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At times it resembled an Alex Hleb tribute act


Putting it kindly I think it fair to say we got our goal before we’d had a chance for a sustained final flurry. The manager arguing we should have won was, err, pushing it a little.

The second half was at least a fun spectacle. But the reality is that our best players were our defenders – Koscielny, Mertersacker, Gibbs and Bellerin arguably looked more accomplished on the ball than some of those ahead of them. The reality is that Cazorla, Ozil, Sanchez and Giroud all struggled. At times this resembled an Alex Hleb tribute act – the opportunity to shoot eschewed in favour of one yet one more pass. And while we created more than Sunderland and at times came agonisingly close, there is an argument to say it was the visitors who missed the really glaring sitters in front of goal.

Barring disaster on Sunday we’ve secured third and automatic qualification for the Champions League, which is not to be scoffed at. A genuine improvement on last season.

I do have some concerns. I worry that the manager doesn’t know who his midfield is, which can’t be a good thing. I also worry that for all our good form in the second half of the season, we’re hardly going into next season choc full of in form attackers. Giroud, Sanchez and Ozil have all struggled of late: a third successive home game without a goal tells the story. The manager can cite tiredness but he might also dwell on the fact that had we been going for the title we’d just have collapsed completely with just 6 points from 5 games. He needs to work out why we’re tired.

Added on just three minutes of injury time, in spite of relentless Sunderland time wasting. I’m not arguing we’d have scored had he added on five but few things grate more than officials who indulge time-wasting. It is cynical and ugly and if anything officials should be biased against it, not in favour of it. And then there is the whole looking at their watch thing. It is as if we’re supposed to believe that doing this stops the watch and adds on time. Hugely frustrating.


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