Arsenal fell to defeat at Carrow Road on Saturday evening after Grant Holt’s goal gave Norwich a famous win over the Gunners. The Canaries were in need of the win having not registered a win in the league up until that point. I have had a busy last few days, so my normal match report will go out the window for this week as it is already Tuesday and I haven’t been able to do it until now.
My thoughts on the game are simple. Norwich were the better team on the day and well worthy of their win. They raised their game whereas Arsenal frustratingly didn’t match them. This is why Arsenal can’t be taken seriously as title contenders and will find it hard to win any form of silverware. Too often in the past six years or so, Arsenal have played against the smaller clubs in the Premier League and failed to anticipate how big a game it is to the opposition. They raise their game when Arsenal come to town because if you beat Arsenal, it’s still a big thing. You’d only have to go back to the League Cup Final in 2011, Birmingham played as if their lives depended on the outcome of that game whether attacking or defending. They had no legs in the 90th minute, but Arsenal’s stupid mistakes let them win it and they were rewarded for their hard work.
On Saturday, Arsenal were lucky to even have a chance to score an equaliser, as Norwich had outplayed them and been more dangerous overall. What Arsenal created was very poor and they got what they deserved from the game – nothing. You see a player like Santi Cazorla, he has had a fantastic start to his career at Arsenal and looks to be a fantastic signing by Arsene Wenger. He had an off game and that is understandable, you can’t always be superb. Again though, you sense an over reliance on certain players. Last year it was Robin Van Persie and also Alex Song to some degree. Now we’re relying on Cazorla to produce some magic on a weekly basis and Lukas Podolski too.
To be honest, I’d like to see Gervinho played through the middle again. If you see his goal record in the few games he was played there this year, he’s good for a goal a game pretty well. He frustrates the hell out of me watching him on the wing, he is less effective. He frustrates me when I watch him as a striker too, but at least he sticks the ball in the back of the net. Also, I’d love to see somebody teach Gervinho how to stay onside, as the man clearly has no understanding of the offside rule.
Now the goal on Saturday was a cheap one to concede, with Mannone spilling a shot into Holt’s path. The shot had some power in it, so I can’t blame him for spilling it. He’s a third string goalkeeper and he’s played like a number 1 all season. Once Szczesny actually returns back to his old self and also returns from injury, hopefully we won’t be having goalkeeper issues. Mertesacker has had a great season, but his lack of pace in reacting to the shot being spilled out showed once more on Saturday.
You wait two weeks for your team to play a game after the international break and they don’t bother showing up. Typical Arsenal. It’s been a horrible two weeks or so with both Arsenal and my Chicago Bears not playing. They both returned this week. Thankfully the Bears recorded an important win last night, otherwise the weekend would have been truly awful.
The Gunners have a lot of games coming up in a short space of time. Schalke are up next tomorrow in the Champions League, before struggling QPR visit the Emirates on Saturday (hey, they haven’t won a game this season either, maybe we can help them out?!). A trip to Reading in the League Cup follows that, God knows what will happen in that, or what kind of side Wenger decides to put out, dependant on whether he actually wants to win anything this year. Manchester United away, Schalke away, Fulham at home before the big North London Derby on November 17th. All those games in less than one month. In fact Montpellier also travel to the Emirates just after the North London Derby all less than 1 month to the date.
A busy schedule for the Gunners then, we will have to wait and see what happens then, as this team is so unpredictable it is beyond belief at times. Hopefully back to winning ways against Schalke tomorrow night.