Monday, 8 November 2010

Arsenal v. Newcastle - blame Fabianski?

Fabianski fails to collect a high ball and Carroll has an easy header into an empty net. Ok Fab21 made an error but it would be wrong to blame him wholly for the defeat. Part of playing in a team is how you respond to adversity and how you dig your team mates out of the shit – be it in putting a game saving tackle to deny an attacker when a defender’s pass goes astray or collectively rallying round to win a match. There was so little of the latter in evidence at the Emirates yesterday. The lack of movement and tempo in play in the second half was bewildering. It was almost as if, having dominated the first half, the team thought they were 3-0 up and coasting to victory. Fab4, great player as he is, had an off-day. His passing was poor by his high standards and his work rate, particularly when he had lost the ball, was low. More worryingly, he appears to show no real leadership on the field. The substitutions were strange – Arshavin for Nasri (I can only assume the latter had a knock), RVP for Chamakh seemed like a triumph of hope and sentiment over reality, the introduction of Bendtner was the realisation that it was wrong to take Chamakh off in the first place. The downside to the introduction of B52 was the removal of Wilshere who was the only midfield/attacker with a bit of fire. In fact, we actually looked worse after the substitutions and all that attacking prowess failed to trouble the Newcastle goal.

Back to Fab21. Carroll ran in, leapt and met the ball at its highest point relative to his leap. Fab came out, adjusted and by the time he jumped he had no momentum so he could not get as high as Carroll. Secondly, he didn’t get in a position where he could take the ball at its highest point relative to his jump. A goalkeeper should always beat an attacker in the air if he does this as he is about a metre taller thanks to his arms. However, if you watch Fab in the warm-up when the crosses come in from alternate flanks, he very rarely takes the ball at the full extent of his height.

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