One point nearer the title

By Avenell Dave

There are games us Addicts wait for with an element of trepidation, games that we anticipate with respectful confidence and there are games like Everton at home.

The statistics tell the story - 12 wins and a draw since Arsene Wenger took over and 75 goals scored against the Toffees during Le Boss's reign.

So Saturday's match should, by all accounts, have been a home banker and that's what I expected.

Good teams don't lose when they play badly and the fact that Wenger admitted we were second best match underlines how out-competed and out-thought we were for much of the game.

The Gunners have scored a fair few last minute goals since we moved to Emirates, so in that respect, we shouldn't have been too surprised by our late rally, but having conceded such a soft goal so late on to put us behind, the fact that we found ourselves pegged back by a succession of corners and still found the strength and determination to pull a goal back speaks volumes.

There was a lot to be concerned about, of course.

Manuel Almunia gave another case for why he is one of the worst goalkeepers in the top flight with his flapping, bad decision making and woeful distribution.

So many times he put us in trouble by trying to launch a speedy attack without thinking whether he was putting us in danger, often forcing other players into mistakes and not taking any notice of the tricky conditions which made ball control even more testing.

I looked down below me on a number of occasions in the first half to see Wenger trying to get his goalkeeper's attention to tell him to think before he throws the ball out but even a word at half time seemed to do no good.

A fellow Addict said to me later that Wenger must know how bad Almunia is but is so stubborn that he cannot bring himself to admit his number one is not up to the task.

RedNose F*rgie took the decision to drop Ben Foster despite wanting to give the Englishman a chance this season and chasing the title, and Wenger would do himself a lot of good if he did the same.

Denilson looked laboured at times but made up for it somewhat with his goal and Aaron Ramsey showed that he has a way to go to get the experience and savvy to control games against teams that try to suffocate his midfield influence.

Armand Traore will want to forget the game as well, but one poor performance a bad player does not make and he will bounce back, I am sure.

With Denilson carried off and Thomas Vermaelen and William Gallas pulling up at varying points, Wenger must realise we need to sign a couple of players to help us finish the job of winning the title.

The bench was pretty threadbare and with games coming thick and fast, it's only going to get more intense, not less so.

A tall striker would have got on the end of some of the crosses we managed but we cannot rely on Nick Bendtner alone and with Denilson injured, who is going to be the defensive midfielder in such an attacking side? Craig Eastmond? Not yet, for sure.

With more players getting crocked, we seem to take two steps forward and two steps back as far as team fitness are concerned.

But I was proud of how we fought back on Saturday and although the real winners this weekend were the Ch*vs, we're still up there and in with a shout.

Keep believing Addicts - there are going to be a fair few more twists and turns in this title race and we're going to be right there in the mix.