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.