We’re looking sluggish and disinterested while Newcastle look lively and determined. We haven’t musted a shot on goal yet and are probably fortunate to go in to halftime with a scoreless draw. It’s not that Newcastle have been all that incisive, but we seem to be lacking purpose, which is odd considering our needs and the stakes. Chelsea is tied with Everton at the half, and the same is true of Spurs and Sunderland. Sure, we can match Spurs for points, but they win, we must win. Here’s hoping Wenger lays into the lads as he apparently did last week. Here, then, is a brief rundown of our boys’ efforts so far:
- Szczesny: 6/10. Not tested really but has doen well, such as on Cabaye’s tricky shot.
- Sagan: 6/10. Decent efforts moving forward but is having to do too much in back (see Mertesacker below).
- Mertesacker: 3/10. Looks slow and lacks urgency as Cisse is beating him to loose balls and getting past him more often than not. Even when he gets beat, he seems to jog back, leaving others exposed.
- Koscielny: 8/10. All over the place on the back line with several sharp headers and clearances. Very nearly scored from a corner early on. MOTM so far.
- Gibbs: 6/10. Not yet delivering on my boast from the previous post but looking sharp. Might have had an assist if Cazorla hadn’t wasted a decent chance from about 25 yards.
- Ramsey: 6/10. Looks a little slow and tired but continues to work and press around the pitch well. Has to do more with Arteta off.
- Arteta: NA. Subbed off after about 25′ after re-aggravating the calf.
- Oxlade-Chamberlain: 5/10. Hasn’t made much of a mark yet. It will be interesting to see what he does in the second half.
- Rosicky: 6/10. Lively and alert and harassing Newcastle well but to little effect so far.
- Cazorla: 5/10. Decent but a bit wasteful, shooting poorly and getting a little too cute on the ball, taking touches when a pass would be better.
- Podolski: 6/10. Has threatened at times. The offside call was tough as he looked onside, but he wasted the shot anyway (perhaps distracted by the whistle).
- Walcott: 5/10. Getting too predictable on the wing, always looking to speed past on the outside after 1-2 feints. He’ll have to mix it up there as well as on his crosses, which are all chips to the far post. A cut-back to the middle might give him better shots or chances to lay off to the top of the box.
All in all, we haven’t looked like a team that needs three points. Here’s to them coming out for the second half like crazed, rabid wolves and eat Newcastle alive as they did against Wigan…
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