Arsenal’s Title Challenge Ends With A Whimper. That Goal Was Definitely A Foul, Mind You…

Morning, boys ‘n’ girls.

How are you feeling today? Dejected? Forlorn? Thoroughly p*ssed off with just about everything to such an extent you drop-kicked a badger last night and set fire to your 1989 Anfield “I was in the away end” commemorative underpants?

Yeah… Me too.

I think the worst part of all is simply that it wasn’t a surprise. I’d hazard a guess even the most ardent and positive Arsenal fan didn’t truly believe the result would be anything other than a Chelsea victory. And that, as far as I’m concerned, is the biggest problem of all. Somehow we all knew we’d lose that game in a whimper of nothingness. We have a good squad, we have excellent players. Yet they can’t deliver when it counts and often seem unmotivated and lacking the drive to compete.

Perhaps that’s an easy assessment to make when you’re still angry at a defeat. We look for someone or something to blame instead of admitting we were beaten by a better team. Since the 3-0 reverse fixture at the Emirates, Chelsea have addressed problems and grown as a team. We haven’t done that in years. Whatever your thoughts on how the match panned out or the major incidents, it would take a deliriously optimistic supporter to state we deserved anything from Stamford Bridge other than a defeat.

Okay. The first goal was blatantly a foul. That’s near impossible to deny – although certain pundits seems to think it’s perfectly fine (Seriously, Thierry?!). You’d have to suffer with sh*t in your eyes and rocks in your head to think it wasn’t a foul. Here’s a great tweet I saw yesterday with a picture that really shows the contact on Bellerin before the ball:

Alonso lead with his elbow and flattened Bellerin before making contact with the ball. I wouldn’t say for a second it had any bearing on the final outcome of the match, but it sure as Hell didn’t help matters. I can certainly understand the level of frustration at another poor refereeing decision that has directly influenced the concession of a goal, but I don’t think that outrage is particularly well focused. Sure, it’s all kinds of wrong, but let’s be honest; Arsenal played poorly and can only really blame ourselves for the defeat.

Look at the defending for Chelsea’s 2nd and 3rd. Hazard waltzes through midfield, leaves Coquelin floundering on his arse and delights at the lack of challenges as he wanders into the penalty area and slots the ball home. And Cech’s assist for Fabregas? Well that just about summed up the whole day.

After the game, The Ox had these words to say:

“They took their chances – I think the first goal was a little bit unlucky on our part. They hit the crossbar and the bounce went for them. Alonso got the jump on Hector and that was 1-0. But we knew we were still in the game, and at half-time we said we had to keep going.
We came out in the second half and controlled spells of the game. They controlled spells but it was a great goal from Eden Hazard, which we should have stopped earlier at source. That was disappointing. Then a mistake at the end killed the game for us. Olivier got one back but at the end it was too late. At the top level, against a team like Chelsea, there’s a good chance they’ll punish you if you make mistakes and they did that today.”

At this point of the review, I’m struggling to know what to write. There’s nothing wrong with what Oxlade-Chamberlain says there. He’s absolutely right and very honest. However, it strikes me as a bit tiresome. You know – like when you apologise to your girlfriend for farting in bed. You’re saying all the right things, things she wants to hear. But you know full well you’ll be backing doing it again in a few days.

Meh…

I think it’s safe to say we’re done with the title for another season. 12 points is a huge gap at this stage and Chelsea show no signs of loosening their grip. It’s going to take a monumental change of fortune for anyone to catch them now, let alone us. That leaves us still in the two big cup competitions. We should beat Sutton United (I think I might consider moving to Canada should we lose that game as the online fallout will be nuclear) and we probably won’t beat Bayern in the Champions League over 2 legs.

I guess the overriding sensation behind this meandering dross is one of dejection. We should be doing better. We have all the resources at our disposal to make a challenge. We have a squad of talented players. Many will say sack the manager and let someone else come in and do better. My reply is always that I don’t see anyone better out there.

But maybe a change is exactly what we need. Change doesn’t mean all the problems we have will be solved, but at this point I think the board have to consider taking a risk. Our stability and consistency over Arsene’s tenure is undeniably impressive, but has it come without any real progression in the team? That’s debatable, but I do believe we have to consider the best thing for the future. Perhaps that is to take a chance on someone else.

Just like we took a chance of a unknown Frenchman all those years ago.

That’s all for today, folks. It was a shower of sh*t yesterday and it’s no fun writing about something like that. I’ll leave you today with a nod towards the comments section and await your thoughts.

