Lucky Arsenal. Jammy Arsenal. Another come from behind draw. Another 2 goals let in. Another 2 points dropped against the worst teams in the Premier league.
Freddie what are you doing? I thought we were done with Mustafi and Xhaka. It’s back to our failed past. No Torreira. No Holding. No Bellerin. And, of course, no defense. We are incapable of defending. We can’t put in tackles and can’t close players down.
It’s only one game but based on 90 minutes it cries out for a real manager with real organizational skills to come in. Go and kidnap Ancelotti now. Because if Freddie starts with this line-up and then brings on Saka and Martinelli before Pepe we’re in deeper shit than I realized. We’ve made progress with the removal of Emery. We had more energy today. If we had the Cigarette that played last week we’d have won this game. As brilliant as he was this week he was awful today. He passed when he should have shot. In fact, I don’t think he had a shot today. I’d have moved Aubameyang into the central position and pushed Cigarette our wide. Ozil was very quiet; Wilock was marginal. The movement of the ball was a little quicker but Cigarette missed our chances and both goals came from dead ball situations. Our creativity is still lacking but our defense is beyond woeful. Of course Mustafi was a disaster but so was everyone around him. David Luis backs off players and does not play offside. And neither will close down the player on the ball.
Leno was our best players today. Him and VAR. I’d be aggrieved if that penalty was against my team and then retaken. And beyond looking dangerous at corners we barely threatened their keeper. We dominated the first half but as soon as we scored our second equalizer we handed control of the game back to them. We gave the ball away and could not win any challenges. Guendouzi was weak today. He lost the ball and lost challenges. Xhaka, aside from the fact he can’t defend, was reasonable. But all too often both of these two are chasing back with the play ahead of them. This exposes our defenders and we know what that means.
We need organization. Freddie only had 48 hours. But we have to judge him on the team selection. And it was abysmal. Has he not been watching this year? Why would you select Mustafi? Even at the end of the game he slipped over to enable them to create one more chance that Torreira managed to block. It felt just like playing Southampton. On the break we looked as disorganized and vulnerable as ever. Someone, somewhere is surely capable of shaping this group of players into a team. It can’t be that hard. Surely.
For the first time in 9 months I’d been excited about an Arsenal game. Nervous and expectant. Until I saw the team selection. This should have been a relaunch. Instead it reaffirmed that the club need to look outside for a proven manager. It demonstrated that we need a fresh pair of eyes. Real change. Today made me less inclined to Arteta and more disposed to the Italian A’s.
There is talent in this squad but no organization. No notion of how to defend. We are fooling ourselves if we are thinking about Europe next year. We can’t even beat the worst three teams in our league. In each instance we’ve drawn them. Our point accumulation is at the rate of a relegation team. Once we start losing games to real teams then we’ll realize that we are delusional. Today we gave the ball away in our back 1/3rd of the field too much. As the game wore on we lost the ability to retain the ball. We let Norwich dominate us. That’s right. Fucking Norwich. All season it’s been the same thing – no balance and no defense. And Freddie had a chance today to correct that. We had Brighton up next. Will his selection change? I fear it won’t. I was so optimistic today but feel now that we’re still continuing our journey in a dark tunnel and that light at the end has turned out to be an oncoming train.
Before we know it we will have to play ManCIty, Chelski and ManU. With the display like today, we are fucked. Sure there was more energy. But that was it. We need senior management to bring in a real manager. Make real change. If they have a plan that would be reassuring. But my money is on us stumbling along for a few more weeks. If Freddie continues to structure the team as he did today the results will remain the same and the pressure will build. If he, by some miracle, concludes that no Arsenal team should contain Mustafi and we put Torreira at the base of the midfield, we’ll gain some points but only paper over the lack to organization.
So, for Christmas, please give me a real manager. A grown up who’s done this job before. Someone who knows this league and has a track record of success. There are a few but we can’t wait until the end of the season. Because by then the fans would have turned on Freddie and we’ll be flirting with relegation. I know this sounds melodramatic. But this team is now officially dysfunctional. You can’t draw against a team like Norwich and conclude anything other than that. Sure we moved the ball a little quicker. We were a little more incisive. But until we understand how to defend, how not to be continuously exposed on the break. Until we understand how teams counter-attack, we will never score enough goals to overcome our porous defense. And that’s even with Leno in goal. The fact that he was our best player today speaks volumes.
The only good news is that we don’t have listen to Unai destroy the English language. But if this is the first day of the rest of our lives, I’d still like another life. We were lucky to come away with a point today. A penalty and a corner compared to numerous Norwich chances where everyone of our players backed-off. No-one can close down the player on the ball. And then, even when we got the ball back, we did not know how to control the game. Yes, it was marginally better than the performance against Southampton and Eintracht. But that’s no measure of where this club should be. All these teams are shit. But, unfortunately, I think we’ve demonstrated over the last couple of months that we are officially shit.