Arsenal be ‘Arsenalling’. And yesterday’s 2-1- defeat to that scummy lot from round the corner was about as ‘Arsenalling’ as you can get.
This is a weird one this morning because in the cold light of day I’m not as angry as I thought I’d be. In fact, I’ve seen a few positives that can be had and so whilst there is plenty to talk about and certainly I’ll pick up on some of the negatives aspects of the game, I am still trying to remain as upbeat as possible.
For example, I thought we controlled most of the second half. Alright we need to be taking our chances and yes, we also need to be creating more chances, but we were controlled in possession, the plan seemed there for all to see, I thought we could kick on and beat a Tottenham team that I didn’t think were that good at all. In fact, I wasn’t impressed in the slightest by them and if that is the future for them under Mourinho then let’s hope that they keep him for as long as possible because it won’t be leading them to any success that I can see.
Arteta started with Saka off and Pepe in and that made sense to me. The kid has played most of the games this season since the restart and shuffling the pack was going to be needed in some positions. But in others we simply couldn’t do it and those other positions really told the story of the game yesterday. Lacazette starting because Nketiah is suspended, for example, resulted in an utter scorcher from the Frenchman and that’s two in two away games now. Let’s hope he can be a bit streaky over the next couple of week’s because if he can and he’s entering a goalscoring patch then it will bode well for us. We do need to be better at taking our chances though. Auba miskicked in the box, put a free kick just wide, hit the bar and we forced a few saves from Lloris, but this game was telling by the fact that once again, when on top, we did not capitalise.
That, and the fact that we have utter clowns in defence, unfortunately.
I lamented just after Tottenham scored that our goals seem to be well worked, or absolute belters, so it seems we have to work really hard to score good goals. But then we absolutely gift teams goals and once again we saw that yesterday. Kolasinac’s idiotically overhit pass to Luiz would be irritating if it happened once a season to a team, but this collective of car crashes in the human form of defenders seem to make these mistakes every week, so it becomes even more frustrating. If you are looking for some great sign up bonuses, then you could visit signupbonuses.co.uk to see all the latest offers from the top sites. But all the offers in the world couldn’t have convinced me we weren’t going to do something stupid at the back in this game. My only hope is that Arteta has a load of plans for this team and for so many of these defenders it involves a bin. Because that’s what they are good for. Mustafi and Luiz’s redemption has been honourable under the coach, but they are still pretty poor defenders and in the second half there was a particular long ball in which Kane just chased the channel, only for the German to fall over as Kane passed him.
This is the mess that Arteta is dealing with. He’s not completely immune to criticism though. The subs he made – once again – were about ten minutes too late and we probably could have mixed things up when it was 1-1 and we were in the ascendency. But he held on to his cards a little too long rather than playing them earlier and it’s another example of how sometimes he’s got to learn that he needs to play his hand sooner.
He also needs to sort us out on set pieces. Being more organised from set pieces is coachable. But we do need better players on the field. For example, the fact we put Kieran Tierney on Alderweireld for their winning goal was just stupid. The Belgian has about half a foot more in height compared to the Scot and you see all of that on display with that goal. He lept higher, we didn’t deal with it, they scored the winning goal. We have to sort out the organisation on set pieces. I saw a stat from Orbinho saying that 45% of the goals we’ve conceded this season have come from set pieces. That’s by far the highest in the Premier League and points to a lack of organisation and probably on-field leadership. We need to move some of the players in this team on and get players who are going to grab their teammates and be Tony Adams like “you, you’re on him – DO NOT LET HIM GO”, or “STAND THERE”, etc, etc. We need vocal leaders who will organise us in these set pieces and if we get that and can eradicate some of the silly mistakes like the one for the first goal, we’ll be fine.
But it really is going to take time because we need to see plenty of changes at the back. I think Arteta will have a play around with his players and he suggested that after the game too, to be fair to him, talking about how with the good performances of some players they obviously keep their place. But with the performance of some of those defenders yesterday I think it should open the door for the likes of Holding to come back in. We shall see though.
The season is – thankfully – nearing it’s conclusion and I for one cannot wait for it all to end. It has been a horrendous one from both an Arsenal perspective, but also because of the Covid-19 stuff and lack of being able to actually go to games. So I for one cannot wait to see the back of it.
Catch you all tomorrow.