Well I’m not quite sure what to make of that, even in the cold light of day, other than to state the obvious by saying we are not setting the world alight at the moment, or that FC Thun were not as bad as everyone portrayed beforehand (goalkeeper aside – he had definitely been reading from the Almunia Goalkeeping Almanac. Skim reading at that).
Sure, we’re pinging the ball around neatly enough, and we’re getting into some excellent positions, but as ever we wanted to score some sort of goal from the Gods, not just knock the blinking thing in. Nor were we helped by the referee’s attempt to make a name for himself. Robin’s challenge was studs-up in a big way, granted, but as every man and his wife has pointed out, van Persie had his eye on the ball the whole time, rather than his eye on the eye, so to speak. Never a red card, in my humble opinion.
I did feel a little tinge of sorrow for their poor wounded player too – as if having half a dozen stitches around his eye wasn’t bad enough, he then faced a barrage of booing for having taken his horrific blood wound. If anyone deserved booing it was the FC Thun player who fell down and rolled over about seven times, then promptly got up when he realised everyone was laughing at him rather than awarding him free kicks and sympathy. That’s not football. Getting stitches near your eye is, and is not a boo-able offence.
So we need to improve, and we need to find a way of getting round this tedious five-man midfield thing, a formation that will come back to haunt us if we don’t get to grips with it. As sure as eggs is eggs, (and they is – I know), more and more teams will come to Highbury and play like that. That, I cannot bear the thought of.
On the plus side, I thought Reyes was again good, and Campbell (despite looking a bit bewildered by having to run fast) shored up the defence, letting Cole maraud forward to good effect.
As for our amusing goalkeeper, he played fine (in fact he had next to nothing to do), but the men-between-the-sticks saga at Arsenal does take some beating for a soap opera, doesn’t it? There’s an interview in the Arsenal programme with Mart Poom, in which he admits he’s not fit (as well as not having played for a year or so). “I am getting the best medical treatment possible here”, he says, which is nice. So we signed a player as cover for a suspended player who would have been next to useless had he been required to come on?
To top it all off, there’s talk this evening of Rami Shaaban coming back to the club – having failed to make much of an impression at Brighton, or indeed at Erciyesspor of Turkey.
“It is very exciting,” said his agent, apparently. I bet it is.
It’s also surely not true. Please tell me it’s not.