Afternoon Gooners. As you may remember, last week I talked about Sod’s law and how Arsenal had the opportunity and ability to take charge in their forthcoming crunch matches and throw Sod’s law back into their rivals’ faces.
And what did we get?! Utter humiliation against Liverpool. Now, I watched Liverpool tear into their high-flying cross-city rivals the other week and thought that if they took the same approach in their other home games, then very few teams could resist such attacking verve. Arsenal lasted 58 seconds. Quite why the team failed to adapt to such opposition tactics or why the manager hadn’t seemed to have planned for it is an utter mystery to me.
The damage done, the lead position in the table surrendered, the opportunity to exorcise the Anfield massacre and indeed past maulings against Manchester United presented itself on Wednesday. David Moyes’ side are a shell of their former-selves and if ever there was a time to hand out punishment, this was it…
0-0. A welcome cleansheet but yet another mis-firing attacking display. The folly of last summer’s Benny Hill chasing of Gonzalo Higuian, Luis Suarez and Demba Ba highlighted over 90 minutes. For all of Olivier Giroud’s qualities, he just isn’t capable enough to lead the line against the better club sides.
Lukas Podolski ignored as Arsenal’s attackers on the pitch flattered to deceive. It is as clear as day that the popular German’s time at Arsenal is running out, despite him demonstrating time and time again that he is the best finisher at the club.
“Nervous” – how Arsene Wenger described the team’s non-performance. The same team whose mental strength is continually lauded. Why can’t this team stand up and be counted against rivals? Thrashings against Manchester City and Liverpool, a non-start against Manchester United; despite arriving at Old Trafford in fine form and now two nervy, misfiring performances against Chelsea and Manchester United at home. Very poor indeed. Flat track bullies?!
What will Sunday hold? Sadly and maybe unforgivably I think Liverpool may just hand out some more punishment. After several seasons of watching campaigns collapsing before March, this week has all the hallmarks of a typical Arsenal collapse. I hope I am wrong: I have loved the ride this season after THAT Aston Villa game. But the indecision in the transfer windows will cost.
I think this will be a ‘what if…’ season to rival 2008-9. After Chelsea’s little pony slipped up in the Midlands, Arsenal had an opportunity handed to them. It wasn’t taken. That pile of money banked away certainly isn’t winning points on the pitch.
And, to add to the happiness, it would seem that Bacary Sagna is off in the summer. Will he be replaced with quality?!
Arsenal have really missed Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott since their injuries. Their goals and directness are vital and Mesut Ozil needs them as outlets for his visionary passing. But has Mathieu Flamini’s stupidity on the South Coast proved as costly?! Arsenal were nervy against Crystal Palace, thrashed at Anfield and nervy on Wednesday. He has been the key to Arsenal’s more carefree attacking approach play this season…without him…do the team trust Mikel Arteta to do the same job?
Arsene Wenger will sacrifice the FA Cup in order to have a crack at Bayern Munich. I think this will prove to be folly, but we shall see…
Sorry to be so negative, but I have “what if…what if..?!” Swirling around my mind…and have done since the transfer window shut last month…will the team have a better chance again? I would be delighted if Arsenal improved on fourth place…but an FA Cup in the trophy cabinet would be superb. A platform to really build on. A confidence booster for players and fans alike.
Up The Arsenal and I hope I am utterly proven wrong.