I paid my Â£8, but then missed the turning point of the game â€“ Senderosâ€™s red card and the subsequent penalty. Whether the Yak made the most of it or not, the fact remains that Senderos â€“ good player though he is â€“ often puts himself into 50-50 challenges and this time he got punished. It was the umpteenth time we have gone 1-0 down this season and itâ€™s no longer a surprise.
I donâ€™t think it was a bad result under the circumstances. As many others have pointed out, it was a very tired Arsenal performance against an in-form side. Weâ€™re paying the price of a bumper-to-bumper schedule and a rash of injuries. We played eight games in December and another eight in January, a gruelling schedule that has been pretty well negotiated for the most part.
I recall the arseblogger touching upon it a day or seven ago, but I canâ€™t help thinking weâ€™re getting more injuries this season than we have done in recent campaigns. Undoubtedly our packed schedule is at least partly to blame, as could be the World Cup last summer, but could it be something else? The new pitch perhaps, with all its wonderful wideness and interwoven non-grass? Itâ€™s a wild stab in the dark of a guess: whatever the reason, weâ€™ve been pretty unlucky in that department.
Whatâ€™s more, a lot of the ailments appear to be hamstrings and thigh injuries.
Senderos, Diaby and Clichy all started the campaign broken so we can discount their injuries being anything untoward, but Rosicky, Hleb, Ljungberg, Baptista, Gallas, van Persie, Henry, Djourou, Adebayor, Eboue and Hoyte have all been crocked at various points this season, and it seems to me that the majority of them have had hamstring or thigh injuries.
We have a strong squad, but playing twice a week as we have been, we could do without the long queue outside matronâ€™s room.