Them something us two
You can take the player out of Arsenal but you can never take the Arsenal out of the player. You got trolled son. But that's Adebayor. Passion is passion even if its sometimes misplaced and unnecessary. There was no need for that tackle and it was only made due to over-eagerness.
I'm not naive. We could have still lost the game with 11 men (although there were moments in the second half with 10 men that left me wondering why the hosts didn't do more with the advantage), but there was no contest after that red card. Mainly because of we remain fragile. A consequence of our transfer window and injury list. It's sometimes tricky to watch our players react to tactical alignments with a full set let alone attempt to do so with one down, away, to our rivals.
We started the game well. I hate the irony more than I hate the defeat. Had...had there been no red card there would have been far tighter competitiveness. Perhaps both sides taking advantage of each others weaknesses and perhaps one in the end connecting with the knock out punch. Instead, containment for us was too much a task against a side that doesn't have issues with shape or formations or tactics or missing key players. Mental fragility? Yes, they've displayed the traits. But give them a wounded animal and they will feast without concern. Although it felt more like a knife and fork job rather than the bare hand gluttony of last seasons defeat there.
I'm deeply philosophical about this. Belly full of rum. We go one up, we get a man sent off, we re-shape and somehow with it hold onto hope until we give it all away before half time. We re-shape again for the second half and once again look more than the sum of our parts, but its still too big a task for us.
There's no shame. Okay, sure, there is always shame in losing to them. But in terms of a football match, in terms of a tactical battle...we reacted to circumstances and did so positively. Bitterly disappointing we couldn't see how the 11 v 11 match up would have played out. Would have told us so much more about both teams.
Our coach showed some tenacity and took risks. It didn't pay off. I also hate the irony that the final score matches last seasons catalyst. Further irony again (Alanis is ready for the encore) that Villas-Boas opted for the '442' and our boy Adebayor capitulates all on his own.
Now, we're back to one up front until he returns from his stop start season which stops again early next year when he goes off to the ACN. The necessity for a strong transfer window never seems to go away. For all the intelligence our suspended player has, he showed too little of it in a game that meant more to us than it means to him. Or at least it was meant to. Seems it meant far more to him than to anyone else - including team mates. Then again, on another day, he might have escaped it. Such is the erraticness of football. Once again I need to bide my time waiting for his return to the first team while we continue to find ways to link the midfield with the attack. That reoccurring problem about to reoccur again.
Positives? Compare this game with last seasons. We got spanked for our troubles but there was a fair bit of to dare is to do thrown in - some thing Villas-Boas been criticised for not doing since his arrival. He didn't give up on it.
Two up front with purpose with width - our strength but also key to our weakness, with nothing in the middle (save Sandro battling). The high line also inviting pressure but that purpose up top capable of giving them headaches too. Post 1-0 and red card we pressed the midfield and displayed the not too uncommon reaction from the team with one less man. But it didn't last, the footballing Gods biding their time for that familiar few minutes before half time to settle things up after home pressure gave way. Was meant to be about our width and it turned out to be all about theirs.
Second half, three at the back. Brave and bold. Bale and Lennon retaining their positions on the wings and seeking to attack. We didn't look too shabby at the start of it. That key area, central midfield, being impacted with more of a Lilywhite presence. Defoe out on his own, Dempsey closing down space but lacking that presence Adebayor has shown (against City and his cameo at the Emirates). But as we pressed on with the high line and our flankers pushed up field, we were duly punished for our endeavour. One less man, more space to take advantage of. Two less men if you include Gallas.
We're going to have to deal with it. I still stand by the fact this game would have played out far differently with 11 v 11. But it's not relevant aside from wishfully theorising. They did what they had to do. Nothing masterful in terms of tactics, just perseverance. Don't be fooled, they know they still have their problems much like we do. Actually, they probably don't. Today flattered them and its the bane of my life we couldn't line up with Kaboul, Caulker, BAE and Dembele.
Maybe next time they'll be no excuses. The battle was lost, the war is there if we wish to regroup and head back in. We can't dwell on this. Obviously I'm devastated losing to a no-mark club but I'm not sat in the corner, foaming, rocking back and forth. I want the next game to be played tomorrow. But redemption has to wait another week.
That intensity of the early part of the game, that has been lacking in our performances. No matter the missing players - we need more of that attitude in the games ahead.
I like rum. A lot. Seems that I've already exorcised my demons with its help. Either I have a handle on positive thinking or I'm not that far off from insanity.
This is going to work out.
Onwards Tottenham Hotspur.
Footnotes: I'm laughing. I'm laughing at how AVB played Adebayor and Defoe and then gets criticised for it because he should have known how volatile Adebayor would be against yet another of his former clubs and that it has somehow rebounded as an error of selection. BORE OFF.
The shirt. Another ridiculous modern football decision. Since when did the colours white and red clash aside from on the pitch?
Carroll. Tidy. Give him a home start.
Defending. Take the lead, give it away. Okay, so today's match came with a hefty caveat involving 10 v 11. But again, you can't expect any form of consistency with a back four (five including keeper) that keeps having to change and adapt.