Arsenal Need To Find A Way To Get Past DefeatBy: Sairax | February 28th, 2011
First off, congratulations to Birmingham City for winning the Carling Cup. They played well, fought hard and were rewarded in the end. This is their first trophy in some 48 years, so it is a great achievement for Alex McCleish and the club, well done. As much as people say this could be a turning point in our season, this could similarly be one in their season, as they are currently in a relegation battle. We’ll see if this now spurs them on to go on a run in the league.
As for the Arsenal, I can’t help but feel saddened and disappointed. This was a real opportunity for our boys to show that they are ready to win things. Sadly, it was not to be. Losing the Carling Cup Final has now opened the floodgates for the usual criticism of our team. That’s to be expected. There’s probably a bit of truth in some of it as well. Should Wenger have started Rosicky? I probably wouldn’t have. Then again, I’m not a Premier League manager who has won numerous trophies. I suspect he had Diaby starting the game next to Song, with Jack in the Cesc role, but Diaby picked up a knock before the game and was replaced at the last second by Gibbs. Who else to start with? Denilson? Perhaps. Most of us would have thought Bendtner would have been great to have on, particularly with the goals he’s scored in the Carling Cup this season. So then Nick would have been out wide, with Arshavin on the other flank and Nasri through the centre. There’s no guarantee that formation would have worked though. Wenger perhaps opted for Rosicky’s experience and more physical nature in the centre of the pitch.
Rosicky didn’t have the best of games, but I don’t think you can accuse him of not caring or not trying. I think all of our players were trying. Arshavin was running his butt off and trying to get the best of Carr. Carr did a great job, but Arshavin managed to get through a few times. He even assisted the RvP goal. Yes, we scored a goal remember? Jack knocked one off the crossbar a few seconds before and Robin managed to get the equalizer. Unfortunately, he seemed to injure himself in the process. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but it is quite possible that he will be out for the Barcelona game. That will certainly be a blow as he has scored 13 goals in 11 appearances for the Arsenal in 2011. RvP had a good game, I thought, as did Jack and Nasri who were constantly trying to get forward. We were not clicking in the first half, but there was a good half hour in the second half where we were hammering them with shots. Ben Foster came up with some great saves and did all he could to keep them in the match. That, along with Brum’s solid defending was key to their victory. To say we didn’t want it or didn’t try is unfair, particularly on Birmingham who deserve credit for their performance. We had 19 shots with 11 on target so it’s not like we weren’t trying to score. Thinking back, the game could have been a lot worse. We could have had Szczesny sent off and had a penalty awarded to Brum if the linesman had made the correct call. Then we would have played effectively 90 minutes with 10 men and lost Szczesny for the Orient match. I think we’ll be hearing less moaning about referee bias against the Arsenal from gooners for the rest of the season.
Our defense wasn’t the rock-solid unit we’ve seen as of late. This was the first match Djourou has played in 29 games that he has lost. In 2011, before the Carling Cup Final, our defense has conceded 11 goals in 15 games, including that freaky 4-4 with Newcastle. Not too bad for a defense and keeper that people keep telling me suck. Brum’s Craig Gardner reckons that they scared the begeezus out of us. Frankly, he may have a point. I do think nerves got to the team a bit. You could see our backline was shakier than it’s been as of late. Perhaps it was the occasion and the pressure building up to the match, but hopefully now they’ve got that out of their system. The goal we conceded was an accident. There was a mix-up and Martins pounced (which I thought he might. Check our twitter where I warned of his threat before the match, and even when he came on). It was one of those Arsenalesque blunders that haunt your dreams at night, like when Gibbs slipped in *that* Champions League semifinal against ManUtd. Former Arsenal keeper Bob Wilson tweeted: “Felt for Szczesny/Koscielny. Brought back memories of Ian Ure & yours truly presenting Swindon Town with gift during 1969 League Cup Final.” Happens to the best of ‘em.
What we need to do now is find a way to move on from this. The players have already taken to twitter to express their feelings about the result.
