Norwich 1:0 Arsenal
That was depressing. Losing a real thriller is bad enough. But at least the adrenaline is pumping through you. That was like being half drugged and then beaten up. It just went on and on bring crap for a sensation free ninety minutes.
For the first fifteen minutes we owned the ball. In fact, we owned the pitch, the stadium, the whole of Norfolk, but we didn’t have a clue what to do with it. After the game, Arsene Wenger called it ‘illusory domination’ and he’s right. It didn’t take long for Norwich to see through it either. With each minute our forward passes became sideways passes and sideways passes became backwards passes. Norwich could play higher and higher up the pitch. With no pacey runs from deep, when we did break through we got caught offside.
Our tactic seemed to be to bore Norwich to death and hope that their work-rate would drop and they’d give in. No such luck. Arsenal went to sleep and didn’t close down Tetty advancing down the middle of the pitch. He fancies a shot that Mannone appears to have easily covered but can’t hold. But worse than that, instead of pushing it out sideways he pushes it back out into the box. Grant Holt won’t have an easier finish all season.
After that, Norwich had a lead to motivate them and it wasn’t as if they’d been lazy before that. Arsenal had some lively moments but nothing much. We were still the technically more accomplished team, but Norwich had a rare win in their sights and weren’t letting go of it.
The introduction of Oxlade-Chamberlain introduced some acceleration but all too soon he took a heavy challenge and was dubbed himself. Not a lot else to say really. Our best player was probably Jenkinson or Cazorla, but no-one was really worth bashing the keyboard over.
The combination of Santos and Podolski didn’t work as well as Podolski and Gibbs. Maybe they haven’t figured each other out, but Santos goes inside more than Gibbs and they often ended up trying to use the same space. But it mattered little really because overall we just weren’t good enough. Let’s hope we’ve rediscovered something in time for Schalke.