Trying to be too clever
This is my 800th post on the site. I would have reached this particular milestone early last week but I have spent most of the last ten days laid out by flu. As a result I've had to pass on writing about a few things that caught my eye, as well as missing the last two home games and having to watch them on whichever foreign TV channels I could find. What I've seen hasn't been altogether inspiring and our challenge for the Premier League is, as far as I'm concerned, dead and buried barring a miracle turnaround.
Last night was embarrassing. One killer statistic, for me, sums up the way we play football. Arsenal had 21 shots during the game, only one of which was taken from outside the penalty area. If ever you wanted proof that we try to play too much instead of testing the opposition goalkeeper properly then it is there in that stat. It also tells you how amateur our finishing was. Fraser Forster had a very good game, no doubt about that. However, if you shoot directly at a massive lump in the opposition goal then he will most likely keep the ball out of the net. Ozil, Giroud, Walcott (what the hell was that?) Alexis, Ramsey, Koscielny were all guilty of awful finishing during the game.
I have got to the stage now where I actively dislike Aaron Ramsey. I am fed up of watching this overrated show-pony continually flicking the ball out of play, or straight to the opposition, or trying things he is simply not capable of doing. I have no idea why Ramsey has such a high opinion of his own ability, or why so many Arsenal fans worship him. He has a reputation built on a golden six months and not much else. Brian Marwood had a golden six months in 1988-89 but he wasn't able to live on it and George Graham had replaced him with a better player by the start of 1990-91. Ramsey, for some reason, plays every game and is beyond reproach. I see utter d***heads continuing to slate Mathieu Flamini for any shortcomings in the Arsenal midfield when the weak link in there is the man who thinks he's about one hundred times better than he actually is. Joel Campbell was once again substituted last night, and so was Flamini, while Ramsey was kept on. And while I'm at it, why were Iwobi and Elneny left out last night while Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Chambers made the bench? And having been put on the bench, why was The Ox not used by Wenger to try something different in the last ten or fifteen minutes of the game? But then, why would you need to do something different when you've a World star like Aaron Ramsey on the pitch?
I'm not going to go in to the plethora of chances we missed last night. What's the point? I will just point out the one in the photo at the top of this post. When you see it from an angle behind the goal (which I saw on the particularly fine Kosovan channel I found last night) Ozil simply needed to push the ball straight in front of himself (at the angle he was facing) in to the wide open empty goal. Instead of this he tried to flick it over a 6'6" goalkeeper. Why would you need to try and be clever? This is exactly the sort of rubbish I have a pop at Ramsey about. My Dad, who played a high level, always used to tell us that "football is a simple game". The great West Indian cricketer Richie Richardson once told me the same thing applied to cricket. So why do Arsenal's footballers feel the need to complicate something that can be so easy? It has cost us points and goals time and time again. Last night it cost us our place in the race for the Premier League. If you think we can win the Title from here then I suggest you take a look at the fixtures we have left to play. We will finish third at best. Just imagine how different it might have been had Wenger chosen to add some genuine quality when we were top at the beginning of January and strengthened from a position of dominance. Still, it's all okay - we have that dynamic goalscorer Danny Welbeck back in training and he rarely misses chances...