Wanted: A big league win. Last seen: Ages ago.

Thinking about things a bit – I try not to do this, but it happened somehow – I have changed my mind. I did subscribe to the theory that any league win will do, just to get us back on track. But we got that ‘any win’ against Swansea and it didn’t put us back on track at all, did it. It was edgy and unconvincing. We lost the proceeding league game in a flurry of own goals and non-league defending. 

Seems to me, without wishing to overanalyse things too much, or to state the bleeding obvious, that what we really need is a therapeutic, make-no-mistakes, common-or-garden, text-book thumping.

I should qualify that: We need to be the ones dishing out the thumping. We’ve experienced being the thumpees this season, and character building though is, there’s only so much a stiff upper lip can withstand. Draw? Tick – we can do that. In fact, we’re particularly adept at drawing after being in front – market leaders, you might say. Where drawing is concerned, we know all the tricks. Narrow win? We specialise in those too. Spanking? We have not administered one of those for too long. Far too long.

We’ve not won a league game by two goals since 10th April (Blackpool away), and we’ve not won a league game by three goals since 22nd January (Wigan at home). You could argue that you have to go back an entire year, to August and September of 2010, to find the free-scoring Arsenal of old (two resounding home league wins, 6-0 and 4-1).

We can all disagree on many things, but on this we can be in accord: this is a sorry state of affairs for a side that prides – or used to pride – itself on excelling in the front third of the pitch. It’s all very well wobbling at the back if you’re knocking goals in as if they’re going out of fashion, but while we’ve not lost the knack of defending poorly, we’ve clearly lost the art of taking a game by the scruff of the neck and shaking it until it’s limp.

This needs remedying.

Confidence undoubtedly plays a part (Wenger’s ‘handbrake off’), but so does the way some teams line up to play us, defending stoutly in front of the box while we piffle around in a holding pattern weaving fruitless passing looms. We need to go in for the kill.

All rather obvious and easier said than done, I hear you say: Of course it is. I’m sure the boss is scratching his head as we speak for a solution to our acute home goalshyness on deck, coupled with general leakiness in the hold.

I’d take a 1-0 on Saturday, or a 2-1, of course I would. But there’d be nothing like a convincing win to properly turn the corner, would there?

Answers or suggestions as to how we might actually achieve this should be addressed to a Mr A.Wenger, Emirates Stadium, London.

4 thoughts on “Wanted: A big league win. Last seen: Ages ago.

  1. “common-or-garden” I hadn’t heard.  Bolton at home is the one fixture I’ve managed to work in: goals from Toure and Rosicky.  To run up a score, we need to play a team with an offside trap that can be broken as easily as ours: the variation where one or even two defenders break from the line and play especially deep to keep the attackers onside would be really nice.  Real Madrid did a variation in the 5-0 loss to Barcelona: big gaps between the centerbacks with the line high up the pitch to give attackers the channel down the middle, but we would need pace in that channel to take advantage.

  2. We have “turned the corner” too many times in the past only to fall flat on our face. We cannot say we have turned any corners till we win a darned trophy!

  3. I know what you mean, but to me there’s more to turning corners than winning something (though don’t get me wrong – that would be very welcome indeed…) Consistently better defending, better chasing down, ruthlessness, a return of the fear factor when playing us – all would feel like a step in the right direction.

  4. Pace definitely key – I’m sure that’s why Gervinho was bought. We’ve been too slow to break and don’t put teams under enough pressure. Also need those kind of flank players to offer an alternative to the edge of the D traffic jams.

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