By Walter Broeckx
If we compare this match with the one on Saturday it is almost unbelievable that the final score was 0-0.
From the first second and you can take this literally: it was an open match. Ba trying to shoot directly at goal from the kick off and if it wasn’t for an amazing save from Szczesny we would have been behind after 2 seconds. But our Polish keeper was ready from the first second of the match. Luckily.
The match went up and down with Ba having another chance but again Szczesny was there to stop his shot. From Arsenal we had a few promising runs from Alexis. But his cross to Giroud didn’t end up in a goal with Giroud and a defender trying all they could to do what they are paid for on the ground. Giroud trying to score, the defender trying to stop the shot from going in. The defender got the upper foot at the end.
What also was visible after a few minutes was the poor state of the pitch. The ball hobbling and bobbling too much to my liking and I think also to the liking of the Arsenal players. It wasn’t as bad as the pitch in Milan few seasons ago but a good second in the league table of bad pitches is what they get from me.
As in Milan we struggled too much with the ball to get it moving well. For me the match was entertaining to see but not the best match from Arsenal. It sure is visible that we are not yet in top form. But we worked hard. And when you can’t get in to your game that is all I ask from the players.
The first half ended with two big chances one for each team. But it remained 0-0 at half time interval.
The second half was also entertaining but the ref started to push himself in the spotlight. He let Ba stamp on Arteta’s foot without calling a foul and the result was that Arteta had to be replaced. As if to make up for this miss he then started waving cards around as if he got paid for each card he could show.
And he started seeing some fouls, but then not seeing the same fouls seconds later. It all got a bit bizarre. Even worse he then started seeing fouls the other way round and waving cards around like mad. I’m not saying each decision was wrong but he surely didn’t cover himself in glory with his decisions.
The second yellow card for Ramsey was what I expected him to do. Ozyakup went down without hardly being touched and there was no real pull, but the ref seemed happy to send him off. Now I don’t mind such an approach overall if the ref would be consistent. But then not even a minute later when a Besiktas player pulled Wilshere down completely he didn’t gave a card. It is such inconsistency that is putting refs in a bad light.
But despite being a man down we still tried to go forward when we could. A free kick from Cazorla was almost spilled by the keeper but he retrieved the ball. Besiktas could have scored when a striker curled the ball wide of the far post and that was their biggest chance of the second half.
The biggest chance came for us however when Oxlade-Chamberlain almost capitalised from a bad pass from a Besiktas player. He rounded two defenders and then shot with his left foot. It was going in but the keeper had a hand to it and it rebounded on to the goal post and then the Besiktas defenders could clear the ball.
A draw maybe was a fair result in an entertaining match, played at a pitch not fit enough to be used in the conference league around New Year. [Actually Walter as an occasional watcher of Conference football I’d be disappointed with a pitch like that in the Conference in the New Year – Tony]
I would have liked a score draw more to be honest because a 0-0 is a tricky result. It will be about being patient and clever in the second match. And in that match we will be without Ramsey who will be banned for this match after his two yellow cards.
By then we will have our Germans back however and we can hope that they will hit the ground running as we will be in for a tough match against an opponent that gave a good account of themselves. Let’s hope that we can show that on a decent pitch we can up our game to the required level.
Finally I want to say a little word about our new young kid on the block: Calum Chambers. I didn’t want to get too hyped after the Man City match. You know it could have been a lucky shot but then again in the Emirates cup he also wasn’t too shabby, (and that’s an understatement). So he impressed against City. And then he also was impressive against Crystal Palace. So two in a row wasn’t that bad for a 19 year old boy.
But today once again he showed that he really is an amazing player in the making. Apart from one miss he was once again impressive. So very slowly I am falling for the hype he is creating for himself. And I don’t mind falling for the hype. It is very difficult for defenders to catch the spot light (compared to a ref or strikers anyway) but this boy is doing just that. So I will not shout it out loud…yet… but we might have found another player that we can enjoy for a very, very, very long time. Well done Calum, keep it up!