This Season’s Theme So Far? : Missed Opportunities

Posted: February 9, 2012 in Arsenal FC
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ok Gunners, here we sit, in 6th, 3 pts off 4th and 10 pts off 3rd. Some say our injuries have put us here, some say our lack of signings have put us here. Some simply say, we are not good enough.

I beg to differ.

I say, our failure to finish matches due to stupid decisions and bad coaching have put us here. The bad news? We can’t undo what’s been done. The good news? We can improve from this while others like Spurs, will likely falter more frequently.

Let’s take a look at the missed opportunities this season thus far.

Newcastle – 2 pts

This was the match to make a statement. To hell with the players that were sold. Be dammed the ones that want to leave. The lads could put their foot down and make their mark. Alas they didn’t. Gervinho was sent off, for defending himself no less. Song was later suspended for a stomp on an opposing player and a handful of missed goal opportunities that all led to a draw which should have been a win. This was not only a loss of 2 points but also set us up badly as Gervinho and Song were both suspended for 3 matches each following appeals.

Blackburn – 3 pts

2 own goals and a offside goal, enough said.

Spuds – 1 pt

This match was very interesting indeed. Spurs were given a goal by the linesman when van der Vaart handled in the area to control the cross. That was followed by his celebration going into the crowd to celebrate, one or the other would have led to his second yellow. A handful off chances and an equalising goal later, and unusual gift from Szcezsny gave Spuds the full 3pts.

Fulham – 2 matches 3 pts

First match saw TV5 score at both ends, uncharacteristic for him to make that sort of mistake. That was coupled by Arshavin and Walcott missing badly. This is the match where the cracks in Ramsey began to show. The second match saw us squander a 1-0 lead in last 10 minutes. Instead of bringing on ANY defender to replace Djourou, Wenger decides to bring on Squillaci, the other inept member of our squad, only outdone by Almunia. 10 minutes later we were done 2-1 by dodgy defending once more.

Wolves – 2 pts

Hennesey, the Wolves GK, single-handedly managed to earn his club the point on this day. Regardless of his efforts, the lads should have put one past him versus a 10 man Wolves side that was slow, tired and lacked any real attacking threat. Ineptitude in the midfield led to the lack of creation, giving our strikers a “one trick pony” feel to their attacks.

Man City – 1 pt

This was a good solid performance against the team at the top of the table in the EPL. We not only hung in with City we looked the more threatening time and again. We had a clear penalty by Richards uncalled and several fine saves by HArt late on ensured we left with no points. Clear lost opportunity against the so-called best team in England.

Swansea – 0 pts

We deserved nothing from the Swansea match, the reason I am mentioning this match is the fact that by this time it was clear, Djourou was not the answer to cover at any of the back 4 positions, Ramsey was on empty and in above his head and that the Ox needed to be given a chance to shine. All these situations lead you to believe Wenger has a blind faith in these players that needs to be addressed.

Man Utd – 1 pt

We all know what happened. Our defense showed up, our strikers tried but our midfield was again missing. Even with that element missing, we were pushing for a win through the delightful play of AOC. The Ox was gaining momentum and making runs that had Utd on their heels, we tied the match and looked the better side. What does Wenger do? Take the spark out of the team and puts in Arshavin. This allowed Utd to grab a hold of the match again and not 6 minutes later after being subbed in, Arshavin lets Valencia stroll into the area to assist Wellbeck and put the match away. Who is at fault? For me Wenger, clearly. Arshavin had not done anything in recent weeks to merit being introduced into the match, and Ox was doing everything asked of him.

Bolton – 2 pts

Anyone who saw that match would agree, enough was enough. There was no urgency, no panic and no heart from this performance. Still, with all that, we had MANY missed chances and one even hit the post. Substitutions came too late to make a difference.

Well there you have it. 15 pts up for grabs with a little more effort, a little more heart, fewer mistakes and some good refereeing. So when everyone brings up the injuries, the lack of momentous signings, etc. I will simply point to these matches.

It is clear to see that we should be comfortably in 4th, not to mention in all likelihood a couple of points at most behind 3rd. These mistakes and the lack of effort can be rectified and the chance is there to take advantage of head to head matches and move into 4th, and make a push for third.

Will the team learn from it and battle on? I hope they do, I have the confidence they can do it. Will Wenger stop having blind faith and rely on the players based on their form? We shall see.

There are many  ifs and maybes left in this season. The only thing clear is that we are 6th in the table due to missed opportunities not because of injuries, failure to spend, or not being good enough. We clearly have the talent, we clearly have a competitive team, we just need to finish our matches out, easier said then done of course.

We have shown 70% of our capability this year. That should encourage us all and show that we have a lot left to prove and a lot left to do in this season.

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