As Arsene Wenger described it for the press, it was a ‘perfect nightmare’. Everything that came together on that fateful Saturday night was a recipe for disaster and a perfect nightmare. Poor passing. Poor defense. Missed opportunities. An own goal. Recurring injuries. A growing list of injuries. And a missed penalty. If Wenger was in disbelief when it happened, the fans were just as much in disbelief as the manager was. I know I was as I wondered where else I could look, if not at the television.
What happened at The Hawthorns will not stay within the stadium grounds. News will spread like wildfire of Arsenal’s slip-up and failure to take advantage of Manchester City’s late match against Liverpool to go top of the league (City eventually crashed to a 4-0 loss at the hands of Jurgen Klopp’s recently-revived team). It would have been the perfect cap to a perfect weekend for the Gunners if they had only won the match.
We will never know what really happened that night, or why did Arsenal succumb to such an embarrassing defeat. The results may be a small margin and not 4-0 like the Liverpool vs Man City match, but for a club who prides itself on being a top 4 and title challenger, what the fans saw on that night was not how a club challenging for top spot and the BPL trophy should be playing.
Olivier Giroud opened the scoring for Arsenal with an easy tap-in after a free kick taken by Mesut Ozil. West Brom were bewildered and no one challenged Giroud. Even their goalkeeper Boaz Myhill looked a little lost for words. But they recovered their form and fought back. Both goals came courtesy of two Jameses in the Baggies’ line-up, although the second goal was more of an own goal on Arsenal’s part. James Morrison scored the equaliser and his touch on the ball was a brilliant display of control and skill. They eventually took the lead through an embarrassing own goal by Mikel Arteta. Arteta raced through the lines, in hopes of clearing the ball but James McClean’s effort bounced off Arteta and past Petr Cech. And poor Alexis Sanchez, he never got the opportunity to score because every time he had the ball, West Brom ganged up on him and tackled the ball from him.
After a disappointing first half, Arsenal were unable to get back into the game. Opportunities were created, but none were converted. But when Wenger’s men were gifted a penalty, and the only way to equalise, they messed it up. Santi Cazorla was to take the penalty but he slipped and stumbled and MISSED THE FUCKING PENALTY! Pardon my choice of words but I was in a total and complete shock when I saw how he MISSED THE FUCKING PENALTY! How could you? Cazorla is not a random player. He is on the Spanish national squad and has scored on numerous occasions for Spain. How different is it from playing for a club? I’m not a footballer so I don’t know what he faces on a daily basis. But to miss a penalty, a free gift to an equaliser, that was painful. Even the pain was etched on his face.
I am just as upset as any other Arsenal fan out there. I’m sure Wenger has no idea which beach to bury his head in. But whatever the reason or situation, the club has to bounce back. We have to bounce back and forget about what happened and play first, against Dinamo Zagreb in mid-week for the Champions League if they want to stay on in the competition. And work twice as hard to regain our footing in the Premier League.