Not the best of moods around the Arsenal community, is there? Understandably so.
Defeat is something I find easier to take if I know Arsenal have given everything. It still hurts, it still upsets me, but there isn’t any shame in losing to a better team on the day if you’ve given your all.
Yesterday we didn’t do that. The 11 players on the pitch faced one of our oldest rivals with our ex-capatin – who we knew would bloody score – in their ranks. The ingredients for motivation and desire couldn’t be any more apparent. Yet those 11 players didn’t perform, and they showed little or no sign of urgency or the will to take control.
That worries me no end. There is a malaise at Arsenal for all the world to see – something is fundamentally wrong at the club, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to dismiss that as momentary blip. Our last 3 league games have been woeful and our cup victory, for all it’s remarkable comebacks, still involved a defence reasonably high in the pecking order shipping 5 goals at Reading.
There are a lot of folks out there who continue to back our manager without fail, and refuse to put anything but positivity in their remarks. I admire those people, I really do – I admire their unwavering allegiance to the club and manager. However, I feel they are absolutely wrong.
Something has to change at Arsenal. For every brief period of hope we are given, there is an inevitable slide back to the reality of our team simply being not good enough to compete. Yesterday, we gave United little to worry about. I can’t recall the last time we played them and gave them a proper game.
Is Arsene Wenger to blame for selling our best players every summer? Perhaps. Is he to blame for the manner of the teams performances? Unquestionably. Can you blame him for a terrible selction yesterday? Yes, he is absolutely accountable.
Why was Andre Santos in the team? It was excruciatingly evident that he was a weak link and would be targeted, and United did that at every opportunity. He may be a character, he may make us smile, but so was Eboue, and I’ve had enough of players like that in the team. How can he swap shirts with van Persie at half-time? I don’t care how chummy they might have been, for those 90 minutes, Robin was an enemy to every Arsenal player out there, and should have been treated that way.
Only Cazorla and Wilshere looked remotely like they wanted to get a result, the rest appeared to tread on eggshells and adopt the mentality of, “let’s not let in 8 this time”. Vermaelen, as brilliant as he is, has looked a shadow of his former self in recent weeks, and he was all over the place when he should be the one balling instructions and setting an example.
In attack we looked weak, toothless and bereft of any ideas. Podolski and Giroud barely featured at all, and when the game was crying out for an injection of pace, Wenger decided he would play Aaron Ramsey on the right of the attacking three – a selection that baffles me. I don’t like to get on Ramsey’s back. He regularly and unfairly is singled out by a lot of fans. He gets moronic abuse for little or no reason and his confidence is low. Why play him there when Theo is a much greater threat? It’s not Aaron’s position, and it’s unfair to expect him to offer what that area of the field requires.
To summersie; I’m angry. I can take United were the better team, and they deserved to win by a greater margin. What I cannot accept is the lack of fight. It took until injury-time to register a shot on goal. At one point, Arsenal’s fantastic away support gave a 15-minute-long rendition of, “We love you Arsenal, we do”. Even over the commentary on 5Live, and during a busy kitchen service, hearing that made my hair stand on end. It inspired me. How can that not effect the players?
I look at the club I love at present, and I despair. The same tiresome problems are there. I don’t pretend to know what needs to be done, but I do know this; without significant change, without action, there will be no relenting of those problems.
That’s all for today. The comments eagerly await your views and thoughts. Let’s be having a few of them. Thanks for reading today, you beautiful people. I shall return tomorrow.