By Avenell Dave
Just as I feared yesterday, Arsenal beat themselves last night.
Yep, I can sympathise with Arsene Wenger's claim that we are tired after an intense few weeks, but that's the price of success. That's why we have a squad and that's why we rotate.
I've been saying for a while that our understudies simply don't cut it.
I was speaking with a Liverpool fan after the game who reminded me how much worse it is for his lot, but the truth is that we're two or three injuries away from being just as abject.
Cesc Fabregas is world class and yet the exertions of the World Cup, his head being turned by Barca and niggling hamstring problems have hampered him all season.
Was last night his worst ever performance in an Arsenal shirt? Maybe, but it just shows that in his absence and the resting of Samir Nasri, we don't have a playmaker capable of taking responsibility.
It's too early to expect Jack Wilshere to boss games and Denilson, who should at least offer some defensive cover, continues to show little or no justification for remaining at the club.
I don't blame the central defence last night, even though someone at the training ground should practice pumping long balls down the middle, where we continue to get caught out.
Kieran Gibbs needs a run to prove he is worthy of a regular slot at the back, while Manu Eboue is regressing to his mad, bad old self ever since he got a new contract.
Someone on Twitter said last night that Andrey Arshavin gives us 15 seconds of effort and then gives up and it's hard to argue with that.
For a player so talented, his application just isn't there and the stats mean nothing if he doesn't make it count when our backs are against the wall.
Nicklas Bendtner - well he's doing his best to prove he's third choice striker and how Wenger can talk about our attacking riches when he's had the likes of Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp is beyond me.
If you look back, our first half against Citeh and the performance against M*nure are the only decent showings since Ch*vski and that's not good enough.
I fully expected us to win by enough goals to make the second leg a formality and the fact that it didn't happen says so much about the fact that we flatter to deceive far too often.
Credit to Ipswich, they dusted themselves off after FA Cup humiliation and fought for their lives. They got a bit of luck with the goal with Priskin clearly offside, but that shouldn't have mattered.
Wenger should have given them more credit and taken the opportunity to lay into some of his players publicly.
I get the feeling that defeat doesn't hurt them as much as it does us - and the fact that so many away fans booed us speaks volumes about the frustration people are feeling ( even though I would never boo myself).
Wenger needs to kick a few players up the backside and remind them what it means to play for the Arsenal or he too will start to lose the blind faith his previous success has granted him from all of us who just want to see the team play to their capacity more consistently.