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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.

24 Responses to “The great sides would have been lauded for this result”

  1. ANTHONY says:

    stop trying to pretend to know better than eh manager. Should Cech one day be injured or lose form or require rest, teh manager will do the necessary and play Ospina. Wenger has always followed this rule with his two main keepers. in my view Cech has not been that good lately conceding goals he should have saved, eg, Free kick against Southampton and countless others ( i think it has to do with his agility).

  2. Ogban says:

    This is another of the many potential replacements for Wenger waiting on the wings! Many top teams who have two top keepers rotate them between cup and league games. Barcelona did it between Bravo and Ster Tegen. Real Madrid do it. But the all knowing Arsenal fans will not accept that. If Ospina is perpetually left on the bench, and tomorrow he demands to leave, we will acuse him of disloyalty.

  3. Danny_321 says:

    Is there any chance of some positive comment? I think we all agree things are a little bit lacking cohesion at the moment; the pundits are outraged by Arsenal (basically because we’re Arsenal) and the Twitter/Blog world appears to think we’re scratching around near the bottom of the league.

    In truth, despite the poor performances, lack of cohesion and (to us but may be good reason) weird team selections, we’ve lost one game all season caused by a crazy 10 minutes where we had two 5 year old centre-backs.

    Other than that we’ve drawn away at the PL Champions (albeit they’re eminently beatable), won 2 league games since and drawn away at top seed in our CL group.

    I think it’s fair to say things could be worse and yet, by all accounts, we’ve been rubbish…what will happen if it clicks and we get on a roll?

  4. PD says:

    I’m going to get slated for this post but what the hell…

    Firstly does Ospina playing well excuse Arsene’s decision ? Not at all in my opinion. You can’t complain about a disjointed team performance where we looked shambolic defensively & just decide that leaving out our no. 1 keeper in our biggest game in the group didn’t contribute in any way to that situation. Of course it did.

    Secondly, did he really play that well ??? Or are people following the simple ‘keeper makes lots of saves’ equals ‘keeper plays really well’ rule. It’s not that simple for me. He made one brilliant save, where he pushed the ball to the side when Cavani tried to round him. Other than that, he made a lot of saves that you would expect any decent keeper to make…but making a lot of them doesn’t make them individually better saves. (and two of those saves he only had to make because of himself : one through poor distribution & one through poor positioning – the one direct from a corner)

    I just don’t get Ospina. He makes me about as nervous as any Arsenal keeper I have seen….at setpieces particularly. When corners are about to come in, he looks like he has no idea what he’s doing. He terrifies me. And he looks like he terrifies our defenders too. (Kos in particular)
    Anyway….I’m sure I’m in a very small minority on this one.

    Alexis is not, never has been & never will be a striker. FYI Arsene – this is not news.

  5. slc gunner says:

    On the whole, I agree with PD and ‘Playa that Ospina’s performance does not justify his selection. PSG is still one of the top 8 sides in Europe, even after Zlatan’s departure and this was a game that demanded our first choice 11.
    I do think he played really well. For me, it wasn’t the saves as much as his timing coming off his line. He narrowed the angles very well, making it very difficult for Cavani et al to score. If it was Cech, we would be either lauding his performance or saying that it is no more than we expect from a world class keeper. Does it mean I want to see him in the next game: no. Cech is #1 and should play in all the league games and the major CL games. I am ok with Ospina being the keeper for the Carling (or whatever its new name is) Cup, the FA Cup and maybe one or two CL games if we have already qualified. However, my sense now is that there is an internal agreement that Ospina will play the CL qualifiers.

  6. MDP says:

    Credits due where credits due, Ospina had a very good performance and along with Cavani was man of the match for us. If you compare Ospina to Fabianski, I’ve always felt reasonably at ease with Ospina in goal (not including Olympiacos last season). Fabianski just had my heart in my mouth and Ospina doesn’t do that to me anywhere near as much. In general he seems a decent back up keeper.

