Premiership: Arsenal 1 : Birmingham 1

Posted: January 13, 2008 in Arsenal, Draw, EPL, Match Review, Premiership

Adebayor(22)
O’Connor(48)

Match Gunner: Eduardo(Luck just wasn’t at his side today but he made the most of what he had)

A stroll in the park? Hardly.

We started off interestingly with Walcott instead of Rosicky. Eduardo’s form earned him a place in the lineup and Senderos replaces Toure who is off on African Cup duty.

We started brightly enough. Eduardo’s header went just wide. Almunia made a great save form Jerome and Gallas nearly slotted in a goal after a scramble at the goalmouth.

Eduardo got tackled from behind and up stepped Adebayor to finish the penalty. 1-0 and everyone sensed a thrashing in the making.

It was not to be however as although we played superbly, you could sense a feeling of deja vu from seasons of old where we dominated the game but just did not finish them off and paid the price for it. Eduardo’s header met the keeper and Cesc’s shot was blocked.

Second half barely got started and we went down via a set piece. What else? Ex-Gunner Larrson swung a corner in to be met by O’Connor whose header got deflected off Cesc for a goal.

In all truthfullness, in my opinion, Flamini failed to track him at the last moment and Adebayor would have cleared the ball if he had been a defender. I can’t blame anyone of them. However Wenger came out with this comment.

I don’t believe that Senderos was caught in the set-piece, there were two or three other players involved who didn’t jump for the ball and that’s why we got punished

Was Senderos supposed to be his marker? Anyhow the goal initiated some action from the players as another few half chances came and went by. It didn’t look promising. Walcott was replaced by Bendtner. The change made an immediate impact as we were now really pushing the Birmingham defense. Eduardo nearly fed Adebayor in but he passed it to Sagna who missed. Bendtner, Hleb and Flamini had their share of chances. Sagna was removed to be replaced by Diaby. Nearing the end, we had two very near misses. Hleb’s ran to the end and stroked the ball into the goal area. Gallas was nearest but just missed the ball by a whisker. Cesc’s long range shot was just wide of the. post. Frustrating stuff.

It was evident that Arsene was disappointed with the boys and it showed in his comments.

I feel the situation is so tight up front, every game is important, you know? It’s very difficult to say what months will be crucial. The only thing I know, today we lost two points we should not have lost and I’m confident that the team will refocus, because they are really disappointed. We need sharply to refocus because that kind of focus we have shown today is not sufficient

With the draw and with Manchester United piling the misery on Newcastle, we have conceded the top spot to them via goal difference. Hard to blame anybody in particular as we just did not perform as a team. Walcott had an off game. He must forget about it and move on. Senderos did enough to show that he can fill Kolo’s boots, temporarily at least. His perfectly timed tackles overcome the lack of pace. Eduardo had another good game. Adebayor’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde performances keep coming. Hleb is almost back to his tricky best and Cesc; well Cesc will be disappointed with the match. Any other day and we could have got two goals. He has not been able to recapture his brilliant goalscoring form since his injury. I pity the lad. People expect too much from him; me included and if he has an inconspicuous game, it sticks out like a sore thumb. His look at the end of the game brings me hope.

This is the first time in many that I have seen Arsene publicly telling off his players. Not in the Ferguson or Keane outburst per se as he is well known for his moniker “The mild mannered Proffesor” but I have a bold prediction to make, we will thrash Fulham. You’ll see. Cesc will turn in a man of the match performance and Adebayor will bare his teeth for all to see. C’mon you Reds!

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