How is this man allowed near a football pitch?
I thought Arsenal played with plenty of effort yesterday. It wasn't one of those days where I came away from the game bemoaning the players attitude, as was so often the case last season. The problem yesterday was that we lack a bit of quality when, perhaps, it matters most. We also came up against yet another goalkeeper who decided to play the best game of his career against Arsenal. One other thing we came up against was the most inept, incompetent official that English football has ever seen. I notice that Arseblogger has stated he felt the red card was wrong. From my vantage point, and that of most of the other 50,000+ Gooners present, it was a dangerous tackle. It should also be noted that the game had been spiralling out of the control of the referee. The foul by Milijas was, at best, reckless. In the context of the game it was a deserved sending off.
We got off to a fine start by taking an early lead. Benayoun and Rosicky were linking the play very nicely. In the absence of Theo Walcott (not even in the squad, but I've not yet seen why that was) Gervinho was the only pacy outlet in the side. I thought he had messed up his chance but he managed to squeeze the shot in. That, really, should have opened the floodgates for Arsenal. It never really materialised despite our dominance. I felt the turning point was when RobinVan Persie chose to take on the defence, rather than putting Alex Song clean through, only to be closed out. Within three minutes Wolves had levelled. There was a certain amount of fortune in the goal, as the deflection fell straight to Fletcher, but you can't deny the quality of his reaction header. We also must lament RVP's failure to push up, thus playing him onside.
The second-half was one way traffic, but Arsenal were consistently denied by Wayne Hennessy. They were also denied by the terrible officiating. In front of me there was a clear handball. There was also, in the aftermath of the red card, a clear foul on Robin Van Persie. As the skipper went for a header he was pulled to the ground, his shirt virtually ripped from his back. I have no idea how the referee managed to miss it. The linesman, who would have had a clear view, as I did, also failed to do his job.
Ultimately we missed chances. The two points dropped could now be crucial. With Liverpool and Chelsea failing to win on Monday a victory was imperative. Tottenham winning last night means the two points lost are even greater. Looking at our fixtures over this two week period, having won the most difficult one at Villa, you would have expected maximum points. A win against QPR is now vital on Saturday. It is also vital that Arsene Wenger gets to work on securing reinforcements early in January. We need two strikers as the alternatives to Robin Van Persie are simply not good enough (Park still wasn't even on the bench yesterday). Thierry Henry and Demba Ba would be ideal. I have heard this rumour about Bobby Zamora. God forbid. We have a massive month ahead, yet again.