Life is cruel at the bottom. We can't say Arsenal didn't deserve to win, they hit the woodwork twice and Green made two excellent saves and three good ones, but to hold out for 85 minutes and lose 1-0 was cruel. For one moment as Green appealed for offside, I hoped that Song was off as he netted, but sadly the goal was a good one and deserved to stand. It is hard to blame anybody, but we had dropped deep and Faubert sold himself desperately easily for a feinted cross, allowing all the time in the world for the final ball to be delivered.
The performance up until that point had been wonderfully professional. Yes we were lucky when Walcott struck the post after outstripping Ilunga and shooting across Green, and perhaps when Nasri struck the bar, although he was miles out and the ball hit the upper half of the woodwork so was not really in any danger of going in. Those moments apart, Green made three saves in the first half and three in the second, only one of which was out of the very top drawer.
There's not much more to add on the first half report. It was all about closing, closing, closing. Up front, we offered nothing in the second half. Piquionne was a shot bolt 5 minutes into the half and when Cole belatedly replaced him, he offered next to nothing. Mind you, by that stage, Obinna had nestled back into the midfield and had ceased to serve as a link to the lone front man. Once that happened, a goal was always likely to come because Arsenal were able to come at us in wave after wave after wave.
The real heroes of the performance were Green, Da Costa and Gabbidon, all of whom had superb games. To criticise any of them for the goal would be absurd. It was a superbly delivered cross that was impossible to defend for a centre half and goalkeeper alike. Once Song reached it with his head, it was always going to be a goal.
Boa, Noble, Parker and Behrami all did well in their role as defenders but, one Parker run apart, they were auxiliary defenders throughout the whole of the second half. Behrami was sadly summed up, however, when he diced with conceding a penalty and lost possession repeatedly. After Ilunga, he was the weakest player on show for me. Yes he runs, yes he huffs and puffs, yes he flings around his arms and legs but he is very ordinary in truth.
As for Ilunga, well he was my choice as Hammer of the Year a couple of seasons back but now, he looks off the pace, casual and frankly disinterested. Yes we need a goal scorer in January, but we desperately need a left back too.
Player Ratings: Green 10, Jacobsen 6, Da Costa 8 Gabbidon 8, Ilunga 5; Behrami 5, Noble 7, Parker 8, Boa 7; Obinna 6; Piquionne 6 Subs: Cole 5