Gunnin' for Survival
The match was a few hours of anxiety! It was a roller coaster of emotions which has been the MO of our season. Nothing has come easy and it feels like we don’t catch any breaks. Moyes finally made a mini miracle and kept the same lineup, the team that was free flowing, high energy, goal scoring machine, which made Southampton look like an MLS side. This was the correct decision and I feel like best possible starting lineup.
“Hold the line!” to our defense. No Possession, no possession and even less possession. We didn’t have the ball much but we played strong. Probably some of the best defense in a while. The potent Arsenal attack didn’t seem threatening. We held the line and then countered with great opportunities. One of the big opportunities was when Antonio burst down the right side of the pitch. He was like one of the “war boys” from Mad Max: Fury Road. He was riding fast but unfortunately crashed and burned. There were two options: shoot or pass (to wide open Haller). He chose the second option but when it was too late. Antonio had a heavy touch and couldn’t make the play count. This was some Shakespearian foreshadowing for the rest of the match. Antonio “Almost the Great” should have been his name for the day. I know people will point the finger at Haller with his mistimed run (which I agree it was) but I like when players are aggressive. The great Wayne Gretzky used to say, “you miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take”. Take the freakin shot Antonio!
Arsenal came out more productive. They seemed determined to break the 0 to 0 deadlock of the match. Their attack was more potent which still exposed their Achilles heel which was the space in the midfield. It was free range and there for the taking. Haller and Antonio linked up again. Haller flicked a pass right onto Antonio’s head and unfortunately, it went directly at Leno. Antonio needed to direct it anywhere else and it would have been a goal. He was almost great today. The next missed opportunity in the open space was from Bowen. He made a tremendous run through the middle of the field and shot directly at the goalkeeper. Mikel Arteta started making changes. Bringing on the goal threat of Lacazette is exactly what they needed. He came on and scored the winning goal. Yes, people will say VAR could have helped us out but there was no doubt Ozil was on side and made a play. Credit is given where credit is due. Moyes needed to make changes earlier like what Arteta did. The game was in the balance and there for the taking. Arteta went after the match. Moyes was reactive and only made changes after being down a goal. A little suggestion for Moyes would be to give Anderson more than 10 minutes or so. That doesn’t give players enough time to get into a match. Unfortunately, that was all she wrote. Another loss from a match that we actually felt in control of…
Yes, it was a frustrating match. We were the better team and had so many opportunities to win this. Fans are burning down Twitter saying it is over. I say try and keep a level head. As fans we love to overreact when we win and overact when we lose. The greatest sports players would always keep a level head. Look at players such as Michael Jordan or Tom Brady or Derek Jeter. They understood that losing and winning happens but what means the most is if we are improving to get to our goal. Unfortunately, our goal is to stay in the Premier League but that is a goal worth fighting for. We do not want to end up like the Birminghams, Blackpools or Sunderlands of English football. We are improving. Arsenal is a bigger club and has more firepower than we do. The mighty Hammers were still able to dictate the game and have loads of chances. This means we are on the right track. Our train has left the station and we are looking to climb the table. Hammers fans were ok with us not getting points vs Liverpool because we were showing improvement. I see the same in this match. I didn’t expect to win but for us to play well means things are coming together. We don’t know exactly what or who has improved the team so much but I would take a guess that our old captain Kevin Nolan has a lot to do with it. I could even see him take over in a couple of years as the manager.
Also, remember the results around us went our way!
Checks the table…
I know this is disheartening but turn off Twitter and focus on next week! We go again! Come on You Irons!