The title is the driving force behind our season. A title win is what would signal progress from back to back FA Cup wins. It’s what we’ve been gearing up for all summer and something that is undeniably Wengers’ focus this season. Why then did we turn up as we did vs one of the worst United sides I can recall. I feel like I’ve said this before, last season for sure and yet we still contrive to make them look good. It was easily one of the worst Arsenal V United games I’ve seen in recent history – United were poor, but we were comprehensively worse. We turned up with a team that was more than capable of winning any football match. The 2 big changes being Walcott for Giroud and Gabriel for Mertesacker. Granted Giroud hasn’t been in goalscoring touch and nor has Mertesacker covered himself in glory recently but the usual Twitter culprits then claimed the manager was at fault for he made the changes that they all long for. Now don’t get me wrong, the blame for the result lies both with the manager as well as the players. The manager because he hadn’t been able to motivate them to start appropriately and the players because none of them took any amount of responsibility for the duration of the game. Alexis looked lost, Walcott was diabolical and a combination of him and Gabriel were at fault for goal 1 as well as Gabriel being a non entity for goal 2. Simply not good enough but I’m not quite sure what, if anything, could have been done differently. Yes we could have played Mertesacker and Giroud but the fundamental problem lies at he base of our midfield. Ramsey clearly isn’t suited to our style of play right there at the moment and it’s been apparent for some time. Why it’s been a persistent go to strategy is bizarre. In Elneny we have a midfielder who might provide something different and I’m baffled as to why a combination of Elneny, Coquelin and Ramsey from the right hasn’t been tried. It’s conservative, sure, but it’s also something that could address our lack of a base in our midfield.
In any case our midfield was the issue throughout. We weren’t able to get a foothold in the game and this is where we notice the absence of Santi Cazorla. I fear he may come back at a stage when it’s too late but we need now to do everything in our power to get 6/6 points from the next 2 fixtures. In the lead up to the game I thought that a point wouldn’t be too bad, but on having seen their squad it was a must win. It was an opportunity to get some bonus points. The reality is that we hadn’t won a league game there since 2006 and a draw against a full United squad would have been acceptable for the bigger picture. But the fact that we knew both Rooney and Martial were missing along with key men at the back it was an opportunity. It seems that whenever we are presented with such an opportunity we balls it up spectacularly. There were only a couple of players you could say we’re worthy of the shirt and you could count them on a single hand. Ozil and Welbeck the only ones I felt made any effort to look like they wanted it. Other than those two we looked so short of energy, desire, conviction and ideas. After seeing both Leicester and Sp*rs win they were expected to the damage isn’t terminal. We’re a point behind where would be ideal, but we’ve now arrived at a juncture where other teams results are of irrelevance. They are irrelevant purely because we need to rectify the shit we are chucking up week in week out. We must win against Swansea and we now absolutely must win against Sp*rs. I can’t see the latter happening right now but right now I’m hugely depressed so that may have something to do with it. With the Hammers hosting Sp*rs, Liverpool hosting City we can make amends for this atrocity. But as I said, it’s about us winning first and worrying about the others afterwards. The way in which we’ve bottled these situations over the season is worrying and I question whether we have the mettle to get the job done. A big few weeks ahead.
There’s not much more to say other than if Sp*rs or Leicester end up winning the league we may see a pretty sad anti climax to the Wenger era. It would be a horrible way for him to go but a title win for either of those clubs with their resources and policies – we would have no excuses about the money clubs outspending us. It would fall firmly on the manager. This sort of end with no big names around or available makes for a precarious future. It is all the more important for the club to win silverware this year, and the it does feel like if it’s not the Premier League it’s curtains for the manager. Although the only thing that could save him for not winning the title is if City were able to do it. The whole notion of not winning it this year makes me physically ill so I can’t think about that right now. But one thing that has to change on our part as a club and this goes throughout the club is the arrogance to which we approach games. That we will just win them without question. Fans being this way is one thing, but it looks as though the players have bought into the fact that lesser teams will just roll over. We must earn the right to play. Earn the right to blitz teams off the park. It’s the hard work that is missing in some areas of the team. When that application is there we will get back to winning ways for sure. The talent is there it’s the hard work that’s missing.
Dealing in anything less than wins from here on in will be a disaster.
Try and have a good week folks. Hopefully 3 midweek points will aid that.
Follow me on Twitter @MiteshLakhani1.