If we thought Bradford was bad, this has got to be right up there. Arsenal turned up with the same lackluster attitude thinking they’d already won the game before it had kicked off. The players were quite clearly thinking of the Munich game already. There was no passion, no effort, no movement off the ball, no desire to make things happen, nothing.
Forget the team selection and moaning about Wenger rotating. He made the right call. With Bayern on Tuesday we didn’t need to risk the likes of Wilshere, Cazorla, etc. ‘Big’ clubs HAVE to rotate throughout the season. The eleven on the field were easily good enough to beat Blackburn. The problem is Wenger’s inability to motivate his squad anymore and his predictable tactics.
The result shows a bang-average Championship side can turn up at the Emirates, defend for their lives for 90 minutes, work hard, be organised and hope for a bit of luck in the final third, and come away with a relatively comfortable win. We had no answer to their resolute defending and we didn’t even really create that many clear-cut opportunities.
Here are my rating’s from a truly embarrassing defeat:
Szczesny – 4 – At fault for Blackburn’s goal with a poor parry straight back into the danger zone from Olsson’s shot. He should have done MUCH better and either caught the shot or pushed it round the post. Basic error.
Coquelin – 6 – Lively in the first half and was always eager to get forward but lacked quality in the final third. Missed his header in the build up to the goal but we should still have done better to keep it out.
Vermaelen – 6 – Went close to opening the scoring with a looping header in the first half and did his job at the back, but as captain he needs to help motivate the players on the pitch more.
Koscielny – 6 – Comfortable at the back and made a few surging runs forward to try and create something, but fell asleep for the goal.
Monreal – 6 – Made some excellent runs down the left but lacked a final ball into the box. He was at least showing the willingness to make things happen.
Arteta – 5 – Poor showing from Mikel. Missed a great chance in the final minute but sliced his shot wide of the target. A player with his experience and ability should certainly have done better.
Diaby – 4 – Went closest to scoring in the first half when he forced a fine save from a towering header on 25 minutes, but was generally very poor on the ball. Looked sluggish and took far too long to release the ball. Well short of his best.
Chamberlain – 5 – His corners were poor all afternoon but he was one of our more enthusiastic players when he was on the pitch. Lacked a decent final ball, like many of his team mates though. Subbed
Rosicky – 6 – Lovely through ball sent Gervinho clear in the final minute of the first half and was inches away from scoring when he smashed the bar with a thunderous effort from the edge of the box. Unlucky to be subbed when he was just getting in to the game.
Gervinho – 3 – Same old Gervinho I’m afraid. Missed a glorious chance to open the scoring but sent his shot wide when clean through just before the break. Proved to be a vital miss. Just doesn’t look comfortable on the ball and seems to rush things. Subbed
Giroud – 4 – Not at his best. His hold up play was poor with too many hopeful flicks instead of holding the ball up and playing a telling pass. Missed a couple of half chances in what was a frustrating performances from the Frenchman. Lack of service is certainly an excuse but his all-round play was below par.
Walcott – 5.5 – Made an impact after replacing Chamberlain on the right but missed our best chance to score when he headed straight at the keeper from close range late on. Should have won a penalty when tripped but not only did Dean not award it but he wrongly flagged Theo offside.
Cazorla – 5 – Made little impact.
Wilshere – 5.5 – A couple of nice passes but couldn’t rescue us from an embarrassing defeat.
Blackburn deserve their praise and Arsenal deserve all the criticism they will receive, but a word must also go to referee Mike Dean. He truly hates us. That much is clear. With him officiating we’ve won only one of our last 17 Premier League games, we’ve lost our last 3 cup ties and he hasn’t awarded us a penalty in five years. Something isn’t right here and it needs to be looked at. This isn’t an excuse for the loss but those stats are no coincidence.
So, time for Arsene to go? For me, there is no point sacking him right now and realistically, we know it’s not going to happen anyway. But come the end of the season his position at the club needs to be seriously considered, irrespective of a top four finish. Baring a miracle, it’s going to be eight years without a trophy which is disgraceful for a club like AFC. The squad is clearly lacking in all areas and Wenger’s decision to not make vital additions, particularly a centre-forward, in January has already bitten him in the ass. A change of philosophy in the summer is needed or it’s time to say adieu.
If you haven’t seen the game or goal yet and want to punish yourself, you can watch video highlights here.
What were your ratings from the game? Do you think it’s time for Wenger to go? Get involved in the comments section below.