|photo by prayitno||via PhotoRee|
Arsenal unbeaten 10 games in a row. Sunderland four straight losses. Game at The Emirates. Arsenal with everything to play for. Prescription for a blowout, right? Didn't quite work out that way Saturday.
Arsenal looked decidedly indecisive and looser with the football than Sven Goran Erikson is with women without Cesc Fabregas, Robin Van Persie, Alex Song and Theo Walcott on the pitch against the Black Cats. Mark my words: if the Gunners look like this against Barcelona on Tuesday they will get eaten alive. Last year's 4-nil spanking at the Camp Nou may be looked back at fondly.
I don't want to say I called it, but I called it. Nicklas Bendtner, fresh off beating up on the hapless Leyton Orient mid-week, displayed all the killer instinct of a Tibetan monk in front of goal against Sunderland. Missing chance after chance, and reverting back to form after his once-every-few-months outburst, Bendtner showed Arsenal fans why they shouldn't count on lifting too many trophies this season.
Laurent Koscielny has the physical presence of a stick figure on a hunger strike in central defense for Arsenal. The Gunners better hope they don't play any upcoming games in breezy conditions, because Koscielny looks as if he might blow away in any gusts greater than about 10 miles per hour.
I would have joined Arsenal fans in protesting the "unfairness" of the referee's decisions to ignore a penalty on Arshavin and then later incorrectly flag him as offside, IF ONLY A SINGLE Arsenal fan had railed against the injustices United received at the incapable hands of Martin Atkinson on Tueday. Unfortunately, there were about as many Arsenal fans calling out Atkinson mid-week as there were true pro-government demonstartors in Libya.
Of course after the game, Arsene Wenger said the refereeing was "disappointing and not acceptable." It's a dead-lock cinch that the FA won't raise the slightest bit of fuss against Professor Wenger for his thoughts, although Sir Alex will likely be handed a three game touchline ban for stating much the same after the Chelsea game.
This is farlieonfootie for March 6.