Morning folks. Hope you’re all feeling decent enough after a pretty sloppy defeat on Saturday. That’s the best adjective I can think of this morning because it just all feels like it was a bit sloppy.
Sloppy by Xhaka in another poor pass, sloppy by both midfielders to give so much space once they’d lost the ball, sloppy by Monreal to allow Jesé to get beyond him and slot in. But also sloppy in some of the chances we missed. Like a bit of diaorreah that just won’t flush because you’ve filled the toilet. Marvellous.
But it’s ok because Arsène says ‘it’s just one game here’ and people should not go overboard. Perhaps he’s right though. Perhaps it is ‘just one game’. Perhaps we shouldn’t put this down to anything. After all, Stoke will pick up loads of point this season, won’t they?
No, not in my opinion, because they weren’t very good at all.
About 15 years ago a mate of mine asked if I wanted to go and play some snooker at the local Rileys with him. Don’t mind a bit of snooker so I said no problem. But I’m pretty crap at snooker, although I didn’t let that affect me and I went along and started a game. I tried for pot after pot after pot and just couldn’t get any points on the board. My mate however wasn’t trying for pots, he was just trying to snooker me the whole game. He amassed so many points in the end that it was impossible for me to beat him.
He knew that he didn’t have to be better than me, he just needed me to eff things up enough for him to pounce on my mistakes. When I left a ball hanging in the jaws of a pocket, he’d come in and clean up.
That’s how I feel about Arsenal last weekend. Stoke’s only game plan was to hope we eff things up and they get a break. And that’s what happened.
Maybe you could think that it was ‘lucky’ that they didn’t get beaten. Perhaps it was. But from my perspective I’ve seen too many ‘unlucky’ Arsenal games not to believe that we are masters of our own downfall.
So for Arsène to tell us to watch our chill because it’s just one game, is to ignore all of the background that sits behind this, all of the problems we’ve had and all of the issues of last season and this squad.
It isn’t one game. Next weekend won’t be ‘just another game’ if we lose that and given that we hardly ever beat Chelski at Stamford Bridge, if we lose that as well, it isn’t ‘just one game’.
It’s confirmation that we aren’t getting anywhere near challenging for anything meaningful – the league is meaningful, a Champions League place is not – because we’ll be five games in to the season and will be three defeats in. So whilst it’s still early in the season, I’m not looking at this game in isolation, I’m looking at what will probably unfold in the coming weeks.
And let’s face it, it’s not like we haven’t had Groundhog Day again and again with modern day Arsenal, so a tonking by Liverpool and Chelski isn’t exactly something we’d all be surprised with, is it?
Arsène has also said he brought Theo on at the weekend to cross for Giroud. Because of course we all know how great Theo is at beating a man and putting the ball in like Beckham. He does actually put half decent balls in when he gets in to positions, but Theo Walcott got in to precisely zero positions on Saturday and I cannot even remember a meaningful touch.
So forgive me if today is a bit ranty but we’ve just gone through a summer of being told things are changing,not really seen that over the summer, then two games in to the season we’re seeing the same performances against the same sort of teams.
It would be heartbreaking, if it wasn’t so boringly predictable.