You know that saying that everyone says. It’s not about the pain of falling down, it’s about trying to get back up again. Or the other one which says that if you fall from a horse, it’s about getting back on the saddle again. [I might not have been very accurate with the exact words used in the saying but you should catch my drift]. That’s exactly what we are faced with after the result on Saturday.
I’m glad to see that the players and the team is generally unhappy and disappointed with the defeat, as they should be. Perhaps not entirely because of the final score but mostly because of the performance that we produced. Yes, Chelsea came with a plan and they managed to execute it well. So much so that we just could not get our midfield going. Arguably the most fundamental part of our game. When it clicks in our midfield, everything looks great, sometimes world class. When it doesn’t, everything looked laboured.
The players should know within themselves that the opponent that they lost to on Saturday are not significantly better than them. Neither were they a poor side. That said, we should possess enough quality within our ranks to have been able to come out victorious in that game. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. Once we were stifled, we had no game plan to undo/overcome Chelsea’s strategy. The early change in the first half did not help either.
Should there be cause for concern? Of course there should be. It doesn’t and can’t be right to say all is well, especially after a home defeat against a team that is not completely superior compared to us. The early signs are the that the team is progressing well and we should be much closer to the top than we have been for the last couple of seasons. There were very good results there, prior to this first defeat of the season. Yet, any talk of us maintaining that level throughout the season, was too premature.
Will there be more days like last Saturday? Probably yes. Should we go the full 180 degrees every time that happened and slammed the team? Probably not. Mind you, if we constantly have to ask this question, then the team do probably deserve a good bollocking. While it’s always disappointing to lose at home to your rivals, it’s easy to use that result to say that we’ve remained the same from last season or that we have not improved from last season. Yet, the full judge of it can only be made after the sequence of matches. A sequence that will include a round of international fixtures.
Olympiacos (H), West Ham (A), Norwich (A), Shalke (H) and QPR (H) culminating with a match against Manchester United (A). There’s also the Capital One Cup match in between the last two fixtures but that’s almost exclusively a different side to the one that Arsene Wenger is likely to put out for the rest of games. To put things into context, United themselves with their shiny Dutch toy has already lost twice. If you think that they are out of the title race or that they are a rubbish team, then by virtue of that, I guess you’re entitled to slag off Arsenal as well.
Up until that United match, this set of fixtures are comparatively easier than what we’ve to faced up to this point. 5 wins from those games would see us effectively (maybe even mathematically) in the next phase of the Champions League as well as working up some momentum in the Premier League. Anything else other than that outcome would be under performing by my reckoning.
I’m not saying that if we win those fixtures mentioned above, then we are sure to win titles. Like I said earlier, there will be days like the one we had against Chelsea. These days, it is hard to see the team remaining unbeaten throughout the season. If we do win the league title having lost 3 games the entire season, I doubt that anyone would have a hard time celebrating. Rather, it’s important to win these next few games because it represents that we have the ability to bounce back from disappointment immediately. That there is no creation of self doubt after one defeat. That thing call better defending would surely be a helping hand.
Not all is doom and gloom around the Arsenal camp, for today is the day that Jack Wilshere is slated to play in his first match since returning from injury. Maybe Emmanuel Frimpong, Tomas Rosicky and Bacary Sagna would also get some match fitness and try to find their sharpness. I call for patience with Wilshere though. He has been out of the game for a very long time and must be allowed to get back to full fitness at his own pace.
There might be times when we are desperate in the next month or two. Or perhaps the injury gods (who have been kind enough to us thus far this season) will strike and suddenly there’s the urge to push Wilshere through. The way I see it, the odd 10 minutes here and 20 minutes there until his muscles are strong enough and his body adapts back to the rigours of a football game.
Can’t wait to see the pictures from the U21 game against WBA.