I’ll be back soon with more. As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

9 Comments

  1. Christian

    Well I did predict 3-1. What I didn’t predict however was that it was our ass that’ll be whooped. I came here to lay blame on a few of our players who I felt should have done more but after reading your post I’ll just let it slide. That being said, had Santi not decided to do a ‘diaby’ and had Xhaka not decided to two-foot a player few games before this, and had Alonso not flown into Hector, Elbow first, knocking him out cold, maybe, just maybe we would have had a chance. I hate to complain but right now that’s all I’ve got. Any little hope we had of winning the title is pretty much over. Anyone who thinks other wise either just got their brain stir-fried or needs to be poked in the eye just to bring them back to reality. If I were the boss I’ll concentrate on finishing in the top four and turn the barrel of our canon to the FA cup as that’s our only realistic chance of silverware this season

    Reply
    1. Spectrum

      If you were the boss, you’d have resigned long ago.

      ” In Arsene we rust.”

      Reply
  2. Spectrum
  3. Richard St.Michaels-Ojei

    Okay…Well said.For the first goal I blame Theo for not tracking back.That s**t face Alonso was left in a world of his own.I also blame Monreal.The first two goals came from his flank.When he makes a run on the flanks,he finds it very difficult to track back as soon as we lose possession. He truly lacks pace ,same for coquelin.Very shameful from the French guy.You don’t expect an Ozil to perform when the midfield pairing is absolutely woeful against a quick and physical Chelsea midfield. There was a major disconnect between the midfield and the final third.Sanchez was completely jaded.On the issue of Wenger resigning or leaving at the end of the season,the question really is as Arsenal fans are we really ready for a change in the dugout?Are we ready for the consequence.

    Reply
  4. Spectrum

    “…are we really ready for a change in the dugout ? Are we ready for the consequence…..”

    Oh F.F.S. ! What ARE you afraid of ? That we might actually WIN SOMETHING if Wenger goes ? What a weak, complacent statement to make. Thirteen years of mediocrity, embarassing failures, and the highest paid manager in Europe, if not the world, who has no pressure on him to do better than to finish top four – only to get knocked out of the Champions League early on. It’s happened for the last six seasons in a row !

    All our rivals have changed managers because they have AMBITION. Conte has only been with Chelsea for less than a season, and he’s already wrapped up the league title. Look how well Pocchettino is doing for Spurs- he’s transformed them ! Even lowly Leicester – who are NOT one of our rivals, won it under Ranieri. And – remember – they have only a fraction of the money and resources Arsenal have.Yet Wenger can’t do so, no matter how many teams he builds.

    And you’re not ready for a change ??? You would rather keep a serial failure of a manager than take a risk. What have we got to lose ? We can’t do much worse than what we are doing already. If you haven’t read the link to the onlinegooner article I provided above, PLEASE do so. If you have, and you still think there is no-one that can do a better job, then you need mental help.

    ” In Arsene we rust.”

    Reply
    1. Christian

      Do we need a change in the dug out? I’ll agree with you and say yes. We’ll never know what the club will look like if wenger leaves, if we’ll do better or worse but we can’t continue living in the fear that when he leaves the club will crumble. On the other hand however, I can’t agree with you calling him a failure. I’m not going to state reasons why cos I know you’ve heard them over and over again. I love and respect the man and I believe this club will never have risen to this hight if not for him but maybe it’s time for him to take a bow

      Reply
      1. Spectrum

        Christian – Even though of us who want him out, acknowledge and appreciate what he did for us IN THE FIRST HALF of his tenure here. That goes without saying. But that was THIRTEEN years ago !!! We have to prioritise pragmatism over sentimentality.

        We cannot go on living off past glories with a manager who is now a pale imitation of what he used to be. We cannot keep extending him unlimited credit while the other clubs pass us by. His last ten years at least, HAVE been a failure. He should have gone about seven years ago in my estimation. It’s the mindless A.K.B.’s who are afraid of change and adore him more than they have ambitions for the club itself. THEY are the problem.

        Did you read the article I linked to above ? When you do, you have to concede that it’s way beyond time for him to go.

        ” In Arsene we rust.”

        Reply
        1. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

          @Spetrum: I wouldn’t say 2 FA Cup wins in those past 10 years is failure, nor is the consistency with which we finish in the league. But I do agree we, as fans, have every right to expect a little better. We want a title challenge and are rightly upset when it continues to fail. I’m somewhere between the two extreme – those god awful initialisms/acronyms – and I genuinely don’t know how I’d feel if he left – I’d guess I’d be somewhere between excitement at a new future and sadness that a man who accomplished so much hasn’t gone out on a high note.

          Reply
      2. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

        @Christian: Totally agree. Well put.

        Reply

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