Well, what to do? Arsenal continue to play their free-flowing version of total football without putting the ball in the net. Some of Arsenal's play was of such a high standard in the middle third that you've now become used to/spoiled by it. However, the decision to rest Henry seems to have backfired. Despite all his huffing and puffing when things don't go his way, Henry seems to be indispensable. Perhaps his 90 mins for France coupled with the match this Tuesday played a part in Wenger's decision.
I thought Arsenal upped their work-rate off the ball and I thought this was some kind of statement that we can survive without Henry. A soft soft goal to give away. Gallas talked earlier in the week that Arsenal need to find a balance between attack and defence. Newcastle scored in their first real attack after 30 mins, 2 on 2. Hleb was weaving his patterns, Fabregas seemed up for it and Clichy was bombing forward. Arsenal actually did little wrong apart from scoring - the crucial difference between the top teams. In one way it's utterly frustrating, and on the other you wouldn't want Arsenal to change their style. You know that if they're 1-up, they'll not be caught. As Wenger said after the game, it was the same old story. Arsenal don't score early on, then concede a soft goal, then spend the rest of the game chasing. He claimed this team needs to learn the right ingredients to take the title. What was the difference between the 2003/4 Invincibles and this side? Bergkamp's vision? Campbell's no frills approach? Vieira? Unless Baptista can recreate some of the Senegal man's steel, Arsenal may continue to have a soft centre. Gilberto was a loss today. He'd arguably have broken up the attack which led to Dyer's well-taken goal. However, that doesn't disguise the fact that Arsenal didn't score from play despite 60% possession and 23 attempts on goal. Newcastle, as do 99% of teams, just parked their bus in the 'D'. I'm at a loss as to the solution - forget a out trying to dominate all possession and allow opposing teams to commit themselves forward now and again and hit them on the break?