Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fine victory but were we really that good!

It was a good win for the team considering the circumstances; an intimidating crowd in a cauldron of a stadium, a side who is unbeaten at home for close to 2 years, a goalkeeper known more for his calamitous mistakes rather than brilliant saves and bottom of the barrel team morale following the disappointing defeat at the weekend.

It was a hard earned victory in the end, much harder than the scoreline suggest. FK Partizan, boosted by the home support really gave us a run for our money and control large parts for the game. They even won two penalties.

So why have all the articles in the papers talked about how good we were last night?  Imagine pundits, analysts and fans alike that skewered Fabianski before the match suddenly thinks he has become world class with his performance in this match.
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Seriously, I must be watching a different match to them because I thought we didn't play well at all. From the first minute up till our first goal, the team was all at sea. The defence did not show much improvement from the weekend and could have easily conceded a penalty when Squillaci brought down the Partizan attacker in the box. It was only after the first goal in the 15th minute that we managed to calm down and control the match. However, we were again not clinical in our finishing so it gave the opposition hope that they could get back in the game. If Arshavin and Rosicky had converted their chances then it would have been a much easier ride.
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Well they didn't and when Denilson gave away the penalty, suddenly Partizan were level. I have noticed this about the team for a while now. We don't seem to be able to kill off the game and often make the one mistake that allows the opposition back in. So far this season we have only been burnt once at Sunderland but if we don buck up in our finishing, the bite from the Stadium of Light won't be the last one.

We didn't play at that well in the second half also. We got lucky with the sending off and penalty (which I thought was a bit harsh) which Arshavin failed to convert. What's happening to our penalty takers anyway? We used to bang them in like clockwork. My guess, the pressure is getting to the team even experienced players like Rosicky and Arshavin. The tide turn with the sending off and we were again playing against ten men. It must be at least 4 out of seven games now, that the opposition had a player red-carded against us.&nbsp;

Being a man down was always going to be difficult against us and Chamakh and Squillaci made sure of the points for us. Even then we manage to shoot ourselves in the foot again, this time Gibbs giving away a reckless penalty for clumsy challenge. Who know what would have happened in the last few minute had Cleo had scored the penalty. But his shot was tame and duly save by Fabianski who made a correct choice of which direction to dive.

So does this match give me confidence going into the big London derby on Sunday. It doesn’t. As I said earlier the team did not seem to have improved that much from the WBA defeat. The slick Arsenal machine seems to be missing with passes going astray and not converting goal opportunities. This victory however should serve to raise the boys morale and hopefully with the return of the Cesc for visit to Stamford Bridge, it will all come back together.

As for Fabianski, I will address him in my next post..

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