01 January 2014

Arsenal 0-0 Cardiff: Halftime check-in

We've created plenty of chances but to little effect as Cardiff seem content to defend deep and hope to catch us on counters, as they almost have with Campbell looking dangerous on a number of occasions. We're dominating the possession, as expected, and are spending a good deal of time on the edge of Cardiff's box. However, the enduring image of the first half is of Cazorla, Podolski, and Wilshere dribbling and passing around the box while Cardiff position four men inside the box and another four or five just above it. As such, we're getting a lot of action down the sides and seem either content with or forced to shoot from distance.

One of the best chances came when Cazorla scissored defender McNaughton, comically sending him left and dribbling the other way and then finding Wilshere. Wilshere knifed in but was cut down for what might have been a penalty. However, instead of playing the whistle, every Gunner around the ball turned to call for the penalty, which didn't come. If Podolski, for one, had continued to play, he might have had a shot from 6-8 yards away. I don't know how many referees will see a potential foul and base his decision on how many players appeal for it. If anything, they may be less likely to call the foul if everyone turns to ask for it.

Lest we bray too loudly about a missed call, we might be a bit fortunate that Mertesacker is still on, having only drawn a yellow for dragging Campbell down on a dangerous-looking counter. Mertesacker, perhaps knowing that he was going to get beat, wrapped his arm around Campbell's chest from behind and pulled him down. The referee waved play on, as Jordan Mutch collected and managed a shot, after which Per was booked. After all, whereas Wilshere's situation might have been a foul, or he might have falling on his own, there is no doubt that Mertesacker fouled Campbell. We're fortunate that Koscielny was deeper than Mertesacker, reducing the chance of it being judged a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

Truth be told, though, if we're looking to the referee for help, we need more help than he can offer—unless he's willing to show the red-card to someone in blue. We've managed eight shots, but we've put none on target unless you count Walcott hitting the side-netting. It's been a frustrating first half, but let's hope we add to our status of scoring more goals than any other team in the first 25 minutes of the second half. We've been knocking on the door; now, it's time to kick the damned thing down. Podolski's still my pick to do just that—twice.

I'd like to see fewer shots of Mr. Tan if that would be alright.

Elsewhere, a few results and scores to track:

  • Swansea 2-3 Man City (FT)
  • Stoke 0-0 Everton (HT)
  • Southampton 0-0 Chelsea (HT)
  • Liverpool 1-0 Hull (HT)