I’m feeling a touch delicate this morning. It’s hovering around freezing point in the sunny South West and I’ve just been out for a 6 mile bike ride. My weary bones… I think my youthful days are long behind me now and as I get older, I begin to feel more and more like Samuel L. Jackson’s character in Unbreakable – the slightest over-exertion and I shatter into a million tiny pieces.
Whilst I was riding around, I pondered today’s topic and I eventually figured to myself,
“Why not try one of those sh*tty click-bait posts in which there is promise of a numerical list of incredible insights?”
Why not, indeed.
So, without further ado – cue drumroll – I present to you, the delicious reader, a jarringly insightful list of 5 reasons why Arsenal lost to Spurs at the weekend. And yes – you won’t believe No4, but I can assure you my sources within Arsenal are very accurate I wouldn’t ever willingly post anything mendacious.
No1: Defending as a team
This won’t come as much of a surprise, but Arsenal can’t really defend very well. When you consider we have a goals conceded record on par with some of the teams threatened by relegation, you have all the proof you need. I don’t pretend to be a tactical mastermind, but I get the impressions Arsene favours offering his players freedom to express themselves over a structured defence. More often than not, players bomb forward in attack and leave those behind them exposed.
It’s frustrating, because at times this season – Chelsea away – we’ve looked very solid and defended as a team. However, there are gaping holes right through either flank and the middle. Spurs created several glorious chances at Wembley and we can consider our selves lucky the score wasn’t higher. I dread to think what might have happened had David Ospina started the game…
No2: Fluency in attack
Ordinarily, our strongest point. With the additions of Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan, we’re now an even greater attacking force, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. As fluent and slick as the forward line was against Everton, it was off-key and ineffective against Spurs.
No3: Odd managerial choices
I know, I know – it’s not considered apt to second guess Arsene Wenger when my managerial experience extends to a few decent seasons on Championship Manager back in 2001. But, sometimes he does things I find utterly baffling.
The decision to start Elneny made total sense as he’s probably the only midfielder left in the squad happy to sit in front of our defence and stay there. He’s not the flashiest, but he is disciplined and a team player and currently a far better option than Xhaka. The introduction of Lacazette when we were chasing the game made as much sense, but shunting Aubameyang to the left wing in order to accommodate the switch made little or no sense at all. Surely, you play 2 central strikers as a pair? Moving one to a position in which he isn’t particularly good only weakens the attack.
It’s very much hindsight, but would Aubameyang have finished either of Lacazette’s chances had he been in the central areas? Probably.
No4: Breakfast cereal dissent
It’s been well documented that Arsene Wenger controls most things at Arsenal. From the line-up to the shower gel on offer in the staff changing rooms, his input is always required. Alas, this often causes rifts and dissatisfaction. My sources inform me that Hector Bellerin was apoplectic hours before kick off when Wenger confiscated his Frosties and insisted he only eat plain porridge.
Bellerin is famed for his extravagant and flamboyant taste is breakfast cereal – often spending thousands to import brands from America with the highest sugar count. Only last August he was fined 2 weeks wages for filling the changing room bath with Lucky Charms and putting on an incredibly offensive Irish accent.
In order to re-establish command, Wenger has dispatched a ninja to track Bellerin’s movement and stike a fatal blow if any non-regulation sugary cereals appear. Obviously, this hasn’t gone down well with some of his teammates who think it’s is a little too far and bordering on madness. There was alleged to have been an instance close to mutiny before the game involving Jack Wilshere and a cutlass which doesn’t exactly help matters before facing the old enemy.
No5: Players lacking confidence
It’s fair to say, a happy and confident Alexandre Lacazette would have buried either of the two chances he got at Wembley. He didn’t and it’s clear all is not well in his head. Whether it’s the arrival of another striker to compete for his place or the fact he’s been on the receiving end of some pretty vile and childish abuse from people supposed to be Arsenal fans, I don’t think he wants to be at here at the moment.
The main reason, in my opinion, is he doesn’t have confidence because of his manager. When you consider he’s been ‘dropped’ for two of our biggest away fixtures and we’ve invested a record fee in another centre forward mere months after doing the same with him, I can’t say I blame Lacazette at all for not feeling he has his manager’s support.
Maybe he hasn’t settled in London and a new environment; maybe he didn’t consider the Premiership is far tougher than Ligue1; maybe he just doesn’t fancy it at Arsenal. There are lots of ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’ involved. But I get the impression he wasn’t really a signing Arsene 100% wanted. I have no proof and immediately concede that could be absolutely incorrect, but it’s just a hunch I have.
And that’s all for today, folks. Why not head to the comments section and let me know your thoughts?
I’ll return tomorrow with more.
Until that time, and as always: thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.
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