Secondly, we can celebrate Invincibles' Day and remember back to that extraordinary team. But in many ways that makes me sad because I can see the limitations of this side, and how, at least on a player for player level, that team was so much better. But anyway, I wasn't in any mood for celebration yesterday.
Having watched the MOTD highlights I feel in a better position to comment on the game, mainly because of the stat that the entire Stoke team was above six foot. So, Arsene's team selection was pragmatic - I can countenance playing Diaby and Song because their big guys who can compete physically. But, I still think he got it wrong with Denilson. Denilson was never going to have a great influence on a game where he was crowded out by much bigger bodies. He played well on Wednesday because he was competing against the anaemic-looking Luka Modric. But, put him up against someone who he cannot run past, and is much bigger than him was asking for trouble. At least if we'd played Theo from thw outset, we could have got some balls into their box and caused problems.
The other thing I starting questioning when watching MOTD is the legality of the Delap long throw.
The Fifa Laws of the Game say this about the procedure for taking throw-ins:
"At the moment of delivering the ball, the thrower:
• faces the field of play
• has part of each foot either on the touch line or on the ground
outside the touch line
• holds the ball with both hands
• delivers the ball from behind and over his head
• delivers the ball from the point where it left the field of play
All opponents must stand no less than 2 m (2 yds) from the point at
which the throw-in is taken.
The ball is in play when it enters the field of play.
After delivering the ball, the thrower must not touch the ball again
until it has touched another player."
I think the bit in bold is the most interesting, because quite clearly in the picture a part of both feet is not on the ground. I know Premiership footballers often take throw-ins which are foul throws, but when there is no discernible advantage from this, it doesn't make a difference whether it's fully behind the head or whatever. However, if you use the throw-in as a serious way of gaining an advantage much like a free-kick, then you should do it properly. Frankly, I think Delap should be told to adjust his technique or expect to have free-kicks given against him, because it's unfair.
I said in the title that perspective is all very well. What I mean by this, is that you look at our other dropped points this season and you could generally point at freak results. Fulham we were just dreadful but I can countenance one dreadful performance a season - last year it happened at the Riverside. But, whilst the goals we conceded to Hull and Sunderland, and even Tottenham were outstanding goals, the goals Stoke scored could have been predicted. So, whilst I'm happy to say chin up, and I'll happily eat my words if we win our games for the rest of the month, it's very difficult to put that result in perspective, when we should have been training to deal with that this week. The league is not gone although we have lost the same amount of games as we lost in the whole season last year. But, the league was not lost last year through too many defeats, it was through too many draws.
So, there is no way to put the Stoke match in persepctive: it was just a piss-poor performance, but win in mid-week and then against Manure, and we'll be in the knockout stages of the Champions League and right back in the mix in the league. We need to get some momentum going - it's what this team thrives on, but in an abstract sense it's easy to say that. It's much harder to put it into practice.
Back to school tomorrow so I don't know how much I can blog but I'll try my best. I really hope I can start to eat humble pie - I'd love to be able to, but at the moment it doesn't look likely. Hopefully that can change,