Monday, 22 December 2014

Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal: Getting difficult to rephrase the same old

Match Report | Match highlights | Wenger's thoughts

Familiarity breeds contempt. It also breeds difficulty in blogging.

Let's be honest - much of what happened yesterday weren't anomalies. We knew that we are injury ravaged, yet we don't do the minimum rotation we can. I know it's an increasingly redundant debate and definitely not the father of the thought, but why isn't Lukas Podolski getting a game in? Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez have to be in crimson zones, forget red. Such overplaying and elementary errors seek to compound already complex injury situations.

Arsene was forced into playing half-fit Oxlade-Chamberlain in a relatively unknown position. On second thoughts, "forced" may not suffice appropriate terminology. It's more of driving into a ditch he can see. Mikel Arteta, on his last legs, isn't physically capable of holding it together on one of the most physical positions in the park. Aaron Ramsey played a pointless game against Galatasaray. Mesut Ozil played in every game since he returned from international break, and was instructed to complete 90 minutes against Chelsea despite picking up a serious knee injury. Jack Wilshere is the exception to this norm.

Laurent Koscielny was overplayed. So was Monreal. So are Chambers, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Flamini, the aforementioned Ox, Cazorla, and the front trio. The Theo Walcott and David Ospina situations weren't well-handled. And we wonder why Arsenal pick up injuries?

It's not sheer misfortune, it's appalling man management from the manager. And, for obvious reasons, it's costing us.

I wish I could use the "less said about the game the better" phrase and try to run away from getting into the excruciates, but I don't see the point in keeping this blog, then. Which is why, for the zillionth time, I will trudge on.

To an extent I rate Brendan Rodgers tactical nous (especially in the attacking sense), but to me, it seems like Wenger made him look good. His 3-4-3 was meant to pack the midfield, and clearly it worked. Arsenal couldn't play the way they wanted to, which stung confidence and momentum. What does Wenger do?

Rodgers played Sterling as a false nine striker, but later switched him to the left flank in an attempt to discomfort Chambers. Clearly it worked. On more than one occasion Arsenal were exposed on their right flank. What does Wenger do?

Okay, despite playing abjectly (to say the least), the team managed to take the lead through the only discernible attack I can remember. Okay, there are lack of options on the bench owing to the injury crisis. I still don't see how that justifies removing Giroud for Coquelin. We needed Olivier's hold-up play, set-piece defending and ability to keep ball. Chances were we'd be lumping a lot of balls clear which meant he could have harried those clearances and made a nuisance of himself. Instead, we put a tiring, wishy-washy Welbeck as striker.

I can begin to understand the logic of Coquelin coming on. I like him, unlike others who have formed opinions on him solely on Arsene Wenger's say-so. But by looking at this objectively, won't hooking Flamini (treading lightly on a yellow) or Oxlade-Chamberlain (half-fit, lest we forget) be a better call? Not for Wenger.

Despite Arsenal's phenomenal attempts to throw the game away, Liverpool go a step further. Fabio Borini came on for Kolo Toure and promptly got sent off. At this point, Liverpool were 10 men with no strikers and Sakho and a bandaged Skrtel manning their defence. How could Arsenal possibly screw this one over?

By giving Skrtel a free header, of course. Arsenal probably decided to keep all men in their box to add to the banter than to genuinely try to defend it.

And so ended another innovative Arsenal methodology of Arsenal-ing a game up. As I had said weeks before - Wenger disappointing fans has become routine. The only question is how he does it. Against Stoke it was a fluke-ish half-comeback, which fed hope to Arsenal fans and poisoned their souls. Against United it was dominance followed by sucker-punching. Swansea was just hopeless. Today was more of well we played turd but by some happy accident we're in the lead but it doesn't look like we can keep it at all and oh shit we just gave away a free header and what the fuck and why bother pretending to be pissed when honestly it was pretty much expected and deserved.

I could go on about the management, the injuries, the fourth agenda, the Wenger Out propaganda, the Joel Campbell situation, the transfer window, but instead, I'm just bringing this post to an abrupt end. Because, while I was writing this piece, I just realized that I've ran out of different ways of saying it.

Besides, Wenger will give me plenty of opportunities to look out for them.

-Santi [Follow me on Twitter @ArsenalBlogz ]

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