If you’ve come here today looking to be cheered up, I’d advise leaving. If you read my blog after West Ham last week, you know where this is going.
I closed that blog by saying:
“The question you have to ask though is why is it against the ‘smaller’ teams at home that we always seem to have ‘one of those days’ and what can be done to adjust the mental defect in our first team players who believe they can coast through games like this at 60% despite being shown otherwise on numerous occasions?
It didn’t cost us today. Don’t bet on that always being the case.”
I got a lot of abuse for that blog coming, as it did on the back of claiming three points. But it was clear then that there is an issue with this team, I just wasn’t blinded to it by the points.
Today it cost us, and how.
To lose to one promoted team at home can be described as unlucky, as ‘one of those days,’ to lose to two is indicative of a far deeper problem and it is one that is going to consume this team of incredibly talented individuals leaving them with nothing but feelings of insecurity and inadequacy.
I fucking hate November, it’s a miserable month that should be purged from the calendar, no good ever came from anything done in November and it would be easy to blame the calendar gods who think it’s freaking hilarious to watch us suffer through 30 days of miserable weather and piss poor performances. Har fucking har.
But we should have seen it coming. We started the match like we were out for a gentle Sunday stroll and I think there were at least five minutes on the clock before we’d even managed to string a few passes together. Then we did manage to get it together and ended the first half with 72% possession. And one goal down.
We can’t hide behind injuries (although an argument can be made for the fact that we are rotating far too many players for one reason or another especially when Wenger himself has said he doesn’t like to change more than one or two players from game to game if possible). We had the strongest bench we’ve had in about 500 years but what Van Persie was doing on that pitch with only two full training sessions under his built since August I will never know. What madness overtook Wenger when he pulled Jack from the pitch is beyond me. If he was not feeling the effect of Joey Barton’s studs then I don’t know what Wenger was thinking – Jack was by far our best player (closely followed by Sami who was withdrawn because of injury) and was the only player who refused to stop chasing, harrying and was driving us forward. He was also able to find a pass, something Cesc struggled to do for the entire match.
Theo was anonymous apart from one effort which did, to be fair, crack the bar. But we need more than that. Chamakh looked off the pace. Song was in pretty decent form but all the wayward passes from Cesc was making his job neigh-on impossible. At the back you were just as likely to find Clichy closing down in the centre-forward position than at the left-back while Sagna wasn’t his usual solid self with players getting past him all too easily. Until the red card I thought Kos had done most things right and Squillaci showed a grit and determination the rest of the team could have done with. Fabianski, yes, he made a mistake. That happens to goalkeepers, I won’t slate him for it, there are other, more pressing issues to be addressed.
The time-wasting from Newcastle was a disgrace, but not entirely unexpected and not the reason we lost this game, far from it. We were sloppy in possession, Cesc the main culprit, and, as tends to be the case when we lose, a single individual error cost us the points. Let’s be clear, Newcastle offered nothing going forward but they gratefully accepted yet another Arsenal gift. To compound matters Kos got himself sent off for the second time this season and while Mike Dean is generally a cnut I’m not going to argue. That sort of ending was always on the cards.
Where do we go from here? We have the talent. We have the fitness. What we don’t seem to have is the hunger. The few players that did have that today – Nasri and Jack – were substituted for various reasons (was Jack’s tactical or was he injured?) and while Arshavin did his best to claim some points on his own, it was too much for one man. Is it time to concede that we just don’t have what it takes mentally? What else can it be? The talent is there, of that there is no doubt, but when the chips are down there are too few players in that side that want to win at any cost.
So what now? November rumbles on and next up is Wolves away, not an easy match by any stretch. The good thing is that we only have a few days to sit with this defeat before we play again. May I suggest Wenger spend those days sewing electrical shock devices in to the shorts of the players. Maybe that will motivate their complacent arses in to actually giving a fuck.
Well, we can but hope eh?
RT @Orbinho: Cesc Fabregas has created 4.4 goalscoring chances per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season, more than any other player.
RT @Orbinho: Arshavin being dropped means no Arsenal player has started all 11 Premier League games this season – the only team with no ever present.
RT @Orbinho: Six teams have conceded fewer shots on target than Arsenal in the Premier League this season, including Newcastle (the fewest).
RT @YoungGunsBlog: David Pleat barks ‘Newcastle have dominated possession’. 30 seconds after a graphic showing Arsenal have had 63% percent appears on screen.
RT @YankeeGunner: Brilliant commentary, Ukraine has just been returned to the soviet union as commentator discusses our loss to the “Russian side” in midweek
RT @Orbinho: Cesc completed 67% of passes so far, the lowest of any Arsenal player.
RT @Orbinho: In 30 minutes of the second half, Arsenal have managed two shots.
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