I’ve heard and seen quite a bit of chunter on social media and by the post pub analysts criticising Pardew’s tactics against Arsenal and I’m a little surprised to say the least. I actually thought he got it right and we were very unlucky to not at least get a point against potential title challengers. What people seem to remember is that this is a team who score goals against us for fun, and personally, I wouldn’t want to be on the end of another 7! We aren’t as good a team as Arsenal and I dont think many would argue that we are but I think we matched them on the day even though we were pretty crap for large swathes of the game. Granted they had a lot of the ball but they didnt really carve out any clear cut chances.
We were undone by a set piece goal and that was it. Following that we absolutely battered them, and the relief and celebration at the end demonstrated that. In my eyes, we can come out of this weekend’s game with our heads held high. We aren’t going to win the league, nor are we going to qualify for the Champions League. But it’s all fun so far – as long as we finish top 10! That’ll do me and Lee Charnley.
The problem with playing good teams at the top of the table is one of respect. United showed 60 minutes of unnecessary respect to a side who were, to be fair, not really all that. Don’t get me wrong, some of their midfield play was outstanding but aside from their goal (a set piece that never should have been) they did little to trouble Tim Krul. We were all hoping United would go at them, but Pardew had instead opted for a deep midfield which works against mediocre opposition like man utd and chelsea, but not against teams with quality. Tiote and Anita cancelled each other out and there were several times when our usual midfield engine, Sissoko was left with the ball at his feet and no one daring to push forward and make a run…too much respect. The late addition of Ben Arfa and Shola was too little too late and despite the last 10 minutes being played in Arsenal’s half, we were never going to equalise, which was a shame as we probably deserved a point. There’s going to be a funny interview on MOtD tonight where Giroud will be asked if he was happy with his goal after being ‘Battered and bruised.’ The only bruising that lad would have faced from today was from the turf which he repeatedly hurled his arse upon every time Debuchy won the ball off him. Walcott was no better and if you were that bloke near me who applauded Theo off the pitch when he was subbed, you can do one too. Today wasn’t really a poor performance, just a much too respectful one. Next time, just go for the jugular lads, that lot don’t like it up em..etc etc.