After one of our poorest performances in a long old time, Wenger has a job on his hands to steer this team into the calm waters of the close season having claimed fourth place.
Out of all cup competitions and nowhere near challenging for an automatic Champions League spot, let alone the title, perhaps this kind of uncommitted, laissez-faire performance was just a matter of time in coming. And perhaps it’s what the team needs to wake it from its dozy comfort zone.
Playing like that, there’s a banana skin waiting to be slipped up on in every game between now and the end of the season. West Ham on Saturday? With two straight wins behind them and having seen us waving the white flag yesterday, I bet they fancy their chances.
The defence was “horrendous”, the midfield out-thought and out-fought, and 50% of the attack was wearing concrete boots.
As we all know, this team is capable of so much more. Sadly, the team has not managed to shake off the hammer blows of being knocked out of all three cup competitions in ten days. Mentally, it’s struggling to get excited by the season’s run-in.
Couple that with the undeniably painful loss of Henry and van Persie, and we have looked horribly ordinary. Yesterday, as soon as we conceded the first goal the game felt over. As a fan, that’s an uncomfortable fact to face.
In fact, winding down for the close season is a common occurrence and afflicts all teams with nothing to play for. The trouble is, we do have something to play for – a Champions League place – and to throw that away now would not only be unforgivable, but disastrous too.
Clearly, the team needs some surgery in the summer, but that’s a discussion to have in the summer. For now, we can only work with what we have got, and Wenger must use all his skills to pick the team up off the skids.
One-off? Let’s hope so. I don’t think the fans expect to win every game, especially against teams like Liverpool, and nor do I think we are so blind we cannot appreciate a good hat-trick when we see one, but I do think it’s fair to take commitment and desire for granted.