I know a blind diehard Arsenal fan. YW knows him very well too. Hell, even Consolsbob does. Here’s the thing, I’m thinking he can do a penalty challenge against all Arsenal goalkeepers. If he can score, then we can just put to bed the nagging question as to whether Arsenal keepers will ever save a penalty. You somehow knew Ospina was going to pick the ball from the back of his net when Sehrou Guirassy stepped up to take the spot-kick.
That a penalty was awarded with Debuchy protesting his innocence doesn’t matter. You know the game was tedious when the opposing team’s goalkeeper is the man of the match. Koln prop up the Bundesliga table having managed only 2 out of 36 possible points all season. What is more concerning is that a relatively strong Arsenal 2nd XI couldn’t break them down. Understandable, since they placed an aircraft carrier in front of their goal just to make sure we knew they didn’t come to play. Perhaps the knowledge that before kick-off, Arsenal had already won the group got into the players’ heads and they settled for Meh!
Possession, Whatever the Percentage Isn’t the Law
Credit must be given to the second string for topping the group. They had a job to do, and they delivered. More of the fringe players can look forward to a dead rubber with Bate Borisov to improve their match sharpness. There was something eerily familiar though. Loads of time on the ball and no end product. It’s the truism of lies, damned lies and statistics. Arsenal enjoyed 67% of the possession and didn’t know what to do with it.
It can get worrying that more often than not, the lack of a plan B to counter defensively minded teams seems to be something that afflicts our entire squad. Most would now hope that Wenger will introduce first team players as the competition enters the second round. Arséne was less excited about winning the group, adopting a wait and see policy before he decides to change the squad. That seems reasonable in light of the bigger teams who have been relegated to the Europa league.
A more direct approach as a counterbalance to possession tiki-taka that doesn’t yield goals will be refreshing and necessary. The manager found it hard to draw anything glowing to say about Arsenal’s huffing and puffing, the RheinEnergie Stadium refusing to keel over.
We had a lot of possession and we lose a game where Cologne had one shot on goal. And it was not a penalty at all. We just missed a little bit in the final third, we missed always a little something to finish our chances.
Look Ma! Le Coq nearly scored
Rustiness is an occupational hazard when you put 11 folks who don’t play enough games together. On paper, Arsenal had an experienced team, mostly of players capped by their countries. When Francis Coquelin is the one trying to force the issue by grazing the woodwork and trying out a long range shot, you know something ain’t working right. We were fairly comfortable through the game, but it was hard to see where an opening goal, and eventually the equalizer would come from.
It’s reassuring that last night’s unremarkable game will be quickly forgotten as we focus on the next 3 games in 7 days. I could have sworn at some point that the commentator and summarizer on Arsenal player also wanted the match to end quickly so that folks can move right along. Koln’s goal came from a collector’s item, a rare sojourn out of their half in a counter attack. Perhaps the Arsenal players were surprised their opponents could attempt a counter attack and were a touch slow to react.
Jack Wilshere was an occasional bright spark for the Gunners. He engineered a couple of good opportunities at the tail end of the game but Timo Horn stood, impassable. There was no Nketiah-esque Man of the Match performance from Reiss Nelson; Horn’s determination to keep the award saw him deny the youngster as well.
We’re Back at Last Year’s Crime Scene On Sunday
We travel to Turf Moor next, where Laurent Koscielny isn’t the most popular man. Clarets fans justifiably screamed “We was robbed” after he decided we weren’t leaving Turf Moor last year without the points. If the referee says it’s a goal, then it is. It’s not offside or a handball. Any which way, it will be a more interesting prospect than any Europa League group stage match would provide. All we want is for the team to play as they did against them lot down the Seven Sisters Road.
Hopefully, we all get to enjoy the AOL show upfront until the wolves are at the door for Alexis and Ozil. This January if you believe the papers.
Have a great day good people.