“Congratulations to Birmingham. This team has great potential and there r still great targets to play for this season. Thanks for ur support.”
“Thank you for your support guys its a massive blow but we have to look forward wednesday FA Cup and we have still 3 competition so chin up”
“I’m very sorry that we didn’t bring CC back to north london! Thanks for ur support today! Sorry again!”
“All i can say is sorry to the fans..it hurts alot i know but we must all stick together, still in 3 other comps! We have to move on!Sorry <3"
"Morning every1.still feels like a bad dream but have to move on…this will make us more hungry to win the Prem and bring it to the emirates"
“Can’t tell how disappointed I am. So many dedicated fans on Wembley and a great spirit. And then we lost! Hope we can justify it later.”
“Just feel ashamed..sorry.”
Wenger congratulated Birmingham on their win and said that Szczesny and Kos were both “destroyed”. They must be feeling awful right now for conceding that last minute goal, but what is important from here on out is their ability to bounce back. The fact is we lost, but it is still only February. We cannot let this result destroy our season. We all remember how that draw with Birmingham in the game where Eduardo got injured saw us implode that season when we had a good shot at the title. We can’t let that happen again. On that day, Gallas, our captain, sat on the pitch after the game and cried. Yesterday, we saw 19 year old Jack Wilshere cry too. (These players already bring out the motherly instinct in me at the best of times, so seeing him in tears nearly sent me over the edge!) It was his first cup final and he lost, and I don’t doubt how much he wanted it for a second. Now that the players know how gut-wrenching it feels to lose and see another team hoist a trophy in front of you, they will not want to have that feeling again. I’m not ready to write this team off when we still have so much to play for. Write your eulogies at the end of the season. Right now we’ve got games to play.
All the focus is now on Leyton Orient. We have to face Orient at the Emirates on Wednesday and make sure we advance through to the next round in the FA Cup. Like everything else this season, I expect it to be difficult. This team never does things the easy way, and we’ve just lost a cup final. Funny eh? We beat Barcelona, draw with Orient, and lose to Birmingham. I’ll be happy if we end this season and my blood pressure is still at normal and healthy levels. At the end of the day, you have to crawl before you can walk. We actually made a cup final, which is the first step. The next step is to make another final and win it. We can only do that by focusing on each match as it comes. This team didn’t suddenly turn crap overnight. We’ve been on a good run in the league and we have to continue it on Saturday against Sunderland. But like I said, it’s all about Leyton Orient right now. No time to point fingers and blame people. We win as a team and we lose as a team. Victoria Concordia Crescit. Let’s push on and move forward.
I thought I’d give a brief update on our loanee situation (info provided by Young Guns Blog). We’ll hopefully be seeing Carlos Vela today playing for West Brom against Stoke City. He scored a decisive goal against Wolves last week and Roy Hodgson has said that he believes Vela can bring the goods for them to stay up this season. Henri Lansbury has been continuing his excellent run of form in the Championship with Norwich City playing 90 minutes against Barnsley in a 2-0 win. Bartley is racking up the minutes with Rangers. Rambo started for Cardiff on the weekend against Hull. JET came off the bench in that game and provided the second goal in a 2-0 win. Good stuff from JET who has had some criticism as of late with regards to laziness and effort on the pitch. Benik Afobe notched an assist for Huddersfield and won MOTM in their 2-2 draw against Leyton Orient. Finally, Ryo Miyaichi has made an instant impact for Feynoord in the Erdivisie. He’s made 4 appearances and already has an assist and a goal. He also won a penalty in Feynoord’s 5-1 win over FC Groningen on the weekend. He’s been working hard and has impressed so far in his displays. I believe he has a slight rib injury, but I hope it’s not serious and he continues to play and gain more valuable experience. Make sure to visit Young Guns Blog for constant and up-to-date reports of our loanees and reserves.
That’s all for today. Martin will be back tomorrow with a preview for the Leyton Orient FA Cup replay.
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