In my blog yesterday morning I recounted a little tale. It was supposed to be a tale of old Arsenal because, well, we had a new Arsenal. One which didn’t offer up points to lowly teams because they had finally learned that matches are not won by simply turning up, that mistakes cost games and that no matter what position a team occupied in the league they always have something to fight for. I needn’t have bothered.
Pick a blog from last season, repeat it here, it’s all the bloody same despite there being new personnel on the pitch. Mannone’s fault for the first goal? Yes. You can talk to me about defenders not closing down or the swerve on the ball, but guess what? Goalkeepers have to face shots, some of which might have swerve. The ability to catch one is important. The ability to not push it across the goal in to an even more dangerous area and even more bloody important one. I don’t care what you say, I don’t care what he says or Wenger says, just as no-one could convince me that Almunia was Arsenal-ready, nothing you will ever say will convince me that Mannone is even good enough to be our number three. Yes, Fabianski made mistakes, but his potential was there for all to see. With Mannone? This is as good as it gets. Come back in five years if you don’t believe me.
But of course, it wasn’t just him, it was the whole team and their collective couldn’t-give-a-tossitis. They played like a team who had decided on the plane (yes, they flew from Luton) that the points were theirs and that all that was needed was to step on to the pitch at Carrow Road against a team who hadn’t even managed to take a lead this season, let alone win a match, and the glory would be theirs.
It was simply not good enough. For as well as Norwich played, we were woeful. Truly. I can normally find a silver lining in any performance from Arsenal and today’s is Serge Gnabry who, let’s face it, put the rest to shame when he came on, but it was far too much to ask him to do. Shooting from 40 yards with 30 seconds left on the clock? Falling over, rash tackles, poor passes, zero movement, watching on as if it was someone else’s responsibility, an inability to find a man with a simple pass but yet still trying to flick and trick their way to the goal. And corners? Oh my good fucking good, why do we even bother? I hate short corners but there should be a law that they are the only type Arsenal are ever allowed to take because our ability to find anyone even resembling an Arsenal player in the box is disgraceful. They do know they are allowed to practice them right?
Am I overreacting? No, I don’t think I am. I truly thought we were past this crap, that we had left in last season, and that we haven’t is more than irksome. I haven’t read any post-match comments yet because I know if I read the word ‘handbrake’ even once I will put my fist through the screen.
Professionals. That’s what they are supposed to be. Highly paid professionals at that.
So, what happens next? Well, thankfully, we don’t have much time to dwell on this before the next match arrives, Schalke in the Champions League. They say that it’s best to get straight back on the horse, let’s just hope it’s an actual horse this time, and not that flea-ridden donkey we took to Norwich.------------
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