True to his words, Arsene rotated his squad, with numerous changes. Gallas was missing due to injury(right…) , Eboue as well. Van Persie, Nasri and Walcott dropped to the bench, with Diaby, Song and Bendtner stepping up from the bench.
Starting lineup reads like this: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Silvestre, Clichy, Denilson, Fabregas, Song Billong, Diaby, Adebayor, Bendtner. The bench looks like this: Fabianski, Nasri, Van Persie, Vela, Walcott, Ramsey, Djourou.
The game started with great anticipation, with much being said about the torpedo throws by Delap garnering much attention. Arsene said he will make preparations for the expected aerial bombardment, and it could be seen from the addition of height into the team.
Denilson started the game brightly, nipping around midfield and getting into tackles and interceptions. However there was no cutting edge nor penetration visible. And matters got bad very quickly when Delap launched one of his famed torpedoes into the box. Toure missed the headed clearance and left Fuller with a simple job of glancing the ball into the net. 1 – 0 to the home side and it was turning into a bad day at office for the Gunners.
Passes are being misplaced, even from Cesc, and Silvestre was being exposed for his lack of pace with Fuller outpacing him when chasing for long balls. Things are beginning to look bad, with a hangover from Wednesday looking all the more the likely reason. With the penetration into the box missing, Arsenal is reduced to long range shooting from outside the area, with Cesc and Denilson trying their luck to no avail.
Towards the end of the first half, a neat interplay between Bendtner and Cesc setup Adebayor with a chance at the edge of the box. Steadying himself, a shot fizzed over the bar.
Half time, Arsenal need to regroup and do something quickly.
Second half started with Arsenal showing more urgency, dictating the pace. But the home side is defending resolutely and staying focused and organized.
To add more attacking impetus and penetration, cue the entrance of Theo Walcott, replacing the injured Sagna.
There were signs the team is settling into a period of consistent pressure, trying to force the equaliser.
Van Persie was sent into the fray to replace the ineffectual Denilson, who fizzled out after showing early promise.
Still, no equaliser, and things got worse when Delap had another chance to launch another torpedo into the box. The throw was helped on and Olodonohowtospellhisname headed the ball past Almunia, between his legs.
2 – 0, Arsenal in serious deep s**t.
To make matters worse, Van Persie charged into Sorensenwuss, trying to make him pick the ball up and getting the game on. Sorensenwuss duly obliged the charge and fell onto the turf like he was shot by a sniper. Disgraceful action from the keeper for trying to get Van Persie sent off, but no excuses for losing his head.
2 goals down and 1 man down, things just got much worse.
As much as Arsenal try, there was no movement to create space and openings to reduce the deficit, and the defence is not able to handle any airborne attack.
Just when things can’t get worse, Adebayor got injured and went off for Vela, with Walcott joining him shortly, with a serious looking shoulder injury.
With all the subs used, there was no way Arsenal could send anyone on to replace Walcott. 2 goals down, 2 men down, what the f**k is going on.
Deep into stoppage time, Clichy managed to sneak a goal back with a long range effort of his own, recording his first senior goal for Arsenal, but it was mere consolation and hardly any excuse for the inept performance on show today.
Manchester United comes visiting next weekend, but with Adebayor, Walcott, Van Persie and Sagna all potentially missing after this match, things are looking dark and gloomy on the horizon.