By Walter Broeckx
Well this wasn’t our best day today.
You could see and feel from the first minutes that half of the team was still celebrating our victory at WHL and the other where checking their list to see if they had everything packed for the visit to Belgrade next Tuesday.
As a result only Nasri really turned up and had a good game in my opinion. But he couldn’t find many players on the same wavelength today.
Was it any coincidence that Almunia had a bad day? Or was it because the team, for the first time this season, was not defending like we have done in the previous games. Then the whole team defended but now a few players were totally not involved in the game. I think it is obvious that the first 2 substitutes show who I mean.
Diaby and Eboue had their worst game in a very long time and as a result we lost the battle in midfield and couldn’t build up like we are used to do. And because we couldn’t keep the ball and the off day of some players our defenders were left alone for a large part. The midfield didn’t pick up the runners from WBA and they capitalised on that.
I really do wonder if Diaby was fully fit. He moved very slowly over the pitch and it looked that he was in trouble physically. Off course we cannot know what was decided on Friday but if the medical staff found he was fit and the player also, they should reconsider their opinion. He could have been medically fit but I think he was not match fit. By medical fit I mean that you can run and turn on the training field but that is not the same as running and turning when you are being attacked and you have to track back on the tempo the opponents are giving you. I can understand that if the medical staff tells the player is fit that Wenger started him. It could have been useful to give him playing time to get him back on tracks but it went wrong.
Eboue was also having a bad day. He also had a test on Friday and maybe he had the same problem. He missed a lot of passes, looked slow and didn’t find his place on the field. But here also, he never looked at ease during the game today.
These are the things that can happen to a player and certainly when you just come back from injury. Sometimes you just step in and continue how you had been playing before the injury and sometimes you need more time. I think it was obvious the latter in Diaby’s case this time. Nasri has been an example of the first option. But as a manager you never know what will happen.
I think that Wenger has played them both with an eye on Tuesday. I think that on Tuesday he will start with almost the team that was played at the end but with Koscielny still on the field. I think he wanted to give them a game today so that he could rest Wilshere who had been playing a lot until now and also Rosicky who was doubtful before the game. It didn’t work out as both Diaby and Eboue played not at their best. This can happen.
And maybe the rest of the team also can try to keep in mind that you need to do more than just walk on the field to win the game. For the first time this season we didn’t fight and play with the whole team and it showed in the final result.
Now I must say that when the game was lost and we were 3-0 down we finally started doing what we should have been done from the start. I think that Wenger will have a serious word with the players that started today and point at this.
We can feel let down by the team today but this will not mean that I will shoot our players down. Or write them off. This is just part of being a supporter. And by no mean don’t think that I am saying that any of these players is not good enough. They have shown enough that they can do it. But as they are only humans this can happen.
But I do hope that we get some important players back as soon as possible. I’m not using our injury list as an excuse as I do think the players who started the game should have been capable of winning it. And I also hope that the players are more focussed on what they have to do next time around.
This is the first defeat of the season since we started it on July 17. So it is always a bit sour but we just have to stand up, dust ourselves off, and start again. And show that we are The Arsenal.
And if defeat hurts us
On a rare and seldom day
We will not desert you
Our Gunners in arms
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