It is no good at the end of the season if you have scored 30 goals and the team is sixth in the Premier League. I want goals, I want assists for my team-mates, I want to play well for the team. I want to win something here at Arsenal.
That quote could come from anyone in the team. This time though, it’s from Lukas Podolski. The German international has the Bundesliga and German Cup medals in his locker, thus to a certain degree knows what it takes to win trophies. Yet, the nous erodes with every passing year that is barren. The last time Podolski won anything worth mentioning was back in the 2007-08 season. On Saturday, he was one of the handful who did not play well and we ended up losing the game.
Now, in any sporting capacity, winning and losing are part and parcel of the game. There would be no point of any sports to be without a winner and a loser. On that night at Carrow Road, we were the defeated one. That’s something I can accept, losing. However, what was not acceptable was the nature that the defeat came about. The saddest, most gut-wrenching part of it all, was the fact that the performance didn’t come as a shocker to us all. Plain and simple, it is because we’ve seen it all happen before and too frequently.
Podolski’s fellow German, Per Mertesacker, spoke before that every game is England is tough. If there’s an acknowledgement that the Premier League is the toughest competition out there, then it makes no sense to witness the performance that we did. Arsene Wenger calls it a lesson to the team, a wake-up call, if you like. While Mikel Arteta prefers to be a little more blunt. That the team was expecting to win and perhaps that is why the concentration and the application wasn’t right. Not perhaps, we know that is exactly what happened.
It’s baffling. It’s like everyone knows and speaks at length about how every game is a new challenge and they will put in every last bit of energy to ensure that we win the game. Yet, when the referee blows for the opening whistle, it’s like these players looked across the other half of the pitch and thought – hey, we don’t even have to try and we can still beat these lot. Frustrating for the fans to see when we drop points in games that we really have no reason to, if everyone played to their strength.
Yes, opposing teams do try and make it hard for us. That’s part of their job. To deny us the win and perhaps try and nick all three points for themselves. One look at the game on Saturday against Chris Hughton’s side, it wasn’t so much that Norwich played like Barcelona or a Real Madrid to beat us. It was very much our own failings and the inability to move into gear. We weren’t in first gear, we were in the neutral phase. Everywhere, all across the pitch, players in red and white didn’t fought. The statistics that jumped out was this one from Orbinho.
Arsenal made fewer tackles (14) against Norwich than they have in any other Premier League game this season.
That encapsulates the entire story of the Norwich game. Something needs to change in the team. No one must be allowed to jog around and not apply themselves. No one must be allowed to play the game at half what they are capable of. Someone must take charge and guide the team. Shout at them, grab them by the scruff of the neck and shake that attitude out of them.
On this day, we wish Arsene Wenger a very happy 63rd birthday. To us, he will have a lot of things to do than blowing out candles.