Possession is not nine tenths of a win

Sunderland 1-1 Arsenal

I must admit, I don’t really know what to make of Arsenal this season.

We seem to be flitting randomly between the sublime, the average and the dismal – and I’d stick yesterday’s result into the ‘average’ category.

Sunderland defended deep, and defended well, and Arsenal had most of the possession as a result (61%-39%). The trouble is, we didn’t do enough with that possession – we rarely hurt Sunderland at all. I know Sunderland is not an easy place to go as a rule, and that the weather was suitably autumnal (some Arsenal players even wore gloves – unbelievable really) but if you measure our result against those of the teams we are vying with, then you will see Liverpool have already won at the Stadium of Light. As indeed, have Man City.

It would have been different had the linesman not blooped when Walcott crossed for van Persie to smash the ball into the back of the net at 0-0, but his view was that the ball had gone over the goal line before it was crossed – and he was wrong. With that goal disallowed and Arsenal creating very little, the stage was set to concede a goal, which we duly did on 85 minutes.

That seemed like that until Cesc Fabregas levelled on 94 with a smart header from a corner – a goal he celebrated jubilantly. I can understand his glee at rescuing a point but it’s another opportunity lost rather than a point gained if you ask me.

Last weekend Wenger was bemoaning our weak defending and our poor team attitude and this week he admitted we “lacked sharpness”, none of which bodes particularly well, does it?

This lack of consistency is not just down to inexperience – after all, our defence is pretty experienced and, Gael Clichy aside, are all over 25, and our starting strikers at 24 and 25 years old are hardly rookies either.

In midfield it’s another matter: all were 21 or under yesterday and perhaps as a unit they lacked the wherewithal to unlock a packed defence.

But hey, I’m just clutching at straws again. Simply put, we’re not being consistent enough and we’re dropping painful points.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.