Where to start, huh?
Saying that things “didn’t exactly go as planned” might be the biggest understatement in recent times. With the well-documented run of tough fixtures heading our way, it was considered crucial to get things off to a good start; to lay down a marker of intent and strike fear into opponents, making even the most snide of media pundit finally sit up and take notice.
Arsenal did a fantastic job of taking that concept and doing the complete opposite. Even now as I’m typing, words are failing me. Knowing how to explain such a monumental failure is a tricky thing. There isn’t much you can put it down to other than an off day, which almost sounds like a cheap excuse. I know some are angry; some wish for heads to roll and those responsible to be subjected to horrendous tortures in very public places. Players have been singled out and mercilessly ripped to shreds by people with zero playing time as a professional footballer.
I find all that kind of stuff tiresome. All the factions have re-emerged, our fan group is bickering and abusing itself. All because we lost an important match and there’s a need to find someone – anyone – to pin the blame on as if somehow that will make everything better.
Me, I’m just going to say that on the day we were simply relentlessly sh*t. From the moment the game kicked off until it was brought to its shambolic end, Arsenal were f**king appalling. There is no nice way to put it; no player exempt from the statement – we were sh*t on the day and Liverpool beat us convincingly and deservedly so.
It’s done now. No amount of analysing will change that. Searching for the reasons for such a poor performance and scapegoats to lambast is an exercise in futility. Those things are of little concern to me. What is of great concern is how we go ahead from here and the manner in which the players react. Such a feeble display and comprehensive defeat might do us a world of good – bare with me here, folks.
In recent weeks results have come our way, but the team hasn’t been putting in a good shift. We somehow managed to climb to the top of the table by only briefly showing what we are capable of and doing just about enough the rest of the time. At risk of sounding a touch like a doom merchant, a result like yesterday has been coming. We need an enormous kick up the backside, and perhaps that will be exactly how the players take it.
Losing to Liverpool is not how we wanted to start the “Run of Death’ and there’s a chance we now find ourselves tumbling unstoppably down the spiralling staircase toward mediocrity. Unless we take our medicine and learn from it. The only positive I’ve gleaned from yesterday is that no one has made excuses. All concerned have stood up and admitted how poor they were and that we have to regroup and move ahead. The players have taken to Twitter to confess their ineptitudes on the day and Arsene isn’t glossing over any cracks:
“What is important is that we respond to that result, especially respond with a different performance because our performance overall was poor,
“On the concentration level, on pace, on defensive stability, it was very poor and we always looked vulnerable.
“If you concede two early goals from set-pieces then you are in a position where you always have to come out.
“I just think the whole team have failed to turn up with the right performance. We know that you need to be better focused at this kind of level.
“Overall our performance was just not good enough and I include myself in that performance.
We’ve faced adversity this season with losses to Villa and Man City and we’ve managed to put together a run of results afterwards. We now face our sternest test of the; to put our title challenge back on track and get back to wining ways against some of the very best. It’s not going to be easy. If we play like we did at Anfield we’re in for an excruciating few weeks of unbearable misery. However, if we take our punches like men and react, start playing like we know we can, and come together as a unit then there’s still a chance we can come through this.
I’m not saying we will. Being positive right now isn’t easy, especially at a time where supporters have every right to be super critical. I’m just trying to look at what’s ahead and put the disappointment to the back of my mind. We are still in the title race, the FA Cup and the Champions League. As valuable as they might be, we only lost 3 points yesterday.
Arsenal have taken part in a battle and had their arses handed to them. Of that there can be no doubt. What matters now is how we approach the remainder of the war. We can whimper into the abyss or come out fighting and let the chips fall where they may.
Over to you, Arsenal.
That’s all for today folks. The comments await below, so why not share a few of your thoughts on the game. Do you think it’s a dagger through the heart of our season or is there still legitimate reason for hope? Let me know.
As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.