None of the good and all of the bad

Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal

First, a confession: I switched the game off after ten minutes. When you concede two goals in the first 10% of any game – and we could have let in more – you don’t need to lick your finger and raise it skywards to work out which way the wind is blowing.

It was a good call, as it happens, because I was driving and had I left the radio on I might have gone GTA renegade. So I swapped 5 Live for Radio 3 and some sedatives.

It transpires I wasn’t the only one. Once I’d got out the car, I went into full Twitter sarcasm mode, and it soon became apparent that plenty of others had called it a day and toddled off to change nappies, do some grouting or get the wallpapering finished. Sales at B&Qs across north London went through the roof at about 1pm.

We were 4-0 down at this point so to have turned the TV on now would have been akin to staying at the end of a Phil Collins gig for the encore. I Can’t Stop Loving You Arsenal, but I do draw the line somewhere.

If I was being kind, I’d say that a sloppy first-minute goal always blows carefully-laid plans out the water. But in truth, we were just dire – rank awful – while Liverpool were explosively good. There was No Going Back at 2-0 and in the end we got away lightly with 5-1.

Our normally solid back line was breached at will, with Monreal having a torrid time up against Suarez in particular. On current form, though I like Monreal, Gibbs cannot come back fast enough. Is young Mr Gibbs nursing a little bit niggle? If so, That’s Just The Way It Is.

Our midfield, so strong this season, was impotent. Ozil, by all accounts, had a shocker. He could do with a break – that sounds like an excuse but I think it holds true – though with Ramsey and Flamini out, and Wilshere not quite 100%, I can’t see him getting one on Wednesday.

(Ah – but you didn’t watch it, I hear you say. Well I was foolish enough to remedy that by watching MOTD, and I’ve read a few reports. Look Through My Eyes and tell me that’s not more than enough).

What of Liverpool? They’ve been cruising under the title radar until now, but if you consider us to be challengers then you have to consider them to be too. They have form on their side right now and have as much chance, I suspect, as we do. It was a day to forget for us, and Another Day In Paradise for them.

I am worried, I have to say. Who wouldn’t be after a performance in which everything was wrong? I don’t know many champions in waiting who lose 6-3 and 5-1 at rivals, though I accept that’s a simplistic way of looking at things. Certainly, we’ve been solid this season and we’re only one point off the pace. But our impressive form of late autumn has morphed into a more pragmatic (albeit until yesterday effective) style, and you have a feeling that when we do lose, we don’t do so in half measures. We do it festooned in lackadaisical bunting and with defensive klaxons sounding.

It was the worst possible time to revert to the Collaps-o-Arsenal of old. Our ineptitude will have emboldened Manchester United, it gives Liverpool the psychological edge next weekend and god only knows what it’s done to Bayern Munich, who let’s be honest need no encouragement at all to be any better than they already are.

If we can Hang In Long Enough through this fixture list – possible Against All Odds – it will give us the encouragement and belief.

But we’ve made it a hell of a lot harder for ourselves.


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

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. PDDD

    Hard to talk about really. That was much worse than the 8-2 at Old Trafford which was a patched-up team all over the place.
    We were closer this time to our first 11 than Liverpool were ffs !

    Given Arsene’s current preference for Monreal over Gibbs, we had 9 of the manager’s first-choice 11 on the pitch. The two exceptions being Jack for Rambo & the Ox for Theo : the two players who showed more fight than the rest of their outfield team-mates combined.
    The fact that Ches is totally exempt from any criticism shows just how bad we were : if he hadn’t played well, it could have easily been double figures – that is not an exaggeration.

    Hard to pick out individuals but a couple of things have got to be said.
    Ozil ? If he’s poor again against Man Utd, the Real Madrid chairman’s comments that they sold him because he’s mentally weak will begin to ring very true.
    Arteta ? Gone way beyond a joke now. A good pro being consistently humiliated by his manager’ stubbornness is becoming increasingly horrible to watch. He’s a complete & utter liability in that position against any good team. When Flamini’s suspensions ends, if Arteta starts ahead of him ever again, I am firmly back in the Wenger Out corner.

    Man Utd is a must-win or any chance of the title is over. (regardless of what the league table might say)

  2. East Lower

    Ozil should have been taken off sooner by all accounts. However, I’d not write him off too soon. It’s his first season in this league, he’s playing way more than he’s used to. I suspect he’ll be a lot more consistent next season but it’s a terrible time to lose form when we can’t afford to lose any more big players (Walcott’s already gone, of course).

    I worry that this will take more than a game to bounce back from. We were absolutely murdered.

    As for Arteta – I’m not sure I agree. He’s a pretty efficient player, normally.

    Whole day was one to forget though. Champion material? Not on that showing. But then again, we always judge immediately after and it might look different again in a week!

  3. PDDD

    I’ve nothing against Arteta. He’s a good player but in that position ? A complete liability. He can’t tackle, he’s got no strength & no pace and every good team we play target him relentlessly.
    He can pass the ball & shoot from distance arguably better than any other player in our squad so why not play him where that can be used as it was in his first season with us & his whole career up to then ?

  4. matty t.

    And So To F***. Don’t Get Me Started.

    I’ve Been Trying to get my head round our performance since Saturday afternoon and it’s Driving Me Crazy. For The First Time in years we seem to be genuine title contenders and now we look like Throwing It All Away. I Can’t Believe It’s True. All this talk of the Great Spirits in our squad and our much-improved defence and we were turned Inside Out in twenty minutes.

    They were Tearing And Breaking at us right from the kick off. It was as if we’d Forgotten Everything we should have learnt from the early kick-off at City. Wenger Oughtta Know By Now that we are slow starters and he should have prepared them better. The Least You Can Do is put up a fight. After such a poor start That’s All we ask. But we were spineless.

    Frankly the penalty surprised me as I expected No Reply At All. The only bright point was the usual Big Noise from our away support. They really are Different class. But as a team are we Going Back to the dark days of collapse? Are these our True Colours? We surely Can’t Turn Back The Years to 2008? What is so galling is that all the press and pundits had been gleefully Waiting For This Moment.

    Some people are already saying It’s Over but this has to be a Wake Up Call. It’s Not Too Late. There’s still A Long, Long Way To Go. The Search for another striker this summer must start now though. I like Giroud but I’m sick of seeing him look to the skies thinking “I Missed Again”. As for Sagna we haven’t heard Both Sides Of The Story but please stay Bac. I Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer. Will we respond tomorrow? We Wait And We Wonder.

    You started it Jim. And I fucking hate Phil Collins as well.

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