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The great sides would have been lauded for this result


HAD one of the truly great sides got this result we’d be hailing their resilience, their ability to play poorly and yet grind out a draw. But when this Arsenal side achieve an identical outcome, the narrative is a little rosy.

Those who are not completely satisfied do offer some credit for the securing of a draw but the element of fortune receives greater focus.

And rightly so.

Firstly, for what we are not currently a great team. And then because this was utterly incoherent for very long stretches. Our first shot on target was in the 78th minute, two seconds before our goal. Had David Ospina not enjoyed a night where he was more Cech than Ospina, we’d have been done for long before.

A couple of thoughts:

- Yes, Ospina played well. But you can only argue that justified Arsene Wenger’s decision to play him if you think he should and will play on Saturday, which he almost certainly won’t. If you do really feel that the second choice keeper needs playing time, then why on earth be so rigid as to define which games he plays by the competition? Firstly, this takes no account of if at any point Cech needs a rest. Secondly, it takes no account of the potential importance of having our first choice keeper available at certain times. Such as now, when we’re trying to build on a spluttering start to the season and bed in new players. Let us find our rhythm, let everyone get to know each other and then, maybe, if we’ve a Category C home game in the league, give Ospina some time.

- The manager doesn’t currently appear to fancy the player who appears best suited to being the 1 in a 4-5-1. It is, of course, far too early to write Lucas off in that role. But as many very good players have proved over the years, it is not an easy one to play.

- Friday is 20 years to the day since Patrick Vieira’s Arsenal debut.


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