W.B.A. 2-1 Arsenal
Iâ€™m not sure whether â€˜a bad day at the officeâ€™ does this one justice, though Arsenal clearly did lose the document they were working on, said something inopportune to Dave in accounts by the water cooler, before forgetting to submit their timesheet [this metaphor needs more work – Ed].
It was a classic case of Arsenal coming to the party with a chilled six-pack of their greatest weaknesses [now youâ€™re mixing them – Ed]. Dreadful, switched-off defending, a key injury, his replacement having a mare then getting injured, a glaring miss, possession for possessionâ€™s sake and finally a lifeline spurned with a ballooned slip-up of a penalty.
It goes without saying that we should never have lost it – Cazorlaâ€™s penalty alone should have guaranteed that – but we shot ourselves in the foot with what Wenger called a â€œnightmareâ€ performance where we â€œlost a bit of focusâ€ and compounded it with â€œvery, very poorâ€ defending.
Honestly, we have seen it all before. Thankfully a little less frequently in recent times, so maybe it was at least an uncharacteristically characteristic Arsenal performance.
You could argue, in fact, that itâ€™s been a horrible November (and don’t we know about those) because weâ€™ve not played well since winning in Swansea on 31st October. Better to get a blip in form out the way now rather than in February? Yes.
Nasty November Avg Points/game under Wenger Aug 1.90 Sep 2.10 Oct 2.13 Nov 1.60 Dec 1.97 Jan 1.93 Feb 1.99 Mar 2.22 Apr 2.10 May 1.95
— Orbinho (@Orbinho) November 21, 2015
I say that because the other night Sky Sports reminded me, thanks to a bout of insomnia, how competitive we had been in 2013-14 until the rot set in with that 5-1 trousering at Anfield. Our form has plenty of time to pick up. But with so many players injured – yes I am using it as an excuse, because it really is a massive factor – perhaps a loss of form was unavoidable.
To top it off, we lost Coquelin yesterday for time unknown. Please donâ€™t say itâ€™s a classic three-weeker, because ever since our inactive summer his has been the position most people have fretted most about in terms of depth. As Arteta showed yesterday, heâ€™s simply not a DM, and that heâ€™s at the tail end of his career is plain to see. Flamini is a decent squad player, but no match for Coquelin.
Ozil had a fine game but too many of the others didnâ€™t. Bellerin looked rusty, Gibbs did OK (but is no winger), Alexis looked like a man whoâ€™s been overplayed and travelled across hemispheres, Campbell missed his one chance and neither of our central defenders were quite there.
To sum up: poor and a bit dispiriting. Much improvement needed and to say we are desperate for some players to come back is an understatement. It will make a massive difference.
Zagreb on Tuesday. At least weâ€™re back in the saddle quickly, but Tony Colbert’s going to need to soak his magic sponge with some of Getafix’s potion.