And so, after a month of improved play and increasing confidence, we’re back to square one with a hefty bump.
The above, of course, is our away record in full, and it makes for dismal reading.
Of course, you have to earn a place at the top table, and at present, with our schizophrenic home/away record (21 points v 5 points), we simply don’t deserve to be there.
From what I have read, 2-0 was somewhat flattering, and where Bolton were aggressive, determined and energetic, we were supine, outfought and second-best.
It’s that simple: so how to fix it?
Well, as the arseblogger says, against physical sides, we need to be more physical ourselves than we currently are; we need more fight. Without Vieira – the midfield’s main tackler – we do not seem to have the physical strength and aggression in the middle of the park when it is needed. It’s hard to criticise Fabregas when he has been one of our best players this season, but if he’s going to play he needs someone next to him who can get stuck in. Cesc is willing, but he’s just not big or strong enough to dictate a game physically.
Yes, we also have problems at the back, with two excellent left-backs out injured, and those losses seem to have triggered a loss of form for Campbell and Toure. But in some ways, that’s just bad luck.
What’s not bad luck is the weakness in the midfield, as it’s something many people foresaw when Pat left.
Wenger might not like a physical, direct game, and we certainly wouldn’t want to watch it week in, week out at Highbury, but at the very least we need to be capable of matching that approach when we come up against it.
Is this just moaning after six straight wins? I don’t think so – I think five points from 24 away from home tells a story you can’t put down to one off day.
As Wenger himself said yesterday, “It was a tentative and frail performance from us”.
Arsenal, over the years, have been many things, but one thing they have never been is frail.