Well now, I don’t know about you, but I didn’t really take much enjoyment from last nights Arsenal football club match against Red Star Belgrade.
But then the inconvenience of the football match had to get in the way and specifically The Arsenal and Red Star got in the way and the rest, as they say, is history.
Of course that’s if history was the kind that you’d record, file, then place in a box where no man could ever touch. Imagine the final scenes of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Only instead of a box there was a lift that the guy put the match report of this game into, which went down into the earths core further than any human can possibly stand the temperature, whence upon the lift doors would open and an electronic bomb robot would slowly edge the match report in question to the end of the lift floor and over the edge into liquid hot magma as far as the eye can see.
‘Twas a drab affair, that’s for sure.
Arsenal rotated – which I’m sure we’re all happy about – but the players who started hardly produced a sparkling performance and whilst I’m happy we’ve qualified, I’m slightly concerned that given they’ve all been playing together in midweek games, that they’ve not really developed much of a ryhtmn. I mean, it’s not like they have all be thrown together, because Arsenal 2.0 have been pretty much playing together for a few games now. I dunno, perhaps I’m asking to much in my expectations, but I’d have thought we’d have enough to put a pretty average Red Star team to the sword on our own turf. But evidently not.
We really toiled, didn’t we? It was hard work watching, that’s for sure, as we oversaw an Arsenal team who couldn’t breakdown a half decent Red Star side – and i’ll caveat that in a second – who kept hitting us on the counter and falling over to feign injury throughout the game.
Remember the caveat? Here it is: watching that Belgrade team felt like when you have the difficulty level turned down one notch from the top setting against the computer on FIFA or Pro Evo. You know that when the computer hits a through ball you’ve got at least two times where it’s not going to result in a goal. Which is pretty much what happened as Red Star got in behind about four times.
Maybe Wenger had set it to ‘Amateur’ mode.
Whatever he did though, it didn’t make for fun football which probably is my fault for saying how much I was enjoying the Europa League in my match preview yesterday. If anybody up there is listening I take it back. I take it back in spades.
I take it back I tells ya!
At least we got to see Matt Macey make a debut in the competition and his one tip on to the bar stopped us from going behind, so that’s something. The outfield player performances in general though were all a bit ‘meh’.
Debuchy, Elneny and Holding were nothing more than ‘ok’, but Red Star should have finished us off with the space they were getting into between wingback and centre half on each side. We simply didn’t have the ability to keep up with them and one particular one-on-one that they’re centre forward shanked wide pretty much summed up the match as a whole.
As for midfield, we had an okayish performance from Jack who also had Arsenal’s best half when he chipped over the ‘keeper only for it to be blocked on the line acrobatically by a defender, but Francis Coquelin had one of those games where we all realise just how bang average he is. Balls sprayed out wide, falling over when somebody runs at him with pace, I think we can all agree that he sucked pretty bad yesterday.
But at least he sucked. Theo and Giroud just, well, existed and that’s about it. I actually thought that in the first 10 minutes Theo looked up for it, but after that initial spell it became clear it was going to be classic Theo for the rest of the game. And that’s how it unfolded.
I think after a match like that the only thing to do is be thankful we didn’t lose and that we can all get on with our lives. We have the worrying prospect of City away and I’m sure none of us are particularly convinced that’s going to end well, so the fact we at least have players we’ll rest is at least something, right?
Righto, I’m off for another day. Have yourself a happy Friday.