Sunday, 3 April 2011

Disappointing performance sees title slip further away

The title is no longer in our hands.

We are now seven points behind Manchester United - albeit with a game in hand - after that lacklustre draw with Blackburn at the Emirates. Even if we win all of our remaining games, we still need United to slip up. And if we're going to continue playing like we did yesterday, not even second place is assured.

It was an average performance, not at all befitting of a team supposedly challenging for the league title. A lot of Gooners have been disagreeing about why we didn't beat Blackburn. Some say the players didn't try hard enough, some say it's Arsene's fault, some say the players just aren't good enough. My opinion is that it was just one of those days. Blackburn packed their half, restricting us, and when we did get chances, they were only half-chances, and we didn't take them. Of course, there was Jack's miss, but other than that we didn't create enough clear-cut opportunities.

It's slightly worrying that AW doesn't seem to know what's wrong. Perhaps it's because our key players are only just returning from injury? Fabregas, Song and Walcott were all back after a while out, plus the players had been on international duty, so maybe they need a little time to gel back together. Nasri wasn't his usual self after receiving a golf ball sized lump on his head, and van Persie definitely didn't play as well as he has been recently. However, there were some positives to take from the game.

Arshavin put in a great shift, even sprinting back in defence to make a crucial sliding tackle. Wilshere was decent, despite his miss, and I thought Clichy had a fairly good game. Cesc seemed a bit rusty though, so hopefully he'll be back ready to start and lead the team on Sunday against Blackpool.

Speaking of leadership, there didn't seem to be an awful lot out there yesterday. Captain on the day was Robin, but he didn't really motivate the players - in fact, he didn't seem to be able to motivate himself, drifting in and out of the game. It's difficult to understand that, since he was in such good form before the international break and his injury. Let's hope he can get back to that.

Almunia was dodgy once again, nearly gifting Blackburn two goals. You really have to wonder how long it will be before Wenger decides enough is enough and throw Lehmann in at the deep end. If that happened, Almunia's Arsenal career would be all but over - his confidence completely gone, if it isn't by now. He made some decent catches and punches under pressure, but the shot that he fumbled was routine stuff that he should have been saving.

I was not happy at all with fans booing at the final whistle. If they think that's going to help the team, they're wrong. They're called supporters for a reason - they're supposed to support the club and try to help them to win. Booing them will only make the players feel worse. Just look what happens when the entire ground is behind the team - we can beat teams like Barcelona! Sadly that kind of atmosphere doesn't happen enough.

Finally, a word on Rocky. I may not have seen him play live, but even I was touched and moved by the tribute to him. His spirit was everything that embodied Arsenal, his passion, and his flair. RIP, Rocky.


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