It’s hard to be disappointed in the result, of course, but the three points really would’ve been nicer. Today’s match gives great creedence to my theory that as goes Gilberto so goes Arsenal since once again he had a remarkable showing and, aside from the damn makeshift back line, so did most everyone else. Highlight was definitely the Drogba-Lehmann slapstick revue. Ok, and I hate to admit it but the Essien goal really was beautiful. I’m pretty impressed that we managed to hold it together despite lacking Toure and Henry and Gallas, and all in all, it was one of the most fun matches I’ve seen in a while. A 1-1 draw with second-choice center halfs? Not too shabby. I do hope this is a sign of things to come.
I do continue to be concerned with Freddie’s tendency to lose his footing with some regularity. Is he not fully fit yet? It’s been steadily downhill for him since last season and while clearly some of his difficulties were explained by his various injuries (and rushing back before fully fit) I am concerned that he has simply lost pace. In his old form, he was a real asset to the squad because of his pace and versatility. These days? I sort of cringe when he comes in off the bench. Whether it’s fitness, a feeling of fighting with Rosicky for a job, or simply being too keyed up, it’s hard to watch him these days. I hope he’s able to work out whatever is going on because he used to be one of my favorites to watch. I think it all started with pushing himself through injury for the Champion’s League and continued with rushing back to play in the Cup. I was surprised when none of our commentators noted the ankle-twisting in the game against Paraguay (I think it was Paraguay.) To that end, when he was unavailable for the beginning of the Premiereship because of an ankle injury it struck me that the injury likely was a direct result of compensating for the original foot injury. The calf? Likely a result of the ankle and foot. I’d bet he pushed himself because of the signing of Rosicky and Pires’ departure and I’d bet he has himself all wrapped up in proving his worth now. It doesn’t work that way, especially when your asset is speed. And what we need on the wings right now is speed. It feels like a lot of Arsenal’s old magic passes down the wing are lost because no-damn-body is up there to receive. To be sure, the 4-5-1 has not helped that situation either (and so help me, I can’t figure out Arsene’s thinking on *that* because I distinctly recall him calling out Domenach during the Cup for playing Henry in a 4-5-1.) No matter what, the passity passity is fun to watch but I’d like some results in addition to pretty football. Hells, I’d take results instead of pretty football sometimes. No denying that defense is our biggest weakness, but the stuff happening up front isn’t great either.
This post brought to you by my FIL commenting on how much better Chelsea played than Arsenal. There’s no reason to have to hear that sort of thing in one’s living room.