They say that time is a healer, yet here I am about 16 hours after the diabolical performance at Molineux, still stewing on what was quite frankly an unacceptable Arsenal performance.
I find myself with that one sentence – the title of today’s blog – that keeps ringing in my mind and it brings me right back to feeling anger over a performance that was befitting of a team that has given up like those Arsenal players did yesterday. All of the old stereotypes of Arsenal in the last five to ten years coming spiralling back towards me; all the cliches about lack of character and ‘mental strength’, all of the comments from non-Arsenal fans. The fragility. All of it feels in sharper contrast today.
Arsenal has it all in their hands and needed to show a mental fortitude over the last week that would see us over the line. A win at home to Palace and a draw at Wolves would be massive.
Yet here we are, zero points better off in the league, six goals conceded in two games, as well as a performance that was more akin to a side on the proverbial beach than in the position we are in right now.
This collective of Arsenal players are broken and it’s no longer a question of it being Arsène Wenger who is the psychological problem. His stamp on the club has been fading for over a year now. His influence long since waned. Yet the inability of some of those players to show the basic level of fight at a crucial time in the season was as big and booming as a Brian Blessed monologue.
Wenger is still responsible for bringing in some of the players, of that we can have no doubt, but those players have shown yet again that psychologically they are not fit for the purpose we hope from them; that is to say challenging towards the sharp end of the division.
Unai Emery must also take the blame for yesterday’s sh*t show and he needs to have a long, hard, look at himself at a time in the season where fans were starting to admit that he’s getting his rotation right. Koscielny playing yet another game for example get like it was asking for trouble. But I don’t want to dwell on individuals today because I think that it is a collective malaise that exists at the club and I don’t think it’s anything that a couple of transfers will solve.
Something big has to happen and whether or not the club’s hierarchy has the minerals to do anything about it I don’t know. I’m not suggesting Emery should be sacked, but he must surely be backed if we are going to set our stall by him this summer, because this squad needs an overhaul.
Technical level the players are good enough, but last night they showed that mentally they are miles off. This team is so flawed it beggars belief.
‘Psychologically damaged’ is all I can think of. You can’t have a team so capable at home suddenly become so incapable away from home. It defies logic. So it simply must be a mental thing and the fact that this is now spanning two seasons suggests to me that some of them just need to be moved on. There’s no other way that we change the fortunes of the club than to remove some of the weak-minded players that we have.
I have no favourites. No player is sacrosanct. I don’t care who goes. Let’s rip it all up and start again.
This isn’t even all about losing. Yesterday we lost. It happens. We got caught and Wolves capitalised. But that sheer lack of fight in the second half feels all the more damming to me and that is why I don’t really care who goes in the summer. The incentive of Champions League football was there. The goal was clear. It was within our hands. Yet those players simply cowered when given the opportunity.
They are cowards. The turning backs on the first goal for the free kick epitomised that. They are not a team who is fighting for Arsenal. They won’t move heaven and earth to hit their targets. When the time comes they will wilt.
And that’s why I’m more angry today than I have been at any other defeat in the last two seasons. Because we’ve seen the true faces of some of these players and quite frankly, it’s an ugly, ugly face.
You can visibly see this team deflate as soon as one setback happens in a game. It’s shocking and for individuals capable of some of the results they’ve had this season it is shameful to see the lack of determination like that second half performance.
All the USB video footage in the world won’t help Unai Emery when you see how some of them react to adversity like last night.
I’ve got a few mates who still think we’ll do it. They think that United could potentially do us a favour at the weekend. I have lost hope because even if we get the best result possible we still have Leicester and Burnley away from home and right now I can’t see us picking up a single point. Because Arsenal are broken. Those players are broken and mentally I’m just not sure if there is any return for some of them. Perhaps they don’t deserve it either.
I’m feeling rather low today. The excellent performance of Napoli away is so far gone from recent memory that all I can feel is an impending sense of dread. Watford has nothing to play for and outplayed us with ten men. Crystal Palace has nothing to play for and outplayed us. Wolves have nothing to play for and pulled our pants down. Leicester are on the beach most likely but they’ll give us a tonking at the weekend, because as soon as that first goal goes in against us, I can’t see any of this current crop of players responding.
Sorry, little else to say right now, so I’ll leave it there.