Welcome to my Arsenal blog for the 2015/16 season; here you can check out my thoughts on the current goings on at the club.
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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Arsenal bow out of cup to Chelsea

Arsenal's lack of depth was evident as they faced a strong Chelsea side on Tuesday night. It was an extremely frustrating performance in which an individual error and then a great strike cost us a place in the next round of the League Cup. Two Spaniards, Azpilicueta and Juan Mata were on the score sheet for Chelsea as they comfortably beat us at the Emirates. Chelsea, having played Man City at the weekend were surely in a worse position to play us but they have great depth which allowed them to change their team around and still look good. Arsenal, however, was a different story. We were forced into making changes due to the fact that we have the likes of Liverpool and Man United coming up in the League.
Arsenal lost for the second time in a week with defeat to Chelsea
Overall I wasn't too fussed about the League Cup as we're top of the League. Losing to Chelsea is not a nice way to go out though, especially when we put in as bad a performance as we did. The first negative of many that I will pick up on was Nicklas Bendtner. I featured the Dane in an article back in September where it pointed out that he was willing to give everything for Arsenal this season. On last nights evidence though you wouldn't have thought that was the case. Against West Brom in the last round of the League Cup he wasn't brilliant but tucked away a penalty and then against Norwich when he came on in the League he had a pretty effective cameo performance. However this time around he was pretty awful and we were once again left questioning why he was still at the club. The reason is simple, because we didn't buy a striker in the summer. He had very little impact on the game and to be brutally honest it was like we were playing with 10 men for large periods of the game. In the second half when we were chasing the game he was eight yards out from goal and instead of shooting passed the ball away from goal. Whether this was due to a lack of confidence or not realising quite how much space he had, in that position against Chelsea, you just have to bury the chance.

I was willing to give Bendtner a chance last night but he failed to come up trumps and the need for a striker in January became even more evident. If Giroud gets injured then we really are stuck for ideas upfront. Park Ju Young even came on with 8 minutes to go, only his seventh appearance for the club after Wenger said he'd impressed in training but that didn't really fill the fans with excitement either.

The next negative is that of Carl Jenkinson. He made a mistake for the first goal which sparked absolutely fury. He has been ever improving since his arrival at the club and put in some fairly solid performances when Sagna has been injured. However his consistency is a major talking point and playing him alongside Ryo Miyaichi, a player I'll get onto a bit later, it was always going to cause problems against Chelsea. He looked very nervous, and questions were raised as to whether he was ready for proper first team action. Maybe a loan spell will do him good, but that would mean getting a right back on board to challenge Sagna who is long overdue a new contract with the club.

On to Ryo Miyaichi. He's been in and out of the first team this season following loan spells with other clubs in previous campaigns. At Wigan last season his opportunities to play were extremely limited due to injuries which have really hindered his development. However Wenger has praised his attitude to improve which should only mean he gets better. Against Chelsea he didn't really have the space needed for a fast winger to exploit and was often crowded out meaning he couldn't perform to his best. Against West Brom in the last round he was one of our better players always looking to get at a man and cause them problems. He just simply wasn't able to do that against better opposition last night though. One plus point to his game which I've picked up on is his ability to track back. When I've seen him play he's always got back and helped out the full back defensively, something that you don't always see in a winger.

The few positives that came from the game were the fact that Koscielny and Vermaelen had a solid game despite conceding 2 goals. Vermaelen looks to be re-discovering his form and hopefully that'll make him stay following a move with a link away from the club. Santi Cazorla having just come back from injury looks to have his touch back and looks in form whilst Nacho Monreal following a few sub appearances put in a decent shift at left back. He's very able competition for Gibbs. We now need a Monreal type signing at right back to provide Sagna with competition following Jenkinson's inconsistency.

It hasn't been a great start to our run of tough fixtures, losing to Dortmund, only just beating Palace and now losing to Chelsea. Liverpool is to come at the weekend, a top of the table clash which is absolutely must win. If we do win then this defeat can be quickly forgotten. However if we lose then the negative spiral will continue and the players confidence may well be hindered.

The teams lineups:

Arsenal: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Monreal, Ramsey(82), Wilshere, Rosicky, Cazorla, Miyaichi(64), Bendtner(69). 
Subs: Viviano, Sagna, Hayden, Yennaris, Ozil(64), Park(82), Giroud(69).

Chelsea: Schwarzer, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz, Bertrand, Essien, Mikel, De Bruyne, Mata(90), Willian, Eto'o(82).
Subs: Blackman, Ivanovic, Kalas(90), Ramires, Hazard, Torres, Ba(82).

My man of the match: Santi Cazorla.

Referee: Phil Dowd.
Attendance: 59,455.

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