October Woes

West Brom 2-1 Arsenal

A combination of injuries, squad size, inexperience and sheer bad luck took us to our third league defeat of the season – all away. It means we’ve now taken just one point from twelve away from Highbury. Nobody has taken fewer away points than us this season, and we’re joint bottom of the away league (see the Premier League’s Actim Station for the full stats).

You only have to look at our bench yesterday to see the scale of the problem we currently face: Almunia, Cygan, Eboue, Quincy and Song. None of these, for all their raw promise, is a match winner. To be frank, the jury’s out on all five as to whether they’re even good enough.

In mitigation, we were of course missing six of our best players – Henry, Campbell, Cole, Hleb, Gilberto and van Persie – and that would test any side. Add to that list Freddie Ljungberg, who limped off with a hamstring and will be out for three weeks. But injuries happen in football, and Wenger’s critics would argue that we should have prepared better in the summer for such an eventuality.

In fact, we played pretty well by all accounts, and with more luck and a less inspired keeper (what is it with opposition keepers recently?) we would have wrapped the game up before it unravelled. That’s a consolation of sorts.

The international ‘break’ hasn’t helped either. “Twice now after the international break we’ve paid a heavy price”, lamented the boss. “It’s difficult to accept”.

“We played like a youth team”, was Wenger’s verdict, which if you read between the lines, pretty much sums up our current problems.

Whatever – it leaves us in league limbo already, 14 points behind the leaders.

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