In the start of what supposed to be a crucial period in our season where we need to start showing some form of consistency to move up in the league table, we faltered once again. We did show some consistency, unfortunately, that is the consistency of being mediocre. Because that was what we showed yesterday against Swansea. Another performance that was gutless and without desire. I’ve mentioned before that there is an acceptance within the squad that results such as this are acceptable and this reared it’s head once again.
Michael Laudrup came up with the best plan for his Swansea side to take us on. Credit has to be given where credit. They deserved all 3 points for the way they played yesterday. Make no mistake, we were totally outplayed. Swansea played more like Arsenal than Arsenal did. Their passing was better, their pressing was better, their decision making was better………you get the drift. They denied us space to operate, never allowing us any time to settle on the ball. Conversely, we were far too happy to sit off them and let them play.
It’s frustrating to see us the way we were yesterday when we have shown that we were capable of doing so much more. Michu was outstanding yesterday. Confident in possession and always looking to receive the ball or run forward into space. He reminds me a lot of Moussa Dembele and it’s hard not to like this type of player. It was so obvious that he was the main threat going forward for Swansea. Yet, we were contend to sit off him and allow him the space to roam. No changes made from first minute to the last minute to alter the team to cope with this. Management failure and/or lack of leadership from the players, no one is free from blame.
The first half was just drab but I thought comparatively, we had a better second half than the first. Not compared to what we could do but compared to the shoddy first half we had in this game. Yes, we did try to rush and push matters going into the final minutes of the match. Playing at home, we would not be forgiven if we had not gone for it and chase all 3 points. But we were doing that without being responsible at the back. Not something that we should be doing in a league game when a point is not a defeat. Swansea capitalised on the chances and scored twice in the final minutes. There is no feeling of being robbed here.
Just like it was against Everton, some of the players looked laboured and tired. Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta again showed heavy legs and didn’t perform to the level that we’ve come to be accustomed with. Lukas Podolski was as anonymous in the central striking role as Gervinho was useless in the wide position. The former found little space to operate and kept coming deep for the ball, only to lay it off to the nearest player without any major impact. The latter was even more infuriating, I don’t even understand his game any more. Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fared no better.
What is the insistence to gain top stop in the Champions League group? I’ll be seriously pissed off if we field Arteta and Cazorla in Greece in midweek. We have qualified and if there’s anything we have learned from previous seasons, is that first or second doesn’t matter. Why do we rest Olivier Giroud when there’s no need for such action? I’m not whether to laugh or cry if Arsene Wenger is seriously considering an assault on the premier European cup competition with this squad. We played without a focal point in attack, someone who has been working well for us in recent games, despite the poor results.
Infuriating and frustrating decisions all around. There’s something inherently wrong with the squad and it’s more than just a matter of confidence. The manager is there to fix it and if he can’t, then question will need to be asked about that. The players are as accountable as the manager and the latter is the one with the final decisions. Times are bad and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better any time soon. Bleak Arsenal.