I’ve had the night to sleep on that one, and I’m feeling quite neutral about things this morning. Well, actually, on the negative side of neutral.
I do, of course, accept that had van Persie’s goal been allowed to stand, the game might have been very different, but it wasn’t, and it wasn’t. Other than that, what I saw was a side that largely huffed and puffed against a hyper-efficient side that will win the league by a country mile.
I think there are two problems: first, and we’ve spoken about it for months now, is the callow nature of our side. Loads of promise, but promise that has yet to fully mature. I rate Fabregas, van Persie and Senderos highly, and I rate Flamini too – hell, I even rate Reyes – but we’re relying too much on players aged 22 or much less.
Second problem is form: against a side that cedes so little, we needed everyone to be on top of their game, but they’re just not. Six league defeats, three of which are back-to-back with no goals scored, says it all. We’re low on confidence.
I’m not faulting the effort put in yesterday – most of our players played their hearts out – but when your confidence is not with you, you set yourself a mountain to climb.
Put bluntly, in our current form and with our current personnel, we are not good enough, and that was put into sharp relief yesterday. It hurts me to say it, but at the moment it’s true.
One battle I did enjoy yesterday was that of Phil Senderos v Rat Hair. Two wobbly performances against him earlier this season were thoroughly erased with a committed, physical performance. Old Rat Hair caused the usual problems – he holds the ball up very well, you have to say – but Senderos coped marvellously, if a little exuberantly. But that kind of physical approach is just what we needed.
So where do we go from here? (Is it down to the lake I fear?)
One final note: I apologise profusely for a whole week of no posting, but this time I really do have the perfect excuse – Mrs RotorGoat supplied me with a son and heir on Wednesday.
The clever woman even managed to squeeze him out before the Chelski game, and duly released me to attend the match, so fair play to her.
I have provisionally named him RotorBillyGoat.