    However, Cech is in another league of quality. Ospina’s inclusion seemed all the more bizarre when you consider we’re bedding in a new centre back. I’ve always hated this thing of swapping keepers for cup games. You should field your best 11 as much as possible in my opinion but it’s becoming more and more common these days. I can only assume it’s a gentleman’s agreement to guarantee second choice keepers games and keep them at the club. There’s definitely a sense that second choice keepers are harder to recruit these days.

    Did Ospina’s inclusion affect the defence? All four defenders were particularly bad on Tuesday night. I have no doubt that they would have been more comfortable with Cech behind them. But, it was a shambles throughout with the only defensive cover in Coquelin playing far too high up the pitch as Alexis got sucked out to the left.

    Not good enough and the lack of shape to the team was frightening. But, a point was a great result and we have Cavani and Ospina to thank for that.

    On to the next game and it rests with Arsene to find that shape and balance. Personally I’d start by bringing in Giroud from the off. Bring Xhaka in just in front of the defence and expect a more disciplined performance from midfield. I’d consider resting Cazorla and maybe bring Elneny in as well. It might be a bit too soon for Arron but I could see him back either in the middle or on the right wing. We can’t keep giving the opposition chances on a plate so that has to be the priority. On to Hull next.

  7. Elvis says:

    I did not see anything more than YouTube highlights so I cannot comment on the match. But, having become an Arsenal fan when the defence was Rice, McNab, McLintock and Simpson with Storey holding and having admired Dixon, Winterburn, Adams and Bould, before marvelling at the Invincible Lauren, Cole, Toure and Campbell, to hear of a defensive dog’s dinner giving the ball away cheaply time and time again is a bit depressing.

  8. longtallgooner says:

    I’m of a similar generation Elvis, thought that Bobby Simpson was one of the best no 6′s never to play for England. Although there was some shocking defending given the chances PSG actually missed, I think this back 4 could be one of the best we’ve had for some while. 2 good fullbacks with Bellerin’s pace and Mustafi looks like a tough nut shaping up. I think the defensive problems stem from weird team selection up front, Sanchez is never a lone number 9 and the amount of aimless balls sent up to him meant they were coming straight back. Also, we allowed their right back to get at Monreal and make him look world class, which is unproven as yet. We looked much better being aggressive in pressing the midfield second half. I can see Ozil and Sanchez getting thoroughly teed off and leaving if the team shape isn’t right for them to do what they do best.

  9. PD says:

    It’s been a good few days. Delighted for Lucas. Not a stunning goal technically but you gotta love his desire & persistence. It seems like Arsene really went for someone like Vardy if he couldn’t get Vardy himself.

    Xhaka ? I smply cannot see how he can stay on the bench. The boy looks top class.

    Chelsea will be a big test….

  10. MDP says:

    Yeah, it’s been a welcome run of good results and goals.

    No doubting Xhaka quality and Mustafi and Perez look pretty good too. We often talk about technical quality but all three have shown a desire and determination looking like potential leaders, qualities which we’ve been lacking.

    Seems somewhat of a selection headache against Chelsea. We’ve got to find a balance that wasn’t there against PSG and was maybe less apparent against opposition like Hull or Forest. I’d have no hesitation in putting Xhaka in against Chelsea but selecting his partner is difficult with Cazorla, Coquelin, Ramsey and Elneny all staking a claim. I think I’d like to see a bit more bite with either Coquelin or Elneny and Cazorla/Ramsey offering great options from the bench. Up front I’d like to see Giroud with Alexis on the left but if Giroud isn’t fit I’d happily see Perez given a chance. That then leaves the question of Iwobi who doesn’t really deserve to be demoted to the bench with his direct running such a threat but impossible to leave Ozil out.

    Chelsea are there for the taking but will be no pushover. Can’t hand them the chances we gave PSG so I’m hoping for some good news when the team sheets are put out on Saturday.

  11. Elvis says:

    Yes, the results have been very good even though they have been against teams we should have no problems beating in truth.

    Against Chelsea there is a real selection conundrum. I can’t remember a time when there were so many good and different options, and so few injuries or suspensions. I think only Mertesacker is out! Or have I missed someone?

