What a rollercoaster of a season we’re having. One minute we’re celebrating the rebirth of The Arsenal, the next we’re slapped back to reality with a latter years Wenger-esque performance at home to a newly promoted team.
Thanks to some second-half substitution wizardry, Arsenal pulled an equaliser out the bag late on. Mikhi fizzed a dangerous cross across the box, it ghosted about ten players and slipped fortuitously in at the back post unchallenged. It was a dirty goal, but hey, I’ll continue to pay my respects to the very fine Lady Luck who continues to shine brightly over the Emery tenure.
The frustration of the afternoon is that you can fully accept that we’re going to have tough games, we’re not always going to be at the races, but ideally, we should be winning that 1-0. Not drawing because of another sloppy unforced error. I wasn’t overly surprised that the error came from Xhaka. Just last week, the footballing sages of the internet were crowing over his newly anointed mainstream acceptance, that after a solid 90 minutes, he was here. The player who, according to some, had always been here, you were just too fucking stupid to see it. Well, it didn’t take long for the high to get mowed down by the buzz kill police, the Swiss allowed a pass to run past him, Wolves capitalised ruthlessly and put themselves a goal up early on 13 minutes. That’s the 4th Premier League game in a row we’ve conceded first in.
It was hard to say they weren’t worthy of the win. Wolves were lively to our press and exploiting us with quick counters all game. They were first to every ball, they looked hungry and they weren’t intimidated. You can’t blame the Thursday game, because only 3 players were involved. We just didn’t have a good attitude. The players had no urgency about their play, and we looked very disjointed.
We’ve been riding our luck all season, and it’s going to be really difficult to escape the fact that there’s still a lot of work to do with that squad. Mustafi is ridden with errors, I’m surprised that a coach who has high standards for accountability persists with him. Xhaka is simply not good enough, it doesn’t matter how hard usual suspects push his elevated xWhatever stats, he’s too slow and he’s still making regular rookie mistakes. Being good at one thing will never counter for being a total donut twice a game. He is the new Wenger and it’s not surprising it’s the same fanboys who love him. I was very hopeful with the Mikhi signing, but even with the goal, he’s simply not offering us £170k worth of value at the moment.
I actually had to come back to the post because Ozil was so annonymous, I forgot he even played. I think it’s becoming more and more apparent that having two deeplying midfielders is never going to make up for having a uninterested number 10 in front of you. We need to find someone who can defend and give up the dream of being the only club in the world rocking a #10 from 10 years ago.
Iwobi is very up and down. It was quite the rebuke to be yanked off at halftime and get replaced by Guendouzi. We desperately lack real width. Auba isn’t a left winger, Iwobi isn’t good for us on the right, when those two play poorly, they stink out the house. I’d love Reiss Nelson to play out the season with Hoffenheim, but the form he’s in, and the lack of real width we have, shouldn’t he be here starting every week in January? Maybe that’s knee-jerk, but it’s not often a talent blows up like that, and we really are desperate. The fans will give him time as well. Perfect solution.
On the positive side of things, Bernd Leno had an exceptional game. He was off his line nice and quick, his distribution is smart and his shot stopping really is a level up from anything we’ve seen at Arsenal for many years. Still needs to work on his command of his box from crosses, but hopefully that’ll come with experience.
Also, we can’t be too harsh. We took something from our worst performance under Emery. My concern, as it has been all season, the luck will run out. The corrections will arrive. It might not be very pretty.
The club don’t want to splash in January, so one would assume this is it for the rest of the season. Top four is still our stretch target, and it appears that is going to be incredibly important because we need some major surgery on the squad, and we’re not going to be able to do that unless we have the stream of money the biggest prize in football gives you.
Right, that’s me done, see you in the comments.