This wasn’t good
SO in our defence, it is true that the opener could to a considerable degree be blamed on the failure to award a foul on Coquelin. Chelsea played it brilliantly once they got possession but there could be no doubting the fact that Sagna’s position was based on thinking that Coquelin had the ball and wasn’t about to lose it.
It is also true that for their penalty Ramires did essentially kick his leg into Szczesny and so in a sense we were unlucky on that too (even if conventionally speaking it was a definite foul and red card).
But what I find so telling is our inability to deal with these kind of set-backs. To me the difference between us and the top sides is not whether or not we sometimes fall victim to poor officiating or set-backs but how we cope with it. We appear to have zero resilience.
It was interesting to hear the manager call for more aggression pre-match. Quite right too because against City we were tepid for the most part. Sadly, a few mistimed challenges aside, we were like that again before the break today. Perhaps I’m just ignorant of what it is to be a professional footballer, but to me Theo Walcott just stands there when the opposition have the ball. He puts no pressure on the defenders, marks space and appears content for the game to just pass him by. He’s not the only one but he is the most obvious.
So we were awful. And we were lucky not to have Szczesny sent-off because how you can tell me that a guy standing 10 yards from goal with no keeper and just two defenders on the line doesn’t have a clear goalscoring chance, I don’t know frankly.
We improved after the break and got a goal but then largely failed to kick on. Theo took his chance nicely enough but was too easily caught offside on other occasions. Giroud looked a little low rent truth be told, Diaby hasn’t shown his turn of pace since his return and Cazorla is quiet at the moment. In the second half Gibbs was the pick of our bunch I thought.
On a final note, is Sunday at 1.30pm not the most cretinous kick-off time of them all? It totally knocks out the notion of a Sunday lunch, which for many is the most sociable, family orientated, inclusive occasion of the week. Horrible time.