Red cards, goalkeeping errors, and late goals – It’s Arsenal, only with more Englishmen.
I watched the Tottenham-Manchester City game on Saturday, but despite it being an open, exciting match I didn’t enjoy one minute of it. Such is the life of a a football fan, you are destined to view every game in the context of your own team. On the one side is the old enemy, They-who-shall-not-be-named, whilst on the other is the new money.
To paraphrase American actress Mae West, when choosing between two evils, I always choose the one I know the least about. But although a late Adebayor goal would’ve been a bittersweet end for Arsenal fans, a draw was probably an ideal result.
If the Spurs game was uncomfortable, watching Arsenal labor to a draw at Anfield was unbearable. I can’t think of any other time in life when I would be prepared to pay for the right to spend two hours in agony.
Given the opposition and the starting line-up I think a lot of Arsenal fans would’ve taken a draw before kick off. When Joe Cole was sent off at the end of a first half that was edged by the Gunners you would forgive them for setting their sights a little higher. Whilst on the topic of Cole I may as well address the red cards.
Whilst many are criticizing Martin Atkinson I think that he made the correct decision in both cases. When commentators say of an offender that they’re “not that type of player” you know they’re running out of excuses. The same was said of Ryan Shawcross, but it only takes one tackle to cause a serious injury.
Similarly, Koscielny can have no complaints. The Frenchman made a promising debut, but with only Johan Djourou as an established back up his reckless approach could become a burden as the season continues. With Wenger giving Manuel Almunia his full backing before kick off though you can expect the manager to turn his full attentions to bringing in one or two more defenders.
With trips to Blackburn and Sunderland, and the visit of Bolton on the horizon Wenger will be hoping that Alex Song can prove his match fitness. Although Jack Wilshere more than held his own against Liverpool, a midfield including Diaby and the Cameroonian would be better equipped against the league’s more physical sides.
That said, it is great to see Wilshere taking on a more prominent role in the first team, and with the likes of Gibbs and Walcott also improving with every game it looks like opposition fans will need to find something new to deride Wenger for. I’ve always maintained that English players would be given a chance if they were good enough.
It makes little sense to pay an inflated fee for an Englishman when you can get a foreigner of the same quality for a fraction of the price. The new homegrown ruling means that British players will continue to be bought for ridiculous amounts and you will probably see clubs following Chelsea’s lead by signing English third choice goalkeepers. Speaking of the homegrown rule it’s worth taking a look at Wenger’s thoughts.
It won’t come as any surprise that he is opposed to it, but he does make some salient points.