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Reaction: Norwich City (A)

This is an accurate representation of the number of Arsenal players on the pitch.

This is an accurate representation of the number of Arsenal players on the pitch.

Arsenal played terribly and deserved to drop 3 points away at Norwich. Listless is barely sufficient to cover the magnitude of how badly the Gunners played.  We created nearly nothing for the entire game. The players were too busy falling down, slipping or standing still waiting for a magical ball to be placed on their feet. It was a nightmare.

 

Worst Performance of the Season

I have not seen such a lethargic Arsenal performance this season. The only time I remember seeing a tepid performance was the second half against Marseille and the first half against Chelsea. The players just didn’t seem bothered. Even after we fell behind, the team simply decided to take their time to push forward. Runs were either not made or unseen, the only accurate passes we managed were those that were headed to our own center backs. It was a down right terrible performance. Was it complacency or tiredness? It’s hard to tell, the entire team simply walked around the pitch for the entire first half.

Norwich played 2 banks of 4 in defense. Cazorla had no space because Ramsey isn’t really a Diaby and Arteta was playing far too back. As usual, Arsenal decided to use the flanks. The bad news is the Gibbs is injured and Santos has lost so much pace, I’m guessing I can outsprint him. Santos did well in his tackles but offered little going forward. On the right, Gervinho was having a completely bad game. Upfront, it did feel as if Giroud was falling around more often than getting the ball. Norwich wasn’t playing Stoke-like physical but they were organized and we were completely lazy and uninterested.

The second half was slightly better but still way below anything you’d want to see on a training pitch. The players were easily pushed off the ball, had poor first touches and didn’t get out of any 1 on 1 situations on top.

 

The Goal

Mannone’s error led to the goal. He misjudged a punch from a long shot. How do you do that? When you punch you either punch high or punch out. You never punch in reverse back into your box. Mertesacker was beaten to the rebound but I’m not sure whether that was pace or PM4 expected Mannone to be able to comfortably deal with that. Mannone had been ok for the past few games. Not great but sufficient. Today he erased all of that with a complete howler. You could also see Santos playing Holt onside for that goal. Is this down to a changed defense? CJ25, PM4 and TV5 played a perfect line only for Santos to break that. Whatever it is, it was a horrible first half.

 

Credit to Norwich

Norwich did what Arsenal didn’t – 100% commitment in every move they made. They were faster in 50-50s, more direct and incisive. Their defense which had a shocking record before this game locked out the middle well. We were forced to do two things, either go to the flanks or go back to our defense.

 

Cross? What Cross?

I have been ranting on Twitter on how poor our crosses are. Not being able to cross eliminates a crucial outlet of attack. Flanks are rather redundant for us. Blocking off the middle channel is sufficient to disrupt us and it showed today. With poor crossing comes poor corners. We don’t make our corners count besides the one against City where Lescott headed to Kosc’s feet. I doubt we practice attacking corners at all. Cause if we do, we’ve been wasting our time.

Put all these together, you can also understand why we have such a huge problem defending in the air. The squad plays against each other in training. If the first XI can’t get their crossing right, where do the defenders get their practice?

 

Conclusion

It was a terrible performance. It sent me to sleep mid way and the team deserved to have been spanked for such a lack of interest in the match. You would have thought this was their first time playing together or they had woken up drunk before stepping on the pitch or both. Was the interlull that bad? I’m going to put this down to complacency and a back up approach as good as zilch.

You need to make these types of games count. You can’t sulk around because your plan A failed to work and the team you thought would roll over didn’t.

 

Ratings

This one is easy. Everyone gets a 0. Pathetic.

Dave Junia

Dave Junia | administrator

Analyst. Cyclist. Photographer

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