PSV Eindhoven 1 Arsenal 1: Nine, nine, nine emergency

Last updated : 24 November 2004 By Brian Dawes

Lauren in action prior to his needless dismissal
Zonal marking is fine by me, but zonal marking at set plays is a total joke. Even the Sky panel and commentators agreed on this one. So let me repeat it, zonal marking sucks and this is the principal reason teams have been exploiting our inherent weakness at each and every set play. It’s also the reason they seem to have scored against us at every set play. It’s also the reason they will probably continue to score against us at every set play. In which case it will be why we won’t succeed as we should this season.

It took just eight minutes for PSV to get a clean header from a corner, which was nodded home by Ooijer. Sol joined the statutes in our static defence as Ooijer waltzed through about four zones to nod home. Henry won the best statue contest on the basis that he didn’t even blink as Ooijer ran past him. This was absolutely pathetic marking, mainly because if you’re defending zonally there is no fecking marking. Le Boss seriously needs to take some lessons in defending set plays from Bouldie or Adams, and the sooner the better. Tomorrow would be good. Better yet Sol and Ashley should tell him where to shove zonal marking because if we win nothing this season that will be the chief cause.

Prior to their goal we’d looked ok. Henry had nearly got Freddie in with a shout and Reyes had nearly put Henry away. Sibon had won a corner from a deflected shot and the very lively Farfan had won a corner with a shot following a headed knock down by Sibon. After their goal I went off to change into some brown trousers in case they had any more corners.

Freddie had a shot wide and Van Bommel looked to have a kick at Cole, a while later he succeeded in chopping Cole on a run. Cesc and Henry nearly got Freddie in but this was a firing on only a few cylinders job at this stage. Henry did brilliantly to steal a ball and make some space but was disappointing with his finish that only found the side netting. A piss poor Arsenal corner saw PSV run up the other end and win one themselves. Farfan continued to be a problem but Arsenal worked their way back into the match. PSV were giving us very little space but were not really a threat except at set plays. No surprise that their other matches at home had been won 1-0.

Henry had the ball wide right, appeared to slip but recovered quickly and ran past his marker. He glided into the box played a one two with Freddie which the Swede back-heeled into Thierry’s path and stroked it home low for the equaliser. 1-1 and only about the second goal the Dutch had conceded at home in the past three months or so. Absolutely brilliant and a very typical Arsenal goal, style wise.

Pat was booked for his first tackle of note, but only because the twat Van Bommel made a complete meal of it. Henry won a corner after Rob drove forward. Henry was our main man, Reyes was very peripheral and Rob had an in and out patchy sort of game, Freddie however was very lively and making good runs into their box. The German ref Fandel gave a free kick against Arsenal from a corner for absolutely nothing. I was totally unimpressed by his allowing Van Bommel to commit numerous kicks and hacks without being penalised whilst…well I’ll explain later. A blatant dive by Van Bommel followed.

PSV take the lead - Marking? - what marking?
A great block by Campbell from a Farfan shot fairly central. Yellow card for Ooijer for studs in the back of Henry’s ankle. Reyes was chopped but play waved on and seconds later Sibon went down like a sack of spuds which failed to amuse Sol who was penalised. I’m all for the German’s appeasing the Dutch after what they went through in the War but there is a time and place, which is preferably not when Arsenal are playing them. Van Bommel fouled Campbell very late but there was still no card. A point which Arsene clearly raised with the fourth official on numerous occasions. So half time came and we were back in the game after a seriously mediocre start.

Arsenal kicked off but defended in depth from the off. Lauren picked up a stupid yellow card for waving an imaginary one himself, the most stupid and odious way to gain a booking imaginable. A weak shot from range by Vogel was about all they had to offer. Arsenal offered a fluid move, which culminated in Reyes hitting a decent shot that, was parried to Ljungberg but he couldn’t control it. Van Bommel dived in the box. Alex and Cocu took turns to foul Henry who clearly scared them to death.

The free kick from Pires should have resulted in a penalty when Campbell was prevented from getting a toe to the ball by a huge tug on his shirt. Van Bommel tripped Vieira and the match was pretty tense with both teams knowing a win would take them through.

There was a great covering tackle by Cole at right back when PSV had a rare break. Great run by Van Bommel ended with an angled shot being saved by Jens. Reyes who has lost a bit of his early season sparkle was replaced by Van Persie. Lauren made a high tackle and picked up a second yellow card. This was deserved, but given Van Bommel’s hacking rate it was a total joke. Beasley replaced Vogel.

Vieira - Unlucky to see red
Ten men Arsenal shuffled by moving Freddie to right back. Henry had a fabulous charge but his solo ended with a shot that was saved. Van Persie’s corner ball in was awkward for Pat but he forced a save from Gomes. Hoyte replace Pires and Freddie now moved to central midfield. Robin then went on a run that saw him try a difficult running chip when a blast might have yielded better results. Even now we looked to be the team that would win it as Cesc grew in stature yet again. A great cross by Henry found Freddie steaming in but he couldn’t get full purchase on his volley. A great chance from a set play saw Alex miss a fine opportunity for PSV.

Possibly because there was no racism in the crowd the Kraut decided to give Pat a second yellow for a perfect tackle on Park who rolled around as if shot. Why? This was not a dirty match, this was a criminal red card, totally undeserved and Arsenal were now down to nine men while the van Bommel remained uncarded. How?

So a rare 4-3-1 formation for Arsenal. Then to make matters worse Van Persie was hurt in a high challenge and carried off, to be replaced by Flamini who wasn’t fully fit. Van Persie was stretchered off to cheers from the mindless PSV supporters. Van Bommel fouled Freddie, I’d lost count of his fouls but Arsene hadn’t and continued to ask the fourth official why the **** the **** was still on the pitch? Alex headed wide with a big miss.

Henry worked back to win a throw, no big deal but an indication of how hard we were working as PSV fans moaned about their team’s lack of progress. We had a lucky break when a rebound from a cross could have gone anywhere. Three minutes added time were enough for Van Bommel to foul Henry in the air before Freddie was booked for a tussle in midfield. A draw in the other Group match means Arsenal need to beat Rosenborg, without Pat or Lauren of course.