Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City: Useless

Part of the difficulty around writing match reports for this season is that you start to run out of different ways to describe the same things. With that in mind, I'm going to go about this a bit differently this week.

Today's word of the day is "callow". And now, a list of things that match that description:

The team selection: Once again, the manager has graced us with an absolutely bizarre squad choice given the magnitude of the game. Where do we even begin? How about the woefully out-of-form Laurent Koscielny selected in central defense ahead of the assured Per Mertesacker? Or, perhaps the mystifying decision to start the rusty Abou Diaby in central midfield? Turning our attention to the bench, where was Tomas Rosicky?

The squad depth: Related to the above, it's not like the boss had given himself tons of options, either. As ever, there is no Plan B. Faced with an opponent boasting the size and power of Vincent Kompany in central defense, the muscle of Edin Dzeko up top and a decent midfield destroyer in Gareth Barry, we're left with the same squad of midgets to combat them that we'd deploy against any other side. I get that this was part of the reason for starting Diaby, but given his lack of match fitness it wasn't that strong of an option.

But, you see, we can't buy any players because there isn't any "super super top quality" in the marketplace.

Of course, what the manager deems to be super quality enough to buy is questionable to begin with. Fun fact: Marouane Chamakh was decided to be unworthy of a place in Morocco's African Cup of Nations squad. Instead, the six (!) strikers they took have a combined number of caps less than our man, including an uncapped kid from something called Raja Casablanca. Super quality!

Also, it should be noted that with the transfer window almost halfway gone, Daniel Sturridge and Lucas Moura have both changed clubs. Either would moonwalk into our first team right now.

The referee:  As much as I'd like to call Mike Dean the worst referee on the Premier League Select list, the existence of Phil Dowd and Mark Halsey prevent me from doing so (though it does lend itself to a Three Blind Mice joke).

Koscielny's idiotic football tackle on Edin Dzeko in the 9th minute was absolutely a penalty kick - no doubt about it. But, how on earth that was a red card, I'll never know. Perhaps by the letter of the law it was, but in that case teams up and down the length of Albion would be down to 5 men by the end of most games. That odious prick Dean couldn't wait to get the card out, though. Thankfully for us, Szczesny came up trumps on the penalty, saving with his legs and then keeping the presence of mind to track the ball off the post and catch it before it could sneak over the line.

Our Polish stopper is one of the few out there who emphatically did not fit in with today's word of the day.

Back to Dean, fair play, he did send off Kompany for a vicious tackle on Jack Wilshere (who was fouled roughly 800 times by City on the day). But, by that point the visitors had enjoyed a man advantage for 66 minutes, and the game was effectively over.

Besides that, he never had control of this match...not for one minute. In a way though, I don't blame Dean - I blame the hierarchy that appoints him to matches that he clearly is not equipped for. I think it says everything that Mike Riley is in charge of the referees these days. He's the same guy as Dean - a bald, sniveling little troll that displayed little aptitude for his chosen profession.

Our home record:  We have lost at home in the league to Chelsea, Swansea and Manchester City to go along with draws with Sunderland and Fulham. That's not even counting the hideous capitulation on display when Schalke '04 came to town. In other words, we have taken 11 out of a possible 24 points from our home matches.

The defense...again: What can you say? Even if we had 11 men on the field, we probably would have lost by the exact same scoreline. The first goal came from everyone in red standing around like idiots while Manchester City took a free kick quickly. The resulting confusion left James Milner all the time and space he needed to lash an unstoppable shot past Szczesny and into the far corner.

The second started with a terrible giveaway from Kieran Gibbs, allowing Milner to cross in. Carlos Tevez should have scored, but Szczesny managed to keep him out at full stretch. The disorganization in our backline meant it was all in vain though, as Dzeko was left unmarked on the back post for the easiest tap-in he'll have in his career.

Same old, same old. Frankly, I don't believe this is a personnel issue, either. All of these guys (and many of those who came before) were solid-to-great defenders at their former clubs. They come to Arsenal, and they regress. Every time. Again, I believe this is down to the manager's insistence on not coaching the defensive side of the ball.

Manchester City:  Yes, least a little bit. Two seasons ago, they came to the Grove with 10 center halves and cowardly played for the 0-0. This wasn't that much different - had we been playing the red half of Manchester, we might easily have conceded in double digits. Their near neighbors were content to faff around the park once they took the 2-0 lead, barely troubling themselves to enter second gear.

Sure, you could argue for keeping something in reserve to bring out when the other mob is actually fighting back. But, those games where you massacre a good team by a clear 5 or 6 goals - those are the ones that other clubs remember when it comes time for them to be the opposition. Why do you think the same no-mark mid-table sides that give us everything we could ask for in turn lie down and die whenever United or Chelsea come to town?

Despite their callowness, at least City can say that they'll have something to play for this season. Us? We're too good (and there are too many dreadful sides) for us to be relegated...but don't think for one second that European football of any kind is guaranteed next season. If we don't get some reinforcements in (and we won't, because super super quality!!!!!!!!), then 8th place or so is not out of the question.

The Modern Gooner Player Ratings:

Szczesny 8, Gibbs 5, Vermaelen 5, Koscielny 4, Sagna 6, Wilshere 8, Diaby 6 (Ramsey 7), Podolski 5 (Giroud 5), Cazorla 5, Oxlade-Chamberlain N/A (Mertesacker 7), Walcott 5

Man of the Match:  Wojceich Szczesny deserves a lot of credit for his determined play in goal today, but I have to give the nod to Jack Wilshere. The young dynamo was the only player in red who provided any kind of attacking impetus, and he did so while getting kicked up in the air all day by a City team left with the freedom to do so by a feckless, incompetent referee.