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It’s October and it’s nearly over

ARSENAL 2 HULL CITY 2
FROM GOODPLAYA AT THE EMIRATES

AND so another Premier League title is very likely out of our reach. This time, before the clocks have gone back.

Of course, it is quite possible that from our remaining 30 games we win 20, draw 8 and lose just 2, clock up 79 points and finish 7 points off Chelsea. And then, no doubt, our manager will tell the next AGM how we’ve won the title with fewer, conveniently forgetting that from October we were at no point challengers.

This is, perhaps, a little unduly pessimistic. We’re fortunate that only Chelsea have had a decent start and so they are the only ones we require to implode. So yes, we could yet do it.

But it is hard to see how. The most alarming thing against Hull was how we managed to be so good for the opening half hour and so thoroughly dreadful for the whole second half. We seemed incapable of rousing ourselves – inspiration came neither from the pitch nor the sidelines. And it wasn’t like people we were having terrible games. We were just so utterly clueless.

When the equaliser did come, it was nicely done and you could say Sanchez had kept going all day. But you couldn’t say it had been coming.

A word on the defensive injury situation. It has been well noted that in the summer we got rid of three defenders and brought in just two. Hence everything getting squeezed and our reserve left-back being at centre-back yesterday. But of course he isn’t just our reserve left-back. That implies all he ever does is play in Gibbs position if he is injured. But the reality is Gibbs, after Theo Walcott is perhaps as close as we have at the club to an out and out winger and not a bad one at that.

And so a great number of Monreal’s 10 substitute appearances in the league last season were not to replace Gibbs, but in fact to replace someone else and allow Gibbs to go left-wing and offer us much needed width.

We needed that width desperately yesterday. But of course it was another casualty of our decision to slum it with one fewer defenders this season.

A word on the referee, who was pretty poor to my mind. Their was the contact with Flamini’s head for the first goal. Granted, Flamini should have just dealt with it because as we saw there is no accounting for the failure of officials, but it has to be a foul. And then there was his indulgence of as cynical an attempt at timewasting and breaking up the play as you’ll ever see.

What really gets me is that the time so patently isn’t added on. How do I know this? Because he signaled six minutes stoppage time, we scored in it (which should be more time added on automatically), then to compound matters two of their players hit the turf after the goal had gone in and yet still he blew up after the originally signaled 6 minutes. Explain that.

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