Shameful post-match behaviour
I said yesterday that I would take a win and a draw from the games at Villa and Everton this week. I also said that, despite our fine record there, visits to Villa Park are not an easy win. That being the case I suppose I should be holding off from slating the 0-0 draw yesterday - if we win at Goodison Park in the week then we have that win and draw - but once again it was the nature of the performance that has me annoyed.
Let's be honest here - that Aston Villa team yesterday was fielding its second and third choice players in goal and defence. They were also missing Darren Bent up front. That being the case it really is unacceptable that Arsenal created only one chance from open play, and that was squandered by a centre-half who had galloped forward to try and make something happen. Yes, Villa worked hard, but when you consider the fact that most of them were just squad players it merely serves to underline the fact that Arsenal didn't work hard themselves. With the exception of Ramsey and Giroud I thought the midfield and attack was awful throughout.
Let's start with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. I said at the start of the season that I felt he might struggle this term after the way he shot to fame in the early part of this year. What I can't abide, however, is the "Billy Big B******s" attitude he seems to have adopted recently. People get on at Aaron Ramsey (me included) but at least he tries. I lost count of the times yesterday that Chamberlain was just ambling along and not making a run or showing for the ball. Time and again Jenkinson actually overtook him as we went forward, and not so much in an overlapping full-back way, but more of an "I want to get Arsenal a goal here" way. When Ox did get the ball it was the same nonsense just about every time. Only once did he properly go outside the full-back and it nearly created something. The rest of the time he wanted to showboat and go inside. How he got through 76 minutes before he was replaced I will never know.
Lukas Podolski followed up probably his best two games for Arsenal with one of his very worst. I have consistently said I don't understand why Podolski is taken off in every game, especially when we need a goal, but he was so awful yesterday I would have hooked him at half-time. The fact that Gervinho and Arshavin, when they did come on, seemed to be having a competition for who could mis-control the ball in to touch in the most elaborate fashion was neither here nor there. By that token I don't believe for one minute that Gnabry or Eisfeld are not a better bet on the bench than those two. I almost understand Arshavin's attitude this season as he has been constantly overlooked despite our poor play, but honestly he was a disgrace yesterday.
On the subject of substitutes what was the point of Jack Wilshere being on the bench yesterday? What circumstances would Wenger have considered using him if not when we needed someone to come on and grab midfield by the scruff of the neck? If he wanted to completely rest Jack then he should have left him at home on the sofa. To then bring on Francis Coquelin in place of our only centre-forward just about summed up Wenger's lack of tactics (more of which below).
I thought Giroud played really well up front yesterday but had to do most of his work with his back to goal. Without Theo Walcott getting up to support him he was pretty isolated. Marouane Chamakh got two goals last time he played for Arsenal, but apparently isn't even worthy of the subs bench when only Giroud is available to play up front. Santi Cazorla (another man who gets no stick from the fans) was having one of his more regular invisible days yesterday, despite actually seeing a fair bit of the ball in the second-half. Would it not have been nice to have another striker (a real one) on the bench to come on and try something different? I suppose you can argue that Wenger did try something different when taking off Giroud, but playing without a centre-forward leaves you less likely to score, I would suggest. There was a time when we would bring on Kanu or Wiltord or Ljungberg to try and change a game. Yesterday Wenger brought on a defensive midfielder. That's how far we have fallen, people. Had it not been for an outstanding Szczesny save late on we would have lost the game 1-0.
Wenger's comments after the game were a disgrace. We were back to the childish and petulant responses that have become more and more a feature of post-match press conferences. People complain about how Peter Hill-Wood insults the fans with some of his pronouncements, but Wenger treats us with such contempt as to show his belief that none of those who pay their money are entitled to a view. After all we know nothing about football, do we? I sort of agree with him when he tells the press that he does not have to answer to them for his decisions. Of course he doesn't. But when the press is the conduit to the fans then he is saying exactly the same to us. That is utterly shameful behaviour.
The away fans made their feelings clear again yesterday, but Wenger says he is not answerable to any of them. Well, believe it or not, they are the people who pay your wages Arsene. The attitude of the Manager is an insult to us all. The more performances there are from Arsenal like yesterday, both on and off the pitch (and they are becoming more prevalent from players and Manager alike), the more the paying punters will turn against Arsene Wenger. The man is a busted flush, and it's only a matter of time before everyone realises it, including the people that could get rid of him.