Last Saturday I was so confident that we would beat West Ham I took the Mrs shopping, it didn’t even occur to me that we might not get three points. We were walking around the local Tesco Supermarket about ten to fifteen minutes from the end of the game and if I’m honest, I had almost forgotten about the game – I just expected to come home and see a two or three nil win. Then we happened to stumble upon the electrical section of the store. Somebody had put the TV on to the football scores and they cut to a report from the match when it was 0-0. I stood there for a good few minutes waiting for another update before following the Mrs to get on with the shopping. I was surprised, I almost felt bad that I hadn’t been bothered about checking the score. The problem is we have had such a good start to the season (bar the West Brom game) that I had become complacent, it was as if my usual constant worry when we play wasn’t there.
As we moved on to the next section of the shop, I could still hear bits of the football and as I heard Alex Song’s name mentioned in another report I quickly ran back in time to see the 1-0 score line on the screen. I had to stop myself from cheering out loud but did complete the rest of my shopping with a smug look on my face. I promised myself that I wouldn’t be so complacent in future, that I would follow the scores much more closely when we were playing.
Unfortunately, whilst I had decided not to be so complacent, Wenger did the opposite. He picked a side for our midweek game that was fit for the Carling Cup. The partnership of Djourou and Squillaci at the back didn’t fill me with confidence, although they didn’t do too badly. Whilst it was nice to see Wilshere back in action, his midfield partner Eastmond looked out of his depth. Equally Eboue at right back looked completely out of sorts. The front line including Bendtner and Walcott was just Vela short of the front line in the last Mickey Mouse Cup game.
Despite concerns over the line up I was delighted to see us take the lead through Theo Walcott, especially as that earned me my first points in the Goonersworld Prediction League this season. Unfortunately, the biggest mistake of the game came from the only first team regular in the back four, Gael Clichy. What was even more unfortunate was that his mistake was a repeat of a habit that I had hoped he had ‘kicked’. He had the ball on the touchline and was put under pressure, instead of kicking it into touch he opted to try and play with it. I don’t only blame him, I’d ask who was behind him shouting ‘get rid!’. I think we are missing Vermaelen there. It was a poor performance and a disappointing result.
That result isn’t the end of the world though. We have what should be two easy games left in the group against Braga and Partizan Belgrade and hopefully this defeat will remind Wenger not to be so complacent in future team selections (as well as giving the players a kick up the backside!). It would have been more of a disappointment if Wenger had put out the full first team and we had come away with a defeat – not only would that have knocked confidence but it would also have meant that our first team regulars wouldn’t have had a rest. I’m confident going into the weekend that we can get a win at home to Newcastle, confident but not complacent!!!
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