Seven Thoughts on the Capital One Cup Defeat to Bradford FC by Twig
1. Eisfeld and Arshavin deserved to play: Eisfeld and Arshavin were two of the stars of the game against Reading. I thought for their efforts, they deserved a chance to play this game? Arshavin is obviously on his way out. What did he do wrong? We don’t know. The manager has apparently pencilled him down for a transfer in January. Surely Arshavin’s work ethic is no worse than what we’ve seen of Podolski of recent? Eisfeld has played well when chances come his way, but he obviously doesn’t have the full confidence of his manager.
2. Podolski on the left just doesn’t WORK: It’s a surprise that Wenger would play Gervinho as Centre Forward and leave a pace-less Podolski on the Left Wing. If their positions had been reversed maybe Arsenal would have done better? Wenger must have realized his mistake as he subbed off Podolski in the second half. (I have in one of my posts predicted Podolski would flop for Arsenal. I hope he proves me wrong).
3. Strange substitutions once again: We all must be used to Wenger’s strange substitutions by now. Coquelin – who was full of endeavour during the game – was subbed off for Chamakh. The manager probably wanted more bodies in the attack, which is good, but the fact that it was Coquelin – and not Ramsey that was sacrificed – makes one to wonder at the rationale. Removing Coquelin also meant that Arsenal was without a defensive midfielder – a fact that would have been punished by a more ruthless side.
4. Arsenal needs a proper striker and NOW: With Cazorla, Wilshere and Rosicky, Arsenal played some pretty football, but there was no end product. Our best chances came from our midfielders (Jack and Cazorla) and our equalizer was scored by a defender. On Saturday’s game, it needed two penalties (controversial ones I must add) to give us a victory against West Brom. Also, in recent games we’ve seen some horrific misses in front of goal from our strikers. Arsenal needs a target-man, with good movement and an instinct for goal. And we need him NOW.
5. We miss Walcott: Some of our best plays have come when Walcott played. Even Tony Adams mentioned this much in his commentary of the game. Walcott has lots of pace and he’s more lethal in front of goal than any of Gervinho, Podolski or Giroud. It’s a sad situation, because we’re likely to lose him to Premier League rivals. Walcott would have given us pace and width against Bradford. Unfortunately though, Theo’s injured. Playing Podolski and Ramsey on the wings is a mind-boggling tactical decision by the manager. What makes it worse is that it never works, yet the manager persists with it.
6. Ramsey has had his chance: There are very few games that you could pick this season, where Ramsey had played really well. It’s sad his recovery from injury hasn’t gone as well as we would have liked. Wenger has persisted with Ramsey even though the player has generally played poorly when opportunities come his way. This game would add further credence to the statement that “Arsenal rarely plays when Ramsey starts”.
7. Arsenal wasn’t all that terrible – only lacked cutting edge: The first half was terrible. Our players made sloppy passes here and there. One that particularly stood out was when Ramsey was dispossessed after seemingly being in no man’s land. Cazorla and Wilshere improved their games and played well in the remainder of the match. I was impressed with Gibbs and he could have scored at least on one occasion. Szczesny is becoming better and better, and although he had little to do, you have confidence when he’s between the sticks. Ultimately, the game had to be decided on penalties. It’s part of the game of course and we’re one of the Premier League sides with the longest run in this year’s competition. However, the longer we don’t win a trophy, the harder it becomes for the players and the manager to break the jinx.