It’s two defeats. In a row. By rights, to the more optimistic amongst us, it shouldn’t feel as bad as it does, but it’s more than that. Losing to Norwich and Schalke in the way that we did is indicative of a deeper problem, one our decent start to the season was supposed to have put to bed. This was supposed to be a new season, a new defence and a new attitude but instead, what we’ve been served in the last two games is, well, simply more of the same and patience has been stretched to breaking point.
Schalke are a very good side, but they weren’t at their best last night. The reason Arsenal lost was not so much to do with them but, once again, ourselves and our ability to not so much shoot ourselves in the foot as to blow it off then use it to beat ourselves repeatedly around the head with it.
I’m not one of those who think that Andre Santos is the worst fullback in the world, but last night he was simply atrocious. He received no help, that’s for sure, left isolated, finding himself against two, sometimes three Schalke players and the fact that around two thirds of their attacks came down his flank in the first half (I didn’t see the second half stats) shows that they knew that’s where our week link lay.
Up front we were as toothless as we’ve been in my recent memory. One shot on target and that came in the last minute from a seventeen year old sub who was reading from a different script than the rest of the team. We’ve had fewer shots than any other team in the Champions League this season, and while our defence will always concern us, to see an Arsene Wenger team unable to create chances is even more worrying.
Gervinho played as if he’d never met a football before, completing not one of his dribbles, and while Cazorla tried to do it all himself, eventually that got too much even for him. I could go through the whole team, but, quite frankly, it’s depressing. Vermaelen and his rash tackles, Ramsey and his back flicks, Podolski and his supposed ankle injury, corners, crossing, empty boxes, and clueless minds.
After the match Steve Bould spoke about the side being ‘jaded’ and not knowing why and that is frightening. October is not even out and we have Manchester United a week on Saturday. Jaded. About what exactly? Before the international break we were riding high, and while the performance and result at Carrow Road was shambolic, these are highly paid professionals who should be able to pick themselves up after one setback.
Not so it seems.
People, this morning, are complaining about the amount of money that we have sitting in the bank as if just rushing out to buy someone will cure all that ails us. Can it really be that simply? Or does this mental problem reach so deep in to the side that money won’t cure it?
Two matches may not seem like much but it is a self-destructive cycle. Defeats erode confidence which make it harder to pick up the win that is needed to help restore confidence. We are, once again, a side fragile of both mind and body, and while some will make the most of the players we were without, most of those players have been out all season. Losing Theo [who has spent most of the season on the bench] and our left back, should not have this sort of effect on us.
No doubt the internet will be largely Gooner free until the weekend when we face QPR in what has seriously become a must-win match. Must-win. Against QPR. Can you believe we are saying those words? Gooners had been in hiding since Saturday and if any are peeking their heads above the parapet today I have no doubt that it will be to do some serious ranting. As one who can normally find a silver lining, I don’t blame them. Of course, there are some who take it too far, but this morning anger, frustration and disbelief are the core emotions most Gooners are waking with as the open their eyes and remember watching a side who, for the last 180 minutes have been a total shambles.
It’s the AGM today and that’s likely to get lively. It’s not, however, likely to change a single thing.
[sorry for being so negative]------------
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