Arsenal’s split personality leaves me scratching my head

Arsenal 0-1 Newcastle Utd

So here we are again – a dispiritingly poor performance hands us our second home defeat against a promoted side. Sometimes you can get by with one or two players off colour, but practically a whole side? What was that about?

Wenger passed it off as “unlucky” in the post-match interview (one shot on target for Newcastle, one goal scored) but it wasn’t bad luck, it was just a rank bad performance. For the home side, and one with such attacking talent at its disposal, to create as few chances as we did is mystifying. And to think this happened on the day we finally were able to field a formidable bench containing Arshavin, van Persie, Bendtner and Rosicky.

If you were grasping the thin air for excuses, you could say the long trip to Ukraine might have had an effect. Except for the fact that five of the players who began the game yesterday – Fabregas, Chamakh, Sagna, Koscielny and Song – did not start the game in Donetsk.

I’m a bit bored of making excuses now though, to be fair. It was simply a poor performance from beginning to end.

It’s clear our home form is a worry, and having blitzed our first two home league opponents, Blackpool and Bolton, with ten goals scored for one conceded, we have struggled in the four subsequent games on our own patch. Two of those we have lost – to West Brom and now Newcastle – and two of them we have won but not easily (Birmingham and West Ham). In those four games we have conceded as many times as we have scored – five.

As for yesterday’s goal, it might not be something you can lay the blame for entirely at the feet of Fabianski (or more accurately the hands), seeing that Carroll got between Koscielny and Clichy with consummate ease, but the fact remains he came out to claim the ball and missed it. In typical Wenger fashion, he put it down to the Pole being “too confident” – surely is a first – but a goalkeeper is judged above all else on his lack of errors and not for short bursts of decent performances. This was another error and once again, it leaves us asking questions about the man between the sticks. I concede of course that he’s done well recently and one (more) mistake does not necessarily a return to Almunia make. But we’re back in familiar territory nonetheless.

Seeing Liverpool dismantle Chelsea makes the opportunity squandered extra frustrating, but the most frustrating thing for me is the unpredictability of our performances in general. We blow hot and cold to such a degree that I’m getting chill blains. As a result I look at the next three league fixtures – Wolves away, Everton away and Spuds at home, and in a brighter moment I can envisage a clean sweep of victories. At the same time, it doesn’t take much to fear we could lose them all too. Who knows what we might spring? We are utterly enigmatic. Just look at our league record this season:


Just when you feel some form fizzing away under the bonnet, a setback happens. Three straight wins early in the season were followed by one point from nine. Another three wins (two of which were hard graft) is followed by another defeat.

All too predictable I’m afraid.

Still – at least we can be proud to be top of one league. Koscielny’s late red means we are now top of the red card league, with four.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Rapheal

    another lost opportunity…losing at home to newly promoted sides is so depressing and frustrating especially when teams at the top are losing points..these erratic performances over the years have been rampant over seasons past, the team in general needs to back up and stop relying on individual performances

  2. RotorGoat

    Yes. But when will we learn, I wonder?

  3. Govindraj Umarji

    Given our tendency to put out pathetic displays, I wonder why Wenger does not prioritize the Cups over the League. Ever since the Invincibles gave up their mantle, consistency, or the lack of it, has been our bane. So why not work on pep talks during our cup campaigns and get the kids to perform for one off days? If you hear pundits and bloggers speaking about Arsenal, its always “… on their day, they are the best team in Europe…”. Why not take this apparent weakness & turn it into strength?

  4. guest1

    I think there is a fundamental error the way the team is being managed. If the end result is not proving to be good, there must be some error on the way the preparation is done(especially mentally). I don’t think arsenal players lack skill, but they use their skills when they are in the mood and they don’t care to put an effort when they are not. Unless something changes in the management, the result remains the same WWWLLWWWDD some thing like that.

  5. argonaut

    We lost that game in the midfield, which, given how much talent we have there, is a definite concern. We need a real rock of a holding midfielder, not one that having scored a few goals, wants to play in the hole behind the striker. We are missing a player like Essien upon which attacks can be built. He wasn’t there for Chelsea yesterday, and it showed.

  6. StevieG

    It would be wrong to blame Fabianski for yesterday…One mistake when Clichy should have done more apart from that he looked as more composed.
    More worrying was Fabregas and Chamakh and Theos performance none of them seemed to be able to put their foot on the ball and dictate terms.
    Making a direct contrast between Newcastles number 9 and Chamakh there was no contest.
    Theo looked lively and then disappeared after fifteen minutes.When you consider that for the latter part of the game we had RVP Theo,Bendtner and Arshavin on the pitch we could have still been going for it until Wednesday without scoring….
    Hopefully we can see Eboue for Theo ongoing if purely for an enhanced presence an ability to create chances and an ability to win his quota of freekicks…

  7. Steve

    Same problem that’s been around for a few years now. Forget pretty football, if a team has the desire to win, Arsenal are there for the taking.

    football gifts

Comments are closed.