Colin Kazim- Richards mishit goal encapsulates what has gone terribly wrong for the Gunners. It does not just take Arsenal's mistake to sink Arsenal, it can take your mistake to sink Arsenal. The result remains the same. At the other end, Tomas Rosicky's sweetly timed through pass met perfectly by a galloping Gervinho draws out Jake Kean and the Emirates rises in expectation. You've paid £10.5m for a striker who scored 17 goals in his last season at Lille and the expectations are he will score. That's all you can do. But Gervinho in his Arsenal phase defied the odds yet again.
What is more disheartening is that such losses now define Arsenal. Somehow there is never a learning curve in now what can only be called a double dip. At Bradford, now Blackburn. Arsene Wenger seems to be disconnected from inspiring this team or maybe this team is beyond inspiration because winning these competitions assume greater significance since Wenger's ambitions never go beyond finishing fourth in the league. The portal to the Champions League and bragging rights to a 15th season in elite competition. That is the mantra. Yet the simple truth is that winning less lauded laurels like the League and the FA Cup is the key to strengthening the psyche of this side, held together by duct tape. Any success, any, now need not be sneered at.
The Gunners have now been in umpteen situations where they have been invited to crack open the opposition. And Gervinho had the perfect opportunity but there was a feeling of inevitability with his miss, Rosicky's booming shot clanging of the crossbar, Diaby and Vermaelen's efforts saved by Kean that this would not be Arsenal's day. There was plenty of possession but somehow the personnel in the critical last third was missing. Olivier Giroud was stranded in the box while Alex Oxlade Chamberlain showed on quite a few occasions a lack of rudimentary crossing skills. The Ox man seems to be bent on performing something spectacular which may have to do with Theo Walcott back in his familiar position.
With time running down, Wenger went to Wilshere, Walcott, and Cazorla but before they could arrange their feet, Blackburn making a very rare foray through Martin Olsson, testing Wojciech Szczesny with a left footed shot which the Arsenal goalie managed to parry into the path of Kazim Richards, whose follow up was a shank into the ground. The ballistics report shows the ball not only looped over the prostrate Szczesny but also at an angle onto the upright and into goal. Which means that even had the Pole (a feeble pun, as feeble as Arsenal's efforts) been standing this would have been a goal. Karma for all the missed chances. Karma for being reactive. Karma for the disorienting changes in ambition. Karma for penny pinching. Karma for wasting the pennies not pinched on players that have proven a bust.
This is not a heartening preview to the Bayern match. Do you really have to scheme against Arsenal when it seems all you have to do is show up? Yet familiarly, Wenger was seeing past Bayern despite a history of bravado gone wrong. There should be a gag order on the quadruple and Abou Diaby being the next Patrick Vieira. Or whatever pronouncement which appear based in whimsy. Perhaps you should not fill your players minds with cloud puffs. For those who say the fans need to support their club come what may. How does one put pressure on a manager enjoying a life time appointment? The last thing he needs is unconditional love.