By Walter Broeckx
What do you get when the a football team plays a not that footballing team? You usually get a dire match of football. And that is what happened in the first half hour to say the least.
In a way it was as if Arsenal had prepared too much for the battle and not to play football. Arsenal didn’t get settled in the opening stages and it wasn’t really a nice match to look at. Too many lost balls and no real fluency.
In fact the few chances at first fell a bit to Stoke but it was not really foot in mouth stuff either. A few shots from distance but not much for the rest.
Giroud with a few half chances and Podolski with a shot that went wide. For Stoke Crouch had an effort that went in to the side net. Giroud tried to release Wilshere but Begovic was first on the ball. And then a bit later Santi Cazorla with some space. He could have tried to play it to Podolski but attempted a shot himself that was saved by Begovic.
That was about it for the first half as far as I can remember. And a yellow card for Pieters from Stoke.
The first danger of the second half was a cross to Crouch but Szczesny could get just in front of him and smother the danger helped by Arteta. And again the next chance was for Stoke. A free kick after a foul from Rosicky that earned him a yellow card but Crouch missed the chance. That as a real let off. Arsenal was too much playing the Stoke game and not enough our own passing game.
Stoke was creeping back with only Crouch upfield and so they made it extra difficult for Arsenal to pass their way through the Stoke defence. The game plan from Stoke was simple. Throw it to Crouch and hope for the best. And it looked very effective forcing Szczesny to another save and from the resulting corner we got a little scrimmage in front of the Arsenal game that resulted in a shot that went wide.
Özil came in the place of Podolski after some 67 minutes.
Charly Adam then planted his foot on the leg of Giroud who was on the floor but the ref missed it completely. That was a real dirty foul. With some 15 minutes to go Oxlade-Chamberlain came on for Rosicky.
Then the ref gave a soft penalty to Stoke. Walters kicked the ball from half a meter against the hand of Koscielny. His hand was in the air as he was jumping up but I don’t know if you can call this a deliberate handball and that is what it has to be to be a penalty? I notice the assistant who was close didn’t move at all. But Jones will not be prosecuted by the media for that decision by the media.
As a result Yaya Sanogo coame on for Wilshere with some 10 minutes to go. Özil with a low shot that just went wide. A foul on Giroud just outside the penalty area but the was too close to get passed it.
Than in the extra time Sanogo missed the chance to save a point after a good pass from Oxlade-Chamberlain.
This was probably the worst performance of the season of Arsenal. Well that I can remember anyway.
Let us also keep in mind that I said before that match that the ref was a home referee and the penalty was a fine example of this. But also for the rest of the match he was rather in favour of the home team letting many things go like the stamp from Adam on Giroud.
Let us hope that this is the waking up sign for the final 10 games of the season. Bad days happen in the course of the season. The penalty would probably never been given in favour of Arsenal. The performance wasn’t as should be expected. The final result from Fulham – Chelsea was also not a good one.
So a bad weekend over all for Arsenal. But that is just the way it goes in a season. We have to get ourselves together once again and play better next time. Pick ourselves up from the ground and do better next time.
- The Big 7 clubs, how much they spent and what good is it doing?
- What the media won’t tell you about football 5: Fifa lends money to Switzerland
- What the media won’t tell you about football, part 4 – referee variations
- The final transfer rumours: 3 new names to make 66 players tipped for Arsenal
- What the media won’t tell you about football, part 3 – referee home bias