Arsenal are grateful of three vital points in a mediocre performance.

 

First off, let’s start with the positives, then move on to the plain annoying and finally the curiously weird. 

The positives are that Arsenal gained three points to keep them in the chase for 4th place, while Manchester United pulled off a draw against Burnley.

Burnley deserved better but as we are all too aware, you have to play to the whistle or risk letting United off the hook and that’s what happened with a last gasp goal from Lindelöf.

Goals for both Aubameyang and Lacazette ensured the win but no clean sheet again ( (majorly annoying ) due to a make shift defence that couldn’t organise a piss up at a local brewery and Arsenal let Cardiff back in.

There followed a nervy finish but time had run out for the Welsh side that really gave it a go and could have done even better,  had they converted from some promising positional play in both the first and second half.

Quite why Arsenal haven’t knocked on Chelsea’s door for Gary Cahill remains a much of a mystery as how Theresa May is still prime minister.

Yes, Arsenal continue to struggle creatively, even with Ozil making a return to the side but the defensive frailties could cost Arsenal a champions league slot.

The weird was the decision to play Elneny and Lichsteiner, both have shown that they are not up to the rigours of the premier league and the last few occasions the Swiss international pulled on an Arsenal shirt, he had been weighed, measure and found wanting. 

On the evidence of this game, Arsenal will be lucky to keep their current position, if the Manc’s continue to pull out last minute draws from the jaws of defeat.

I don’t like be pessimistic but the truth is that the current backline are due to concede an avalanche of goals and patching things up in the hope that the walking wounded return in the nick of time, is in the same bracket as buying a lottery ticket and winning on your first attempt. 

It was a flat game, the emotional loss suffered by Cardiff made for a committed effort but you could see, aside from the tragic loss of a talented player in a freak accident, why they invested heavily in a striker.

Arsenal were average at best in the first 45 minutes and the only thing worth shouting about was a possible penalty appeal for Lacazette but it came to nothing.

Ozil showed some nice touches but looked out of salts. 

The burden of having to produce magic and miracles has been harder since Sanchez left and although I personally don’t miss the money grabbing Chilean, Ozil has struggled to find that type of form without him. 

In the second half. The introduction of Iwobi and Ramsey gave the gunners more purpose but they failed to find any meaningful rhythm and Aubameyang’s goal came as a relief.

On a bitterly cold evening with little to cheer or jump out of your seat for, Bamba tangled with Kolasinac from an Iwobi pass and Mike Dean pointed to the spot, which in itself is a collectors item.

If anything, Cardiff we’re guilty of a series of poor challenges which hardly helped their cause and it proved to be a constant problem for them.

Aubameyang made no mistake to clock up his 15th goal by sending the Cardiff keeper diving in the opposite direction.

Lacazette’s goal was a stunner, he received the ball near the right touchline and from the moment he took it, only had one thing in mind.

Zipping forward with power and purpose into the area, he unleashed a low, thunderous shot, which the Cardiff keeper could only help into the net with an outstretched leg.

Cardiff replied in  the dying seconds with a baffling goal.

The defenders failed to deal with a cross and weren’t quick enough to close down, leaving Mendez-Laing to thread the bell past six Arsenal shirts and into the bottom corner. 

Leno couldn’t have seen it until the last minute, with his vision impaired by at least two bodies and the search for a succession of clean sheets goes on. 

As a spectacle, it wasn’t up to much but three points is three points, perhaps with a few late additions, things will improve but the defensive issues are not going to go away and it looks as if Arsenal have no intention of reinforcing.

On a different note, I’d not be surprised if Neil Warnock retired at the end of the season, regardless of what happens to Cardiff.

He looks tired, drained and broken, noting that there is more to life than football.

Whatever he decides, he has served his club well and in a very dignified way.

Not something I usually say about Warnock as I’ve never been a fan but I recognise his achievements and salute his exemplary conduct during difficult times. 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *