I hate NLD. Of course, it’s dictated by my hatred for Sp*rs. How can you not hate a bunch of inflated, pumped up jonny-come-latelys. We had in excess of 2 decades of absolute domination. And yet, even then, we had to deal with their annoying pestering chatter about who and what they were. And then whenever they randomly achieve something they’d cut a DVD (that’s how long it’s been since they’ve achieved anything). And all the time, we remained gracefully and royally aloof. Neither wanting to flaunt the obvious nor descend to their level.
Now here we are, they have a better team, a better squad and they have gotten the better of us for a few years. So, knowing what’s coming down, I hate NLD. It was so much more fun when I knew we had a competitive team.
And I hate the predictable way in which our fans respond. That’s right. Not the losers from WHL. But our own fans turn on Arteta. They have such blissfully ignorant memories. Don’t talk to me about our past accountant or even try to draw comparisons. Arteta has already won more trophies than Sp*rs have in a decade.
Anyone with half a brain – which excludes the majority of our own supporters – can see that this squad is unbalanced; that the team is unbalanced. How can you not see the improvements Arteta has made. We now how a genuine left-back. And the start of a spine with Gabriel and Partey. But it needs more than one transfer window. Arteta must be given time.
We are so impatient. If we were the Israelites leaving Egypt, Arsenal supporters would barely have given Moses 40 weeks to wander in the desert let alone 40 years.
So, I always knew how painful today was going to be. Though without Kolinsac to remind me to the disaster from last year I was hoping it would not be as painful.
Mistakes cost you games. Bellerin for the first and then Xhaka for the second. But the difference is when they made equivalent mistakes we could not score. Well, we could barely get the ball on target.
We need our Aubameyang back. I’d play him in the NoHopa next game. Have him find his scoring touch. If Kane had that heading opportunity at the start of the second half he would have scored. And if that one on once chance after the through ball from Cigarette had come to him last year he’d have at least tested the goalkeeper. A couple of times in the first half he had half chance but decided not to shoot. It’s not so much he’s not getting the opportunity as he has no belief. We peppered their defense with crosses but I’d like to know how many times Aubameyang has scored with his head. Maybe we imagined we still had Giroud up front.
Overall we were better than we were against Wolves (and Aston Villa). It’s going to be tough on Arteta. The pressure will build. I did not expect us to get three points today. But our biggest loss will turn out to be Partey.I fear he’ll be sidelined for the entirety of the holiday period We won’t see him until the. Next year. That is something we can control and something someone should be held accountable for. For me, setting pride to one side, the Burnley game was more important than this. That is a game we need to win. And a game he should have been saved for.
The entire second half was like attack v defense. Except we barely had an attack. We forced one save from their goalie. Of course, I think they had two shots on goal the entire game. But, unfortunately, they were world class ones.
There was a lot to like about our game today. Holding was solid, Tierney impressive. Saka is going to be world class. Partey was dominant, smart and skillful. Unfortunately, Bellerin was caught ball watching for their first goal. And their second – clearly impacted because Partey was on the side of the pitch unable to run, was also impacted by Xhaka over-committing to our attack.
Today felt like we had our old Xhaka back. The Emery Xhaka. Awful passing, dreadful fouls, dreadful tackling. Pretty quickly I was looking for him to get sent off. Ceballos brought more energy. I’d like to have seen Elneny replace Xhaka. Even after Partey went off.
Willian was better today. He worked hard – though he could have tracked back more intelligently for their first goal as well. His corners are great and his crosses were teasing. It requires a striker to feed off of those.
Cigarette had one of his best games. Playing that withdrawn role works well for him. He, like Aubameyang, needs to shot more. But his passing was crisper and his link up play generated momentum for us.
But in tight games like these you live and die by your mistakes. And two is too many.
Now we have to channel our support through Liverpool and Man City. We have to trust that they can claw back the leadership. Because the unimaginable is too painful to contemplate. All we need is an injury to Kane. Or Son. Or, maybe for Christmas, Santa can deliver injuries to both. That would change things. Or maybe their ugly Danish tattooed midfielder can finally get a yellow card after fouling the entire game. And man, when I saw ugly I’m being generous.
A team that just wins by playing defense and then counter-attacking football should not win the league. In this shortened, crazy season anything is possible and maybe it better suits this style. But I would never want to support a team that, 2-0 up at half time then plays defense for the rest of the game. I’m sure part of it is that Darth Vader had compete confidence that we could not score a single goal (let alone two). But it’s still dreadful to watch. But that should also disqualify them from picking up any hardware.
I just hope that people will leave Arteta alone and allow him to work with this squad, bring in new players, retool the team and focus on the next two years. The retarded children that support this team – without any sense of history or how the game develops – will cry out for change. They used to – erroneously – complain that Kroenke would not put his money in. They used to – erroneously – complain about only getting into the top 4 but never winning any trophies. We’ve had as much change as we need. Now we need patience. We need to believe in our strategy. We need to believe in Arteta. And we need to replace Xhaka. And if you’ve made it this far, then you’ll realize that the fool is Xhaka.