It's not normally disappointing to only draw with Manchester United, but this season's different: our aspirations are higher and theirs are lower than normal. They've not even stripped of all their good players, it's just they've lost the swagger and style you'd expect from United. Added to that, Vidic is leaving and so far the post-Fergie era looks like it could be as barren trophy-wise as our cabinet has been since 2005. That's a long-winded way of saying it was a good time to play them.
However, we were still missing Flamini, who injects dynamism and fighting spirit into our team. Additionally, Wenger had left our best player at Liverpool, the Ox, on the bench. That was mysterious, especially as his replacement was Tomas 'I bet I can pass more to the opposition than Denilson' Rosicky. As usual, the Czech huffed and puffed when he thought the spotlight was on him, but was so often the culprit when possession was surrendered cheaply. Yet he still played most of the match. Quite why, only Wenger knows. Perhaps the Ox was lethargic in training. All I can say was there was evidence to suggest Wenger was right, as the Ox wasn't at his best during his brief cameo appearance. Then again, it's more difficult to impose yourself on a game if you've only got about a quarter of an hour to do so. Surely Wenger realises that.
The other worry, aside from that bizarre selection and late substitution to correct that mistake, is Arteta's form. The skipper looked under par and this was exemplified when he was robbed early on, with RVP going close to scoring. Had that gone in, who knows what would have happened?
I'm a big fan of Arteta, but his recent form is a concern. Sadly, I'd have to drop him and give him a rest. He needs and deserves it.
Like Giroud. However, there is not a good enough replacement to fill the Frenchman's boots at Arsenal. Maybe we should field a player with a pound note sign on his back and print the name 'Excuses' above it. That's all we get on the transfer front. A missed opportunity in January has meant a missed opportunity to go top again.
For all intents and purposes, Arsenal do not look like a team about to end a trophy-drought on this form. Had we signed more than 'Excuses' and crocked Kim we'd probably be top; but while the club continue to put profits before points, we'd better get used to falling at the final hurdles,
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