I don’t know about you but I have a real sense of frustration about the game against Leicester City last night and there are a number of factors that seem to be driving that I think.
The first is the fact that we’ve dropped points that would have seen use sitting level with Wolves today on 52 points and three points off of United in fifth. Given our form going into this game it would have been quite a victory to get another win with two games down from this ‘Death Run’ that I’ve been speaking of. It would have made many of us believe that it is very much ‘back on’ on in terms of an outside bet of getting a Champions League spot for fifth, but this morning I think it still looks like a very outside bet and these dropped points only add to my feeling that it’s probably a bit beyond us. It feels like we’re going to run out of games and with just four left, I’m struggling to see how we’re going to get there in the cold light of day.
This is another reason why I’m a little grumpy, because we could – and should – have put the game to bed before halftime. Schmeichel made a couple of good saves, one in particular from Lacazette, but Hector also had an effort, as did Saka, plus there was a brilliant cross from Bellerin – who was again much better (and maybe the competition of Soares is kicking him on a bit?) than at the start of the restart – and any kind of decent striker would have nodded home past Schmeichel. Alan Smith was in the commentary and he said it was a bad miss. He was bang on because Lacazette heading it straight at Schmeichel was poor. If we score that second goal in that first half I think this team has shown a little more shape and discipline to hold on to the game and with three clean sheets out of our last four games, I’d have been much more confident.
But Jamie Vardy always scores against us and he did it again last night. I’ve seen few Gooners lamenting the offside decision but if that’s given against us we’d be going pretty mental at VAR last night and this morning. The fact of the matter is that it could have been defended a little better and we couldn’t quite hold out a match in which we were down to ten men, largely due to…
VAR being a complete joke
I had a bit of Twitter/internet rage last night. That’s because I saw the challenge by Nketiah last night and couldn’t help but think of the sheer inconsistency of a system that is supposed to eradicate inconsistency. One of my pals last night told me via Twitter that VAR wasn’t brought in to eradicate inconsistency. Well I don’t know what it is brought in place for if that is the case. That’s what I understand it to be but we are in no way getting that removal of inconsistency or doubt. I thought the Nketiah challenge was a standard strikers challenge; it was a little late, probably a split second or so. But the more you look at it the more you think it gets worse – especially when in slow motion.
Now, here’s where I stand on this: If you’re going to look at that under VAR and decide it is dangerous play, then fine. There was talk about ‘intent’ and I have not seen a single person talk about the challenge being intentional. So if that’s the case then the red card is because it’s dangerous and it could seriously injury an opponent.
So can somebody tell me how Jamie Vardy – in the same game – doesn’t even have a VAR official watch it once? In the first half he spins, has a look at Mustafi as he goes down, then boots him in his head with his studs showing. Again, you can argue intent and again, you can argue about whether it’s endangering an opponent, as well as it being serious foul play. For me, the same as Nketiah, the replays look worse the more you see it. Yet the officials didn’t even have a sniff.
And this is why I’ve got the hump this morning, because we’re not getting the system that everyone hoped for. We’re getting a system where it feels like we’re getting shafted. How about Raheem Sterling scything down Mustafi at the Etihad? Not even a yellow and yet it was more reckless than what Eddie did yesterday. Or how about Maupay with a sly push that endangered – and subsequently injured – Bernd Leno. Not a sniff again.
If we’re going to say ‘I can see why Nketiah is sent off’, which most Arsenal fans seem to be doing, why is it the rest of the world seems to be shrugging its shoulders after Vardy has endangered an opponent. It’s really maddening and I’m sick and tired of it each week. Once again we’re talking more about the shoddy standard of refereeing in this country rather than the football itself.
We have to be pleased with the direction we’re heading in and I’m sure you’re in the same position as me in that you are seeing more and more positives each week. It is a shame that we’re going to run out of games this season but I’m already looking at the potential of what next season could bring under Arteta and that is at least something for us to hold on to. This season may well amount to nothing in the end but even if that happens we’ve learned enough about our new boss to know that he could take us places. Or at least that’s what it feels like right now.
That’s it from me today. There’s a GunnersTown podcast that’ll be out at some stage over the next couple of days, so keep your eyes open for the dissection of the game from the lads.
Catch you all tomorrow