WTTGT Writer: Vivek Arulnathan
While it is always difficult to accept defeat, it is not a reason to blame everyone else for the loss while there are visible loopholes within your squad. Arsene Wenger’s anger against Lee Probert is highly misplaced as it was his side’s indiscipline and lack of organization that led to defeat. Not Lee Probert. Not Martin Jol.
Even as a staunch Wenger loyalist, it is disappointing to see Wenger blaming the referee and shielding his players when they really should be held accountable for the debacle last night. That doesn’t mean the referee made all the right calls yesterday.
Gervinho was tripped in the box early in the game and it probably should have been a penalty. There was only minimal contact and I wasn’t surprised that the referee ignored it. Djourou deserved his first yellow card for a clumsy tackle from behind. He should have known better and the referee had no choice but to book him.
Now that he was in the referee’s books, Djourou should have treaded the line carefully. When Mertasacker’s poor interception set Zamora free, Djourou decided that it wasn’t wrong to have his hands around the Fulham striker on the edge of the box. Though Zamora went down too easily, the referee again had no option but to book Djourou for a second time. Johan didn’t pull Zamora down, in fact there wasn’t any contact at all but a player of Djourou’s experience should have known that putting a hand in front of the striker was just asking for trouble.
Our lack of discipline has repeatedly cost us this season. Newcastle and Liverpool early in the season are prime examples. Arsenal players should seriously start learning how to tackle and defend once they’re booked. You can’t keep throwing yourself around and expect to stay on the pitch. It is important to make sure you don’t get yourself into situations which opposition players can take advantage of.
And Arsenal could still have saved the game yesterday but we lacked the defensive organization needed to give ourselves a chance of victory. Thomas Vermaelen and his leadership at the back was sorely missed. Koscielny and Szczsney were having really good games before they were found wanting during Fulham’s equalizer. No one closed down Zamora as he volleyed a weak clearance from Squillaci and Coquelin wasn’t even in the picture.
What’s more frustrating is that we are another defender down for our next game. Injuries have played a huge part in our lack of defensive personnel but it doesn’t help when you force yourself out of matches due to silly mistakes. It’s like me missing an A grade in my Mathematics paper by writing 20 as 2 when turning over to the next page and getting an entire answer wrong.
It is these lapses of concentration and failure to do small things like marking and clearances that cost us the match and Wenger has to realize that to make sure mistakes aren’t repeated. Blaming the referee is the easier way out and it doesn’t help in the long term. The shortcomings in our defensive tactics have to be worked on in the training ground for them not to haunt us every week.
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