I am being slightly presumptuous in writing this blog, as I’m arguing against a predicted reaction. However, it seems like such a natural response to tonight’s match, that I paint myself as the delusional and very far from the visionary.
As I saw last nights game, we were pants. The only two players to come out of tonight with any credit were Denilson and Djourou. The defence gave Twente two clear cut openings first half, one from ‘Billy no skills’, the other from Clichy – who truth be told has been suspect in the tackle all preseason. Almunia also did his best to dither off the line and gift a penalty, although the Womble they had up front looked more MK Dons than Crazy Gang – thank god he was so shite.
Poor, poor Aaron Ramsey, he was one of a trio of useless midfield players. Having had a good preseason, he was diabolical against Ajax 96 hours ago; but he looked dead on his feet tired. The poor lad was then thrown into a massive game against a top quality side that should go some way in the UEFA Cup this season. How Wenger did not sub him off at the half beggars belief, but the faith paid off I suppose. Eboue, who I genuinely, really, truly rate as a player, made me look like an idiot and I guess you have to say reverted to form. Why he wasn’t pushed into the middle second half I would love to know. Walcott looked like last year instead of last month and gave the ball away in some truly scandalous places first half. Put succinctly, we played long ball for the entire first period and most of the second.
So, why am I calling for a calm and measured response – satisfaction if anything – to last night’s game? Firstly we were missing 9, yes 9, players who would have started had they been fit. For example, we were without our 1st, 3rd, and 4h choice centre-backs. Without Carvalho, Alex, or that Serbian guy on his way to Juve who has never played (Ben Haim has been sold), who would Chelsea play? Manure without Ferdinand, Brown, or useless and crocked Silvestre? – Some arsehole who raped a teenage lass at an Xmas bash I suppose, maybe.
Secondly, these games are always tight at first. Champion’s league qualifiers come before everybody is fully fit and are a slog for 70 minutes; check the last two and see when we scored – both were put out of sight late on.
Lastly, there were real positives. Denilson was man of the match by a mile – the only player who upped the tempo and imposed himself on the game second half. Djourou, who I think could be a first team regular, was very solid. Arsene Wenger has not been wasting his time the last four years. Ade scored; he almost always does if we are being honest. But, most importantly, we cruised a potential banana skin with a half strength team. When all is said and done and the platitudes run out, we won.
We did this playing poorly with a weakened team; that was the difference between us and the top two last year, getting points off form. Wenger will buy a midfielder in the next two weeks, I hope Barry – Alonso is a tart of a show pony. We will play this poorly less than a handful of games this season, and rarely with such a weakened team. All told we qualified within a half of the tie and can relax second leg; job done sleep easy bring on the league the rest of this month.