarm bells for the “one of those days” games. We all have seen such games before and well we probably will see some more in our lives. We woke up and doubled our effort but Wolves at that moment had gone for the parking the big bus in front of their goal.
The second half was (without having seen the details back) a game of the ref who started losing control of the game a bit. Some strange decisions at times (come to think of it also happened in the first half in fact). Low point for me was the shambles between Song and Henry. Henry lunging in with his studs showing at the stomach of Song and the ref not giving a foul, Song was so angry he also took a few shots at the Wolves players that surrounded him and this time the ref blew the foul. In my live match report I said at that time that the ref was losing the game and that accidents could happen.
They almost did when Milijas came in with a stud showing tackle and an outstretched leg against Arteta. I think the ref won some points in the ref review with finally giving a red card.
For the rest it was at times a game of Arsenal V Hennessey. With the keeper always on the right place and with amazing stops on the line. We did all we could to win the game but Wolves keeper Hennessey was just amazing. With superb reflexes he just kept the ball out of his goal. Looking at the other results a frustrating result. But football is won by goals and not by shots and chances. You must convert them into goals and in this department we failed on the day.
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So all that is left for us today is to open a whole lot of tin cans from which we can take all the clichés or stereotypes we can find. I just opened a can with : “it wasn’t our day” and added ”It just didn’t happen”. In another tin can I found: “the goal keeper had a wonder game” and “ that is what he is being paid for”. A third can had the following in it: “If you don’t score, you can’t win” and “You got to take your chances to win the game”.
And so I can find a few other tin cans filled with such stereotypes. The disappointing thing is that we didn’t get the 3 points we deserved. But this is football and those things happen in football. Time for the team to put this right in the next home game on new year’s eve. The good thing is that the team really worked hard and gave it all. And this is all I can ask as a Gooner. That the players do their best and well if things don’t work out we can’t really blame them for their lack of effort. They showed passion and effort today. Sometimes it just isn’t our day (just opened another can – oh now it was the same can)
Time for the team to show that they can lift themselves after this disappointing result and one thing is for sure: I’m sure the team can put this right. They have come back from worse in the past. Come one you Gunners.
PS: I tried to avoid the ref in this article as I think we will have enough time in the next days to have a closer look at his decisions.
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