It’s a whole decade since our interest in trophy winning has ended this early – 1997, Arsène’s first year in charge, in fact, when we went out of the Milk and the FA Cups in the fourth round.
It has indeed been an “horrendous” week, as Wenger said in the aftermath of last night’s defeat, and a battle for third aside, that’s us done.
There’s plenty of time for post mortems, but in essence you can put it down to a bit of bad luck, lots of injuries, an inability to take games by the scruff of the neck and a miserable goal-conceding record at home.
Ordinarily you can overcome goals conceded if you’re knocking them in at the other end – and in fact, we’ve been pretty good at proving that this season. But with ominous timing our goals have largely dried up. We’ve got an über-talented and incredibly exciting midfield, but since Gilberto’s scoring streak came to an end (he has an impressive nine goals) it’s one that has not contributed enough in the goalscoring department. Ditto the strikeforce; without Henry and van Persie, we were always going to struggle, and so it has proved.
It’s a bad patch hit at a bad time, but I don’t buy the argument we don’t score enough in general. We’ve hit 85 goals in all competitions this season – 19 more than at the same stage last season, albeit having played four more games.
Disappointment is normal, but let’s not get carried away. We have some of the best young talent there is. Sure, we could do with some new players, and several will leave or be sold (as they do every season), but in my view the side does not need major surgery.
That’s it really. Bah.