Well, another game not to dwell too long on.
OK, so we didn’t lose, and much credit must go to a Hammers side who could – with a bit of luck and a bit more composure – have won the game, but the fact is, we never really threatened to open the floodgates and grab hold of the match.
Reyes and van Persie clearly laboured up front, which just goes to show that without Henry and Bergkamp, we can appear just a bit too callow. Nor did we ever master the midfield. It’s not that the Gilberto/Fabregas partnership is not good enough (or will not be), more perhaps that we need a shouty-shouty kind of motivator to spur us on when games drift away from us. Who’s Mr Shouty-Shouty in our dressing room?
We didn’t play like drains by any stretch of the imagination, but we’re not at our best. That just about sums it up.
And tomorrow, we may have to take on Ajax shorn of yet more experience. Bergkamp is almost certainly out according to Wenger, as of course are Henry (groin), Pires (something like knee) Lehmann (suspension), van Persie (suspension) and possibly Gilberto (crutch-hobbling following Saturday).
That’s your lot sometimes in football I suppose – but it does make the task hard. With Reyes as the only fit striker (and he’s a converted winger), either Wenger will play his hated 4-5-1 (I shiver to recall the Cup Final, until the last minute that is) or he will play Quincy or Lupoli – neither of which have anything like enough experience. He may even consider playing Ljungberg in a withdrawn role up front, but then he may not, as without Gilberto and Pires in the midfield, and Reyes required up front, we’re short on personnel.
Suffice to say, some of the faces on our seven-man European bench might be new ones.
It’s not easy.