Sunday, 27 February 2011

Where to start? Birmingham match report.

Arsenal 1 Birmingham 2

Fair play to the manager - he offered no excuses.

But there's no getting away from the fact that this is a deeply disappointing result - not so much in that we didn't win the Carling Cup, but that the trophy drought goes on. Since we won the FA Cup in 2005, we've lost three cup finals and three semi-finals. For a club of Arsenal's stature, that isn't good enough. Period.

I have certain issues with the team selection - I might have started Bendtner over Rosicky and brought Nasri inside, but basically we were a shower of mediocrity. Nobody had an absolute shocker, but nobody came anywhere close to carving themselves into folklore either.

The bottom line is that whereas against Chelsea, or Barcelona we were really up for it, this afternoon we weren't. Not, that we let them win, but it was lackadaisical and lackluster, and I don't just use those adjectives for some cheap alliteration.

Out of the 90 minutes, we scored a goal out of very little on 38 minutes and dominated for seven or eight, and apart from that Birmingham were the better team. They hassled us and had some great performances - much though I hate to say this, Bowyer was immense, and Beausejour did well off the bench. As a point of contrast, Chamakh and Bendtner did okay but no more than that.

In terms of the goals, is it worth any analysis? The first goal was the sort of goal we specialise in conceding, much though fans hate to see them. Robin leveled with some instinctive play, and the winning goal doesn't merit any discussion. It was a colossal f*ck-up, simple as. Considering Szczesny could reasonably have been sent off after 90 seconds, and they hit the inside of the post, we really can't have any complaints.

Three goals in three games isn't great form, but equally our form remains impressive since the turn of the year. The big question is how do we respond to this setback? In this sense, there's no better opportunity than to face Leyton Orient.

If we can't beat them at The Grove, then, well, I'm not sure we deserve to win anything.

Keep the faith.

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