Showing posts with label Anderlecht. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anderlecht. Show all posts

05 November 2014

Why on Earth didn't Walcott come on against Anderlecht?

Like many of you, I'm still struggling to make sense of Tuesday's result. How is it that we could squander a three-goal lead, at home, the one of the weakest clubs to make it into the Champions League, one that had scored just two goals in three matches? Yes, we can point to complacency after racing out to a two-goal lead by halftime and pad it with a third shortly thereafter, and we can deride individual players for their desire to pursue individual stats rather than collective goals, but those are issues that should have been addressed at halftime. Up 2-0, we should have salted this one away with a substitution or two, not to mention a few tactical adjustments as well. As we sift through the remains of a win that could have been (clever rhyme, that), one question persists: where was Walcott?

Well, we'll still qualify, right? Somebody hold me...

Well, that's it. Let's put the season to bed and a few players out to pasture. Fire the manager and the physios, forfeit all of our remaining matches, and accept relegation. All of the players (except one) are rubbish, too old, too injured, or some combation thereof to sustain any kind of meaningful campaign, but at least getting relegated would improve our chances at winning a league title. That one exception? He's too good so we should just sell him and use the proceeds to pay down the stadium debt. What else is left to play for after a humiliating capitulation like this, one that has slam shut the door on our chances of advancing to the Champions League knockout phase? Heck, the knock-on effect will surely see us plummet to the bottom of the Prem and crash out of the FA Cup to boot.

04 November 2014

Gunners 3-3 Anderlecht: What the heck just happened? [video]

What happened there? One moment, we're up 3-0 and look to be cruising to the knock-out stage. Arteta got his first goal from the penalty-spot in the 25th minute, Alexis added a spot- free kick goal (volleying the rebound when his kick was blocked), and Ox barreled down the left to curl it around the keeper. We were flying high, and I was even dreaming of cutting into Dortmund's goal-differential. I must have jinxed it, because moments later, Anderlecht had its first goal. So the guy was offsides. By three yards. We had been playing lazy defense the whole time and paid for it. A Monreal take-down in the box, and Anderlecht has their penalty to make it 3-2. Mitrovic was in the box before Vanden Borre shot, but whatever. We again paid the price. All that was missing was a Szczesnian screw-up and—yup. On a well-struck cross. Szcz half-charged off his line, got caught in no-man's land, and was all but helpless as Mitrovic headed home. Feh. For as dominant as we looked early, we let this one slip right through our fingers. Watch highlights below if you can stomach them...

Alexis has earned himself a spot on the bench against Anderlecht.

It may sound at first like heresy, benching our most-prolific, energetic scorer and creator, but hear me out. Yes, he's scored ten goals and notched three assists—five of those goals in his last three appearances—and he's quickly proven himself to be a quicksilver talisman who can turn a match on its head with his attacking elan, but, still, he must be benched. It's for his own good as well as that of the squad itself. We simply can't afford to depend on him to the extent we've come to do thus far, with each appearance increasing his chances of redlining and being ruled out or rendered ineffective. We have too many other attacking options, some of them admittedly a bit rusty, but they should pose more than enough of a threat against the likes of Anderlecht.

22 October 2014

Arsène is a diabolocial, passive-aggressive sadist. There. I said it.

After yet another dramatic, death-defying, last-minute positive result (we're counting draws as positive results these days, if only because there are so damned many of them), I've come to a startling, perhaps shocking realization. It's so stunningly simple that I'm surprised none of us have hit on it before. All the pieces fit. It all makes sense, if only in retrospect. Many of us can find no fault with Arsène: he's a purist and a paladin but a victim of darker, fiendish forces beyond his control. Just as many of us can find no virtue in the man: he's an anachronism bereft of new ideas and ossified to old ones. Somewhere 'twixt the two, however, lies the truth. That truth? Arsène is playing us all, even his opponents and nemeses, as patsies, as pawns in a much larger game. Even as I put these words to print, I can hear the hired goons tromping up the steps to silence me, but the truth must be told.

Anderlecht 1-2 Arsenal: the Cardiac Kids strike again!

What is it with Arsenal? After conceding the match's first goal for the eighth time in 14 matches, Kieran Gibbs scored from a sumptuous Calum Chambers cross and Lukas Podolski scored our sixth stoppage-time goal to steal all three points from Anderlecht. I don't know which is worse, that we're so leaky so early or so determined so late. In either case, you can take in the highlights below; we'll take a deeper look at the how's and the why's later...

21 October 2014

We're doomed against Anderlecht, doomed...

There's no easy way to put this, Gooners, so I'll just go ahead and spell it out for you. We're doomed. There is simply now way that we will emerge from our trip to Anderlecht with anything but an embarrassing result. As all of the headlines of the last 24 hours have incontorvertibly explained, we'll have no choice but to play 17-year old Ryan Huddart at all eleven positions simultaneously, what with actual injuries to the likes of Ospina, Özil, Giroud, Sanogo, Koscielny, and Debuchy, plus imagined injuries to the likes of Wilshere, Walcott, Diaby, and Gnabry. Worse, we're facing off against the Chelsea of the Jupiler League: Anderlecht, like Chelsea, are undefeated in league play. By the law of transitive (or is it commutative?) properties, we have no choice but to lose ingloriously in Belgium.

29 August 2014

Champions League draw analysis: not bad. Not bad at all.

Sneer all you want at a fourth place finish. There's something to be said for being perennial qualifiers for the Champions League; it boosts our coefficient so that we can start in Pot 1 for the draw, pipping Liverpool and Man City even though they finished above us in the Prem last season (and, in Man City's case, for quite a few seasons beyond that as well). They dropped to pots 2 and 3, respectively, and drew much tougher groups than did we. As to our draw, I was prepared for yet another surprising and dispiriting after getting last season's Group of Death (Napoli, Dortmund, Olympiakos), facing Chelsea in the third round of the league cup, drawing Bayern again in the round of 16, and getting Tottenham, Liverpool, and Everton in the FA Cup. It felt at times like forces were conspiring against us. By comparison, and on its own, our group-stage draw looks manageable, even favorable.