Football. You miserable beast.
What a day on Sunday. Met up with my Arsenal family. Had some good time beers. Headed to the game brimming with positivity.
Realities of the season kicked in.
Now, I want to temper this with a dose of reality. I think that was a blip. I don’t think that’s representative of who Arsenal are. I’d imagine we’ll go on a long run of winning games now.
What the game did represent is that nagging feeling that Wenger has lost his ability to keep a team focused for a whole season. I know Chelsea were poor. But I just felt that sort of game is always in Wenger’s repertoire. Players shouldn’t be heading into a game with a focus so weak. You just didn’t get that feeling of invincibility looking at that line up.
You kind of feel Mourinho instills a level of fear that means players dare not drop their work rate or standards. I’m not sure I felt an urgency against West Ham. A few stray passes and it fell to pieces. The customary…
‘We’ll bounce back’ headline in The Evening Standard.
I mean, you have to counter that by saying that Petr Cech probably won’t drop clangers like that again. But I don’t think anyone who has watched Wenger teams over the last ten years could say there were any doubts that we’d not play like that again.
People highlighting that West Ham were playing competitive games before us. I mean, sure, against awful teams. I just don’t think there’s an excuse for that sort of performance in front of a buzzing home crowd. West Ham were better than us. That’s not acceptable.
I also think some other points that have been bandied around made sense.
Our midfield needs more balance. You can’t have everyone trying to Ozil. What was amazing about that line up is the lack of chances created. We needed more direct in there.
Our striking issues are pretty glaring. I appreciate there was early season rust, but when you’re not hitting the target from 8 yards, it really does push the point that we’re struggling.
Like I said, I still expect us to challenge this season, I just worry that when it comes to the crunch, we’ll always fold.
Fingers crossed that performance kicks the manager into adding a couple more before the start of the season.