    I would avoid picking Coquelin for this match. Rat-faced cheat Diego Costa will try from the first minute to wind him up and get him sent off for retaliation. And probably succeed. The last thing we need against them is yet another first-half red card.

  12. MDP says:

    Talking of red cards, if Xhaka starts then he needs to be fully briefed and disciplined. I hear he has quite a track record for red cards with 3 last season.

  13. slc gunner says:

    Long way to go but great performance today, 1st half in particular. Coquelin’s injury being the only downside, but for once, it feels like we have the cover that we need.

  14. Delve 348 says:

    Arsenal with their tails up, three good goals, clean sheet, Chelsea playing like 8 year old girls, Costa booked, Terry injured, Fabregas ineffective and withdrawn. Perfect day.

  15. PD says:

    Fantastic performance. Now we need to make sure that this is one of the highlights of a great season as opposed to THE highlight of a disappointing season. (like MU game last season)

    Two highlights for me :
    - Ozil’s desire to get in the box for his goal. His lack of goals is the only thing stopping him from being one of the best in the world. Hopefully he’s on his way to double figures.
    - Coq going off & realising there will never again be an Arteta-shaped nightmare as his replacement !!

  16. MDP says:

    2 more highlights from me:

    The blossoming partnership between Kos and Mustafi. Solid.

    Alexis is back! Yet to be convinced that playing centre forward is his calling as he’s constantly dropping back. It does give him a certain amount of freedom and releases him from the shackles of some defensive duties. When we’re grinding out results I think a more traditional leader of the line is required. But, he looks happy and 5 goals!

    Next step is to use the depth of squad, the more solid defence and the true world class quality going forward and find that consistency. As PD points out above, we were here against United last season.

  17. MDP says:

    Love the Kos and Mustafi partnership:

    Been waiting years for this. Long may it continue!

  18. Delve 348 says:

    Vladimir Lenin, Leonid Brezhnev, Mikael Gorbachev, Fancy Bears, Anna Karenina, Josef Stalin, Smirnoff Vodka, Rasputin, Csar Nicolas II, Pussy Riot, Leo Tolstoy… Your boys took one hell of a beating.

  19. slc gunner says:

    Who is this hungry Theo and where he has been?

  20. MDP says:

    Yeah, I’ve made my views pretty clear on Theo over the last couple of seasons. This time last year I held my hands up, after the United game, said I was wrong and that Theo had come of age. Then it all tailed off. I’d be delighted if Theo proved me wrong, I’ve always said he’s a good lad and Arsenal definitely look better when they have width and pace on the wings.

    Theo is definitely playing to his strengths. Intelligent runs, pace, simple passing and great finishing. He’s also tracking back. Compared to a more traditional winger like Arjen Robben he lacks the more technical ability to take the ball in tight situations and take players on and you still see these flaws in his game. Maybe that sounds harsh when he gets the other things right and most importantly he does have this knack of scoring. That could be called composure to add to his list of qualities.

    Anyway, really happy for Theo and what he’s bringing to the team. I’m withholding judgement for now after last season but will be more than happy to eat humble pie come the end of the season.

    Trying not to get carried away but I love the now look central defence, the stronger spine and Ozil and Alexis playing with smiles on their faces. Consistency, consistency, consistency is what we need now across the board.

  21. PD says:

    Extraordinary stuff from Theo. He has massive limitations still but if he does what he is good at, he is a very dangerous player. He’s just never done it for long periods. Let’s hope this is his final ‘coming of age’.

  22. PD says:

    Bloody refs. Never give Arsenal anything eh?

  23. King Henry says:

    Look PD, the referee was consistent at Turf Moor. He did not award Arsenal a penalty when Keane handled accidentally. And he did not sanction Koscielny when he handled accidentally either for the goal. The rules say that handball must be deliberate to be foul play. Move on.

  24. PD says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with the last two words there King Henry. I will no longer point out controversial decisions in our favour. I will simply wait until the next controversial one that goes against us leads to toys being thrown out of prams at an alarming rate & end the wailing with a simple response. Move on.

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