So, how should I start writing this? I struggled to wake up in the early hours (3.40am to be exact in the Asian region) just to catch the live match and I was led to believe that Arsenal actually had a new blue away jersey. And what did I see here? My beloved Arsenal team, renown for the one touch football and passing supremacy, blessed with their celestial ability to keep possession, being totally outclassed by the hosting Everton team. The 5 men midfield, marshalled by Arteta, has ran our midfield rampage. Aside from the 1st 5min of attacking threat, our team has produced absolutely nothing in the 1st half. Obviously lacking the industry and creativity in the midfield.
As I always tell my friends who used to watch live matches with me; any team that can force Arsenal to abandon their passing team and resort to long ball tactics, then this opposing team’s plot to victory is already half completed. And this is exactly what I witnessed in that match. Our players simply did not move the ball fast enough and were lacking in passing options. They resorted to long ball tactics and eventually gifted the possession back to the Toffees.
Moreover, when I discovered the Arsenal starting line-up, it confirmed the omens even further. Diaby, Denilson, Song and Nasri complete our 4 men midfield, with Nasri being our only creative and attacking source. I thought putting Eboue on the right wing is bad enough, but putting Denilson on the right wing? Arsene has always highlighted the importance of balance that a player can offer to a midfield, but putting a player out of position is simply suicide. Apparently, not all players can offer the positional versatility of Flamini, Van Persie and even Bergkamp. With a defensive minded player like Denilson, whose best position appears to be shielding the back four, to run the right wing on his own, what kind of attacking threat can he produced? If the balance of the midfield refers to countering the threat from the Everton left wing with Baines and Pienaar, Denilson has failed to produce the defensive balance with Sagna right behind him.
Even with Song and Diaby marshalling the central midfield, they were simply overrun by more technical and faster players in Fallaini, Arteta and Neville. They closed down the spaces fast to force Song and Diaby in losing possession or spraying lost passes. To be frank, we were lucky to head in for the half time with honours even. All these are ingredients for an upset. For once, I really do admire the decisiveness of Jose Mourinho; for I am praying real hard for the urgent reinforcement to come right after the re-start but once again, the belief of Arsene in the players had prevailed. As expected, Everton took the lead through a header from the small-framed Cahill in the 60th min. Our central defense pairing of Djourou and Gallas cant even keep this part time striker at bay. Our defense is a joke~! The fact that the smaller size Cahill leapt higher than any of our Arsenal defense to score a header has add further insult.
When the substitutions finally arrived in the 72nd min, with Bendtner pronging in a 3-man attack, desperately trying to savage a draw. Sad to say, our Arsenal team is getting too “predictable”. We are not passing the ball and driving forward in the midfield well enough. Even the substitutions become sort of a routine, with Bendtner and possibly Ramsey coming on as an impact sub. But Arsene, this is simply not working anymore! Let’s pray that attacking instincts of a certain Arsenal-bound Russian can bail us out of this situation. Or else, the return of Walcott, Eduardo and Fabregas might come far too late for the race to the top 4.
There was only 1 man in the Arsenal team that deserved special praises, Van Persie is virtually covering more ground than any players on the field, helping out in defense, driving the attack from the midfield and finally a stunning and well deserved equaliser in the dying seconds to savage a 1-1 draw. That is easily the Man of the Match performance.
I have regretted to wake up to watch this live game, more so I have hated to wake up to the cruel frailties of my beloved team. So please wake up Arsene! Enough praises on our talents in Wilshere, Ramsey and Vela- for god sake, please grant them an extended run in the 1st team. For I believe the attacking philosophy of Arsenal to play attractive football lies in them and not Diaby or Song, please forsake the defensive balance of the team for once and unleashed these gems to prove that “Attacking is truly the best form of defense”.
Finally, well done Everton! How I relished the moments where opposing fans were once applauding our 1 touch football and attractive football! Please bring the attractive football back to the Emirates again, Arsene~!