After seeing Arsenal held to a disappointing draw by the Championship side Hull City yesterday, I left the TV in and waited to see what Arsene Wenger would say about the team, the result and the problem of another game to fit in as we head to an FA cup replay.
But the programme finished before the Frenchman emerged from the home dressing room, although his past match comments have now been reported on the Arsenal website, and from what the manager said I assume the extra time in the dressing room was because Wenger was giving his misfiring forward players a piece of his mind.
The boss certainly suggested that their failure to find the net was the main reason for the Gunners having to face another game against the Tigers. He pointed out the fact that Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck and Joel Campbell are all full internationals and so his rotation should not have been a problem.
And while the Arsenal boss gave credit to the visiting team and their determined defending, while also recognising the excellence of their keeper Eldin Jakupovic, he clearly felt that we should have had more than enough fire power to win the game.
Wenger explained why we could only draw, “Because Hull defended well, because their ‘keeper played well, because our final ball was maybe not good enough and because when we could give the ball in the final third, we decided [to go for] an individual solution.
“The goalkeeper did well of course, but we had maybe 70 per cent possession and more than 20 shots on goal, and we didn’t score. We have to look at ourselves as well, even if you can give credit to their ‘keeper.
“The nightmare would have been to go out. The frustration is that we didn’t score and it’s not what we wanted, to have a replay, but between that and going out, we choose the replay. I am happy for the replay [as opposed to going out]. We need to be more efficient in the final third, because today we had more than 70 per cent possession and we will not have that on Tuesday night. That means we’ll have to be more efficient with much less of the ball.
“I played a team that, in my opinion, had the quality to win the game today. The Barcelona game was not in my mind today. I rested Ramsey and Ozil completely, because they’ve played many games since the start of the season. When I can do it, I do it. Mesut Ozil was a bit sick over the week, so I decided to leave him out completely. Ramsey has played many games, so that’s why I kept him out.
“A shame? No, because that would mean that the players in the squad are not good enough, which I don’t think [is true]. If you look at the players that played in our team, Ospina, Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, they are all internationals, [as are] Elneny, Flamini, then yes, Iwobi. People want you to give a chance to young players. When you play them, they say ‘it’s a shame’. Up front we had Walcott, Welbeck and Campbell, all internationals. People always want you to buy more and more players. When you play them, they say ‘why did you play them?’ I think the team was of quality and that’s not an excuse.”
Have Arsenal got a big problem with goals and with this extra game?