Now, normally I’d at least catch the highlights of a game, but yesterday I somehow went entirely awol by not only missing the match in the flesh, but also avoiding the commentary and any highlights on Match of the Day. (In my defence, young RotorGoat Jr turned one and required my presence).
So I’m in even less of a position to comment than normal.
The game did appear to highlight all of Arsenal’s strengths and weaknesses of this season; one good half and one poor, conceding first (including set piece weaknesses), dropping two home points.
Perhaps it’s the sign of a young side, but we seem largely incapable of playing well for 90 minutes. Yesterday, we fought back well and apparently played with vim, vigour and va-va-voom from about the 55th minute onwards – with the first half, like the first half at Wigan, Porto and a surprisingly large number of our games, being forgettable in the extreme.
Again, it was new cult hero Ade Cool who came to the rescue – a man who has answered his critics in the best possible way. He, Gilberto and van Persie are all vying for top league scorer status – just one behind Thierry with five goals each.
Aliadière was by all accounts as ineffective as the rest of his team mates in the first half, and I think his Arsenal career has now hit the buffers. Wenger might not buy anyone in the January window, he claims, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he sold Aliadière and recalled one of our prolific loanees.
So five draws out of nine home games – all against sides we would ordinarily hope to beat. Like last season, this one is now a battle for Champions League places only – and at the moment, do we look capable of hurtling off on a good run? Since winning five straight league games in September, we’ve struggled badly with consistency.
For me, Henry, Lauren and Gallas can’t come back fast enough. Once we’ve got them, and we can somehow cajole more goals out of Fabregas, Hleb and Rosicky (and Baptista – though to be fair to him he’s barely played), then we could be laughing.