"We can only fault ourselves. Some players were not at their best and we gave a goal away at a set piece that provided Sunderland's only opportunity to score. That sums it up perfectly; the game was there for the taking."
- Arsene Wenger, refreshingly frank about the match
Okay, Eduardo as a lone striker isn't the answer. I think it was worthwhile to give him a chance in the position, but we've to go regard it as a failure. Eduardo a poacher and he'll give you a few dinky little passes, but he needs someone to play off of. He doesn't have the qualities to be the main man himself.
Then again, thinking back over the last few years, and I'm wondering what is the answer to yesterday's performance. We played poorly against Sunderland, and we lost. We conceded a weak goal on a set piece and we lost. We lost key players in the previous international week and we lost. As much as we'd like to deny it, Arsenal lose matches in circumstances like this, and there's not a lot to say about it. It's just a fact of life.
I think we can say that thing will be difficult until Bendtner comes back next month. Bendtner can play as a lone striker. van Persie can play as a lone striker. I'm not sure about the rest of the strikers. I think we're going to keep rotating strikers for the next few games, hoping that one of the combinations click.
So what's going to happen next week against Chelsea? Who are we going to plonk up front against Terry and Carvalho? I'm thinking Wenger will stick with Eduardo. However, I hope he decides to gives Vela a chance up front. Vela has amazing potential, and it'll be nice to see him get a few starts. He's fast and clever, and he can lead the line better than Eduardo.
Actually, I'd like to see Walcott start on the right wing, Arshavin on the left and Vela up front. It would be like playing three Mighty Mouses together. Terry and Carvalho would be like ponderous elephants trying to stamp on tiny, speedy rodents, and our attacking trio would be biting them, and slipping past them, and stealing all their cheese. And then the elephants would get so upset at their stolen cheese that they'll refuse to eat leaves and then they'll get hungry, and malnourished, and then they'll die. That's what I want to happen to Terry and Carvalho next week (except the dying part, because that's a bit extreme).
The other thing that bugs me about the Sunderland game was the soft goal. Until we get serious with defending set pieces, we're going to continue to conceded weak goals. It might not matter when we're scoring 3 goals a game, but last night showed us that we're not going to score 3 goals a game every match. This lax defending is going to cost us the points that will cost us the title. And until we do something about it, we can forget about winning the title.