Ok, 1 point. It’s a start.
The Southampton game followed the same pattern as the Burnley one. Average first half, strong start to the second, a self-inflicted wound… but at least we earned something out of this.
The new reality is this: Getting out of the hole we’re in isn’t going to be a flukey goal and 10 wins on the bounce. It’s going to be something slower and more painful.
Why? Well, the whole squad is shot to pieces confidence-wise and the overall character of the players, in most cases, is a long way from elite.
At this stage, you have to accept the positives when they land. That game unravelled because our players are a bit dim. Gabriel, who has been shit for quite a while, dropped a horrendous mistake after getting booked. It deserves its own paragraph.
Theo Walcott leant into Gabriel on the halfway line, grabbing him. Gabriel fell for the bait and pulled him down… like one of the worst forwards I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching was capable of turning him on the halfway line and scoring.
Honestly. Doughnut 101 behaviour. How do you coach that?
You can be angry about the performance and that’s fair. You can decry a point when we needed three, and that’d be fair. But for me, we’re in crisis and you have to take the joy where you can. A point right now is like the cracker in the desert. Enjoy it and hope something better is coming.
There were positives. The team didn’t crash after we went down to 10 men. Why does that matter? It shows we’re not at Emery levels of performances. There’s some hope there.
Auba scored a goal. He was shit for most of the game, but he didn’t give up, and the finish was painfully telegraphed, but perfect for a man on the edge.
Saka didn’t stop fighting despite having a poor game by his standards. His battling run to set up the goal was superb, he was thrashed all over the place, he stayed on his feet and gave Eddie the chance to play in our beleaguered striker to equalise.
Ainsley needs to start all our games going forward. Put him in midfield. Joe Willock might not be the finished product, but he can run and cause problems. Let’s see some more of ESR. He ‘could’ be better than Lacazette who doesn’t know how to be a #10. The line up might not have produced gold, but it was a new 11, let’s see how they play if the faith is repaid when people come back from suspensions and being dropped.
The takeaway for me was that if we’d kept 11 players on the pitch, we might have done something. We were more daring, the team was starting to show signs of life, and we were creating chances.
The brief has changed. It’s survival now. We need to power through December and try and put some points on the board. Top 4 is a distant memory. We just need to get to 40 points. A shocking shift of expectations, but that’s where we are. But the reality is this: Who is getting more out of these players? Might as well see it out and see if we can start to climb.
January is huge. He needs to shift on the bums. He needs to find some creative players. He needs to start the slow and painful shift towards the new era. The real work starts now and I fear the season is going to be quite grim. We won’t be relegated, but the best we can now hope for seems to be mid-table.
Some of that is on Arteta for not scrubbing the decks of the wasters, but part of this is simply because there has been no coherent strategy for 10 years and we’re paying the price.
This is grim. I am sad. You are also sad. But we have to hit rock bottom to find the next step in the process.
Here are my reccos:
- Survive December
- Clear out the wasters
- Find a couple of creative players on loan that have something to prove
- Blood the youngsters
Wipe your tears, let’s see what the weekend holds. Onwards!