Thursday, 23 April 2009

Is this team really learning?

Wenger tells us constantly that this team is improving. Negative results are written off as good results for the future.

Well, if that's the case, I need something explaining to me.

Last year, we went to Anfield in a Champions League quarter-final and Theo made a late breakaway goal. We were guilty of over-celebrating. Our players lacked focus and so when Liverpool came on the attack we conceded a soft goal instantly.

But it was acceptable once. The players were young; they would grow from the experience.

That's why this Liverpool match made me so angry. Because we went back their again and were guilty of making the same mistake twice. When this Arsenal side had the opportunity to win away at Anfield for the first time since 2003, they let it slip through their grasp.

And why? Because they're not learning. The Arsenal defence in the 3rd minute of injury time was like an idiots convention: everybody could clear the ball but nobody did.

They were all just too pleased for Andrey. And whilst I accept that this was a weakened defence, it is important to make a distinction: maybe with a first choice back 5, we could have stopped one or two of the Liverpool goals, but it had nothing to do with that. Liverpool scored their 4th because we lacked the ability to clear the ball out. We'd lost our focus. In our desire to show our appreciation for Andrey, his goalscoring feat which should have been match-winning wasn't.

I didn't necessarily think this defence was an improvement. But I thought it might have learnt a lesson. And until they do so, we won't win away to our big rivals; wins will become draws; and the League will stay at the Theatre of Shit. That's the reality.

Of course there are positives: technically, players like Alex Song and Theo have developed enormously: I remember a Carling Cup semi-final 15 months ago when everyone was talking about how shit Walcott was. So obviously in their feet these players have improved. Now, they just need to do it in their heads.

Keep the faith,


CivvyGooner said...

What you fail to realise is
a) that we were lucky to have been gifted the ball on three occasions by the Liverpool defence, and but for that would most likely have lost the game;

b) that Arsenal as a team refuse to boot it clear, as the players insist on playing it out of defence, and playing attractive football. Whilst this trait is laudable in attack, it is suicidal in defence, especially against a team like Liverpool who dig in and never stop going until the end.

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