You will read many a match report and blog tonight and tomorrow morning regarding how bad we were tonight, how humiliating it is to lose to Spurs and maybe the mistake Wenger made before the game. To be honest there is nothing more to say and it is hard to take any pleasure from a brilliant goal from Adebayor.
First thing’s first, we did not have our full team out as Poyet suggested. Glberto has been out of the team all season and only Gallas and Sagna started on Saturday. Cesc played 80 minutes yes but the others are not regulars. IF the game mattered more to us than Tottenham, Almunia, Adebayor and Rosicky would have been there; at least those 3. The worst part is not the losing in a semi-final but the scoreline against Spurs of all teams.
Were there mistakes from Wenger? In my opinion, yes there were. Hoyte was all at sea at the back and when he was alone at the end Gilberto did well at the back. It was a gamble having Hoyte alongside Gallas and it seemed it did not work. He did not close down Jenas for the first, lost Keane for the second and lost his battles tonight. It was a risk playing a right-back at centre back and for me we went wrong here.
Playing Gilberto at centre back would have provided the opportunity to play Flamini. I think he could have changed the whole complexion of the game. We lacked a man who was going to hassle and close down. They won the midfield battle and there is no way Flamini would have let Jenas get in that shot.
What was Fabianski doing for the 3rd goal? Awful keeping and made it game over.
Walcott was a passenger in his 60 minutes and Eduardo should have started the game. Walcott has a long way to go before he is ready for the big time. He was not strong enough and failed to stretch the Tottenham defence. Bendtner and Theo could not link up and the understanding Bendtner and Eddy had, well, it was not seen between the two that started tonight.
At 3-0 I feel Wenger should have played his cards. It would have given Eduardo and Adebayor 40 minutes to try and change the game. We saw the difference they made as we looked far more potent. The task of scoring 3 goals in the time they had was far too difficult, even for a man in such good form like Adebayor. Juande Ramos changed his system when Wenger did and I wonder if he would have done the same at 3-0 had Wenger brought on the big Guns.
Alex Hleb did not want to pass the simple ball. So many times he could have laid the ball off to Sagna to get the ball into the box early. Hleb wanted to thread the ball through the eye of the needle and it was not going to happen with Theo lacklustre and Bendtner having to come deep. Hleb caused problems with his sharp movement but took too long when he got on it. Would Rosicky have been a better bet for tonight?
Abou Diaby was exactly the same. He seems allergic to passing the ball. He will dribble into countless dead ends and only when he has no other choice will he make a pass. When he did get his head up and play the early ball he played some fantastic passes. He moved more centrally and looked far more effective there. If Wenger wants to play Diaby then he must play him in the middle. If he will not play Theo out wide then Diaby surely is the exact same?
When Denilson went off I thought the game was about to change with Cesc coming on. However, Fabregas did nothing special. His passing was neat and tidy but lacked penetration. He played some awful passes and was not given enough time. I will mention Spurs now as it seems the best moment. They did not give us any time and played the game of their season tonight. King and Dawson were great for them and Keane, Berbatov and Lennon killed our shaky defence. It was always going to happen, losing to them that it, but tonight was awful and embarrassing. Tottenham did deserve it, no one can even think about denying that.
Having scored two goals from crosses at Fulham, one would think the ball might come into the box quite a lot tonight. We had Sagna and Traore getting forward in support and both can deliver a good centre. I do not recall any cross of note entering the box. We simply refused to get it out there and send it into the box. Getting wide would have stretched their defence, whenever Hleb and Diaby stuck wide, gaps opened. The Arsenal way is brilliant when it works but tonight it fell to pieces; we needed to change it but did not.
I guess there is a point where criticism becomes pointless and we have to move on. When more first teamers came on the game changed as we piled forward. Including Cesc who played pretty much the whole game we had 3/11 of them that would play regularly for the first team side. Sagna, Gallas and Cesc are those players and I have heard pundits say it was not the reserves but it was basically that. It was the second string who had played throughout. I do feel the likes of Gibbs and Randall would have been worth a shot. It gives them a learning experience and if we are going to lose at least it is nothing like a normal side for Arsenal.
On Saturday it will be the first team and Wenger will look for a response. The players will be hurt, even if they did not play tonight. We are a whole squad together and Newcastle will fear a backlash. Adebayor will be back and this man looks lethal right now. His goal tonight was top quality and after Togo missed out on the ACON and now Arsenal lost the Carling Cup, he will want to put it right more than anyone.
You all saw the game, we lost 6-2 on aggregate; I guess that’s 9 years of hurt all blown out in one game. Now to make it another 9 years till they beat us!
All I can say is smile when you see a Tottenham and humbly admit they were the better team and thoroughly deserved their win. Just tell the truth really. Then add in the odd
“You last won the League in black and white”
“Channel 5, Channel 5, Channel 5”