You can look at this game in two ways. One is that we were robbed with the non-penalty decision that somehow didn't get given. The other way is that Arsenal were very poor and criticise the manager, his methods and the players.
I'm going to start with the latter. First of all, why on Earth did Wenger pick such a weakened team? I'm fed up of him making the same mistakes over and over again. He decided to "rest" Sagna, Song, Nasri, Chamakh, van Persie and Arshavin leaving the latter two at home and not even on the bench! This is the sort of thing you do when you're already qualified, not when you're nearly there. Arsenal did well in the first three games getting 9 points and running away with the average group we're in, but then Arsene Wenger decided to "rest" several players for the Shakthar Donestk game, resulting in a defeat and the group looking much tighter. He could have played a stronger line-up, at least drawn the game and we'd be qualified by now, then he could "rest" players in the last game of the group. And it's not even like he has been proved right in the longer term, as a few days later they lost against Newcastle. Will his resting players against Braga pay dividends against Aston Villa at the weekend? Time will tell, but I think it would have been much better to go into this game on the back of a win, or at least a draw, against Braga with our strongest available line-up playing and then playing again on Saturday. Instead, they go into the game after two defeats. OK, there will be a lot of changes but the mood in the squad will not be a confident, buzzing one going into the game which it could have been at least a bit if we'd have approached the game properly last night and got a positive result.
I wrote about approaching the game incorrectly after the Shakhtar defeat and hoped I wouldn't be doing so again about three weeks later, but I am because Arsenal, and most of all, Arsene Wenger just don't learn from their mistakes enough. I personally do not think it makes a difference to the team on Saturday that they were "rested" last night. They don't need resting, they are professional, fit athletes who's jobs are to play football. They want to be playing as much as possible, I know this because I have been playing football for years and I wouldn't like being "rested," I would want to playing week in week out- it's better for the consistency of the player and for the continuity of the team. If you're chopping and changing the team every game then it's bad for the team as the more you consistently play with the same players, the more you get used to them as well as the team's system. And then the one player he should have rested, he gambles with after he specifically said he wouldn't take any gambles with before the game, Fabregas, played! After the game he said "I took a gamble and it back-fired". What is that all about? He said he wouldn't gamble. The bottom line is- I don't buy into "resting."
The team need to stop getting caught out on the counter- attack. We saw an example of this at the weekend when the team allowed tottenham back into the game just after half time by getting caught on the counter attack and again last night where the team pushed so far forward that Braga could just play a ball over the top of the defence to counter on us and score. A draw wouldn't have been a bad result, it would have guarenteed our qualification. What more do you want? It is costing the rest of us as Wenger's and the team's flaws and mistakes just keep getting repeated and this, at the end of the season, results in zero trophies.
However, it's not just Wenger. The players are at fault as well. They need to be a bit more clever and not get caught out as easily as they did at the weekend and last night. They are also the ones who keep making silly mistakes, such as Fabregas' handball, Denilson's sleepy tracking of van der Fart for their first goal, Clichy's terrible back pass at Shakthar and Fabianski's blunder against Newcastle. That's just this month so far.
I do wonder if players such as Denilson and Bendtner are actually good enough for title race/ champions league level. Eboue has been poor this season too, getting caught out too much going too far forward. Denilson doesn't really contribute enough to the team. He generally plays in a sitting midfield role, but doesn't have the intelligence, strength or tackling ability for this role. Nor does he have the creativity, passing range or shooting ability to play further forward.
Bendtner needs to do less talking off the pitch, and make more effort on the pitch. He arrogantly struts around the pitch wandering into silly positions where he is no use, doesn't possess the same aerial threat Chamakh does in the box and doesn't hold the ball up for other players to come into play. His technique and passing haven't improved at the needed or expected rate over recent years and he isn't consistent enough.
On the other hand, we were robbed. Why in the name of Sam Hill are these officials put behind the goal if they can't see simple things and aren't going to contribute extra officiating to the game? The referee should have been able to see that that was a penalty last night, and even if he can't the extra official should be able to, after all that is what he's there for- to spot that kind of thing in the penalty area, especially when it's right under his nose! Eboue got punished for a foul and booked in the first, literally right under the official's nose when it was a perfectly fair tackle where he won the ball. Now either the fifth official is blind or daren't go against the referee's decision. Either way, it's pointless him being there. Another example was when Djourou pulled the ball back and the defender diverted it out for a corner, right next the the official and the ref' gave a goal kick. Stupid and pointless are words that sum them extra officials up.
I sure do hope they bounce back against a depleted Aston Villa team on Saturday as Chelsea and Man Utd have got games that they'll probably win. Even though we'll probably have Fabregas out we should win, I don't think Villa are as good as they used to be and they have got a lot of player's out. Come on you Gunners!