6-3, 5-1, 6-0 all in one season against your title rivals can’t be dismissed as a freak result or bloody coincidence. The performance in all these matches were downright risible but at least in the City game we had a fighting chance at half time, the Liverpool and Chelsea game were dead within 20 minutes. Almost all of the 17 goals stemmed from individual mistakes and Arsenal were ruthlessly punished.
For a ball loving team as Arsenal, it is a cardinal sin to lose the ball and isn’t that they will be training all week, pass, pass, pass. In the Chelsea game the opening three goals and the fifth goal all resulted from Arsenal’s carelessness. Oxlade-Chamberlain is an exciting prospect and you could understand why Wenger chose to start him alongside Arteta, (read Bayern away) but the Englishman was hapless all of the first half before being substituted. Santi Cazorla put in a shocking show and it has been coming for some time.
Arsenal played a high line from the start and there were some early warnings. Giroud missed a chance and moments later The Ox made a wayward pass, the fullbacks were caught high up the pitch, pace isn’t Arteta’s greatest asset so he couldn’t cover, Eto was found in the space vacated by Gibbs and he curled in a shot which I believe a world class keeper which Szczesny aspires to be should save.
The second was identical to the first, Cazorla was dispossessed by Matic, Schurrle tucked in behind Gibbs, who yet again was so high, and the German fired a fierce shot to Szczesny’s right. The third resulted from Cazorla being overpowered in the middle that led to Hazard’s shot and the subsequent penalty and red card to Gibbs for a handball on the line by Oxlade-Chamberlain. World Class refereeing by Andre Marriner. I seriously doubt he watched the incident in real time.
All the six goals were typical Arsenal shooting their own foot. The fifth was a misplaced pass from Rosicky and then a howler from Szczesny. For Salah’s goal our defence was in midfield. Enough said.
High line is effective only if we press the opposition as a team. Sadly our midfield is too small and easy to play against. Ramsey and Flamini add that bite to midfield, Rosicky does put in a tackle, Arteta is more of a passer, his main strengths are his awareness and positional sense. Wilshere fouls, Cazorla can be pushed off, Chamberlain is too inexperienced. Arteta needs a Flamini or a Rambo without that combo, our team is considerably weaker. It is no coincidence that the performances have dipped without our Welsh Wizard.
Teams have found that our left side is the most vulnerable and have repeatedly targeted and battered it. Cazorla and Podolski don’t provide enough cover and Gibbs isn’t great with his positioning. Why Vermaelen charged high up the pitch when we were 5 down is beyond me. Probably to hack Terry so that Giroud could have a shot on target. Still, Giroud would have fluffed.
What annoys me the most is the mistakes are repetitive and we were punished dearly. The title is, even though I detest to say it, is gone. Next up Swansea at the Emirates.