Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal
In a straw text poll before the match last night, I asked 7 people whether it was going to be W, D or L at the Stadium of Light. Four went for a win, two for a draw (one of which was me) and two for a defeat. It just goes to show that optimism often triumphs over despair, despite most of the evidence stacking up against it.
Who were they kidding though? This Arsenal side proved once again yesterday that it is almost incapable of immediately bouncing back from disappointment. The history of the last two seasons tells us that once we are in a rut, we make our bed, put the pictures up on the wall and prepare for a long stay.
The more Wenger calls for a show of mental strength and resilience, the more I worry that there isn’t any. This is the sad state to which I have been reduced.
The truth is, we are currently – as I said on Twitter last night – a ragged mess. We are certainly struggling more than any Wenger side has. It is perhaps the most we have struggled since 1995, Graham’s last season, when only a run to the Cup Winners’ Cup Final glossed over some very average league form (we finished 12th, and lost 17 league games).
The team has let in 53 goals this season (stat via Gingers4Limpar). On too many occasions it’s not defended properly, it’s not worked hard enough off the ball, it’s not pulled together as a team. It has lacked power and aggression and speed of thought.
The brickbats are flying and Wenger will now try to forge a siege mentality. Let’s hope, for the sake of next Sunday, for the rest of the season and for Wenger himself, that he can lift and motivate and tweak and patch up this side for the challenges ahead.
But you’ve heard it all before, and I’ve written it all before.
Here’s a picture of a meadow.