Well done Orient – but Arsenal have a striker crisis

By Avenell Dave

As someone who lives near Orient’s ground, I felt a pang of excitement and disappointment when the draw was made a few weeks ago.

Orient are a good community club and deserve their day in the spotlight.

Did I expect Arsenal to win? Yes.

Did I expect Arsenal to win handsomely? No.

As @johncrossmirror put on Twitter yesterday, the FA Cup is a great leveller, especially when you have a rookie alongside the indifferent Sebatien Squillaci in central defence.

Orient’s equaliser in the last minute of the game was painfully predictable in many senses.

Could we blame Kieran Gibbs and debutant Ignasi Miquel for letting a former fourth division French striker who even Arsene Wenger hadn’t heard of get between them and get in a shot? We could do, but in the case of both players, they are young, raw and learning the game and this sort of thing happens. I don’t think Gibbs is ready for England and the fact that he has won two senior caps shows how much media hype plays a part in players getting selected.

Could we blame Manuel Almunia for letting the shot slip below his body? Possibly but we all know his limitations.

Could we blame Wenger for not bringing on a couple of pairs of fresh legs to kill the game and give us the possession we needed to run down the clock? Possibly, but he is trying to protect tired legs and who can blame him?

We could criticise Tomas Rosicky who, his goal apart, didn’t do a lot and continues to look like a player who knows he will leave the Gunners in the summer.

We could ask why Andrey Arshavin didn’t rip apart a side of far less quality than those he has made mincemeat of in the past – but he put in a good shift and was one of the few performers who comes away with any credit.

Yes, we made heavy weather of yet another FA Cup game against lower league opposition, but these things happen and the only worry really is that the fixture congestion will lead to tired legs and injurues.

But what should be a concern to Wenger and the fans is that at the moment, we seem to have only one striker who is firing on all cylinders, and in Robin van Persie, we have no idea how long he will remain fit before another season-ending injury.

Maroune Chamakh has spoken of his shock at the intensity of English football and after playing most of the games at the start of the season, and it’s fair to say he’s in a bit of a lull.

Yes, he could have done better with an early chance but what he needs to do is work hard and do the basics right, and even they didn’t come off too regularly on Sunday.

But the real concern has to be the performance of Nicklas Bendtner.

"We’ve got the best player in his head..." may be a popular terrace chant, but it’s ridiculous to make such proclamations of brilliance when you can’t be bothered to show your worth against lower league opposition.

Bendtner gave the impression that he couldn’t be bothered, that he didn’t need to get out of second gear to do well and when the Orient defenders and midfielders gave him less time than he expected, he didn’t seem capable of moving up the gears.

This was the sort of game where he could have bagged a hat-trick and shown how he deserves to get more game time in the important games, but instead, he slouched around, looking less and less interested.

Carlos Vela scored for WBA which was good to see and he needs games to get used to English football and gain confidence.

But if RvP gets injured, who is going to score the goals as the season reaches its climax?