Yet again Arsenal have turned a must-win game into a not-won game. We had all the possession but as usual the goals simply don’t arrive as we are too busy passing the ball around outside the area. And then, like it was inevitable, we concede a goal on the break.
Arsene Wenger actually sounded very upset after he game. “I’m very disappointed.” he said. “It is one of those days where you don’t like to do a press conference after because it is not pleasant. I felt that we had possession 70 per cent of the time and we lacked a bit of accuracy with our final ball, a change of pace or have enough men forward. In the end, we got caught by a unique shot on goal by Crystal Palace. They played deep and defended well. They got us on the break and that is the story of the game. It is very frustrating.”
Yet again Arsenal failed to kill off the game, and it was suggested that they perhaps needed a leader on the pitch to goad the players into action. Wenger thought differently. “I don’t believe that today was about leadership.” he disagreed. “It was about scoring the second goal and stopping a goal that we gave away as it was avoidable. That was the regret of the day. We knew we couldn’t get frustrated and make a defensive mistake. In the end, I must say they have the players that can take advantage of every counter attack. They are quick and powerful. When it was 1-0 they never came out really.”
But Le Prof did agree that the players should have taken more advantage of the possession. “Yes. There is a difference. Usually we have a high number of goal chances, but I agree with you today that despite the high level of possession we had, we did not create enough chances. I think we lacked a bit of sharpness on the day and as well we had a bit of free confidence in our head after the result against West Ham where we felt we had absolutely to do a job today. In the end, we did not play with enough pace in the final third.
“After today I’m not in that kind of mood to dream about the Premier League title. I’m more in a mood to repair the mental damage and prepare for the next game. It is much more about that and looking behind us because we need to play well and win games. For us, we need to fight until the end to get the place in the top four. If we can do more, we will do more but lets not dream and focus on the next game.
“It is to do with the Premier League as well. Like today, sometimes you have to win 1-0 and today was one of those days.
“We are a team who likes to take the initiative and with the initiative you expect goals. We accept the risk of taking the game to the opponent but I think what you expect is what we are told before, that we should have more goals.”
So does Wenger think that the squad could be improved to try and finish higher next season? “As long as you don’t win every game, you want to add what is needed.” he concluded. “I’m responsible for the result and I think I’m the first person who is frustrated. I can say that at the moment, we will make complete balance at the end of the season and see where we stand. At the moment it is about being together and giving our best until the end of the season.”
Right now even a Top Four finish is at stake, and a home game against Crystal Palace, who have had an awful record since Christmas, is the sort of game Arsenal should win easily at this stage of the season. This draw is very very hard to understand…..