Monday, 28 August 2017

Pathetic Arsenal Collapse At Liverpool

Things went from bad to worse for Arsenal yesterday when they lost their second game of the season away to Liverpool. Whatever can be said about the defeat at Stoke last week and how big refereeing decisions went against us there can be no such excuses offered yesterday. Arsenal were awful from first minute to last and didn't muster a single attempt on target for the first time in three years.

I thought the team selection at Stoke was all wrong and we were treated to more of the same yesterday. New signings Alexander Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac were left on the bench with Laurent Koscielny and Alexis Sanchez making their first appearances of the season after suspension and injury respectively kept them out of the team until now. The defence was where Arsene Wenger decided to make his strange selections yet again.

Rob Holding came back into the team after being left out of the squad last week while Shkodran Mustafi dropped to the bench. There are rumors of an impending departure for Mustafi and maybe that's why he was on the bench, but to be honest who knows. Holding was part of the central defensive trio along with Koscielny and Nacho Monreal with the really strange decisions in the wing back roles again.

With the manager unable to decide who should play at right wing back he opted for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Hector Bellerin was played on the left. Never mind that we bought the player voted the best left back in the Bundesliga last season and still haven't given him a chance to show why he won that accolade. Neither Bellerin or Chamberlain should be played on the left, but it seems the manager is the only person unable to see it.

With no central midfielders added to the squad this summer there wasn't much choice in that area and it meant Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey were paired together again. It's a pairing that might possibly work at home to weaker teams, but away to Liverpool it was a recipe for disaster. Ramsey plays too far forward and Xhaka is giving too many goals away right now and both of them lived up to those expectations yet again.

I'm still struggling to understand how Danny Welbeck was chosen ahead of our record signing Lacazette. Welbeck will give you loads of energy and make plenty of runs, but his finishing just isn't up to standard. When the first chance of the game came his way early on he fluffed his lines and it was probably Arsenal's best chance of the game.

Things got decidedly worse for Arsenal very soon after that miss when another lazy Xhaka pass was intercepted and Liverpool went ahead. With Ramsey and Chamberlain a long way off and not even looking at the ball we were caught out of position. A quick cross came in from our left and Frimino was completely unmarked as he headed home.

We should have already been one down by then, but Petr Cech made a good save and he was probably our best player on the day. It's not a good day for the team when they lose 4-0 and their goalkeeper is their best player. It looked like we might make it to half time only one goal down, but in true Arsenal style we let in another goal five minutes before the break.

The second goal came from yet another turnover and that seems to be the pattern for so many of the goals we concede at the moment. We lost the ball on the edge of their box and within 10 seconds we were two behind as Sadio Mane scored from the edge of our box without a single tackle being made as Liverpool went forward. We reached the break lucky to be only two down and the manager had a huge amount of work to do to try to get us back into the game. He brought Francis Coquelin on for Ramsey, but it didn't make any difference at all.

Yet again their next goal came from a turnover and this time it was an Arsenal corner. The ball was cleared by Liverpool and Bellerin was the last man back 20 yards inside their half. His poor touch let Mohamed Salah in and he ran from his own half and finished with ease past Cech. At 3-0 the game was only going one way and it was a matter of how many Liverpool would get at that stage.

The fourth goal came from Daniel Sturridge with a little more than 10 minutes to go and for once it wasn't the immediate result of a turnover. It was still very poor from Arsenal, but at least they had to work just a little bit for the goal for a change. Thankfully it was the last goal of the day and we just had to wait for the final whistle to end the torture.

Where do you start to analyse what happened and how long would that analysis take. For a start the team selection was all wrong and it's obvious that the manager has no real belief in playing three central defenders. As soon as we need to chase a game he switches to a back four, but surely if he believed in the new formation he would stick to it. His continued insistence on playing players out of position and playing some players while better ones are sitting on the bench is inexplicable. 

He went to Liverpool yesterday and played right into their hands from the very first minute. Liverpool knew we would try to come at them and they sat and waited to pick us off on the break or from quick turnovers of our mistakes. It was all too predictable and yet the only man who never considered that it might happen or knew it would was our manager.

For me the blame lies squarely with him and while the players also have to shoulder some responsibility they are his players going out there and playing his tactics. He's the man charged with preparing them for the game and getting them ready mentally, physically and technically, but he admitted afterwards that they weren't ready in any of those aspects. He has to take responsibility for such an abject performance from a team he thinks can challenge for the title.

He got the perfect opportunity to leave on a high after our record breaking FA Cup exploits last season even if he didn't bring Champions League football for once. A new man could have rebuilt without the pressure of Europe's top competition and he would have left plenty of fond memories even if the last 10 years were nowhere near the first 10. What we're left with now is a team who genuinely look like they couldn't be bothered playing for him again while he has two years left on his contract and we all know he never walks away from a contract.

There's no time to bring anyone else in and the players a new manager might want with only 72 hours left in the transfer window. We can't get rid of the players that are no longer needed and far too many of our players are running their contracts down so they can leave for nothing at the end of this season or next. It's an absolute shambles and we have no choice but to watch the man who's in charge continue with his policies which just are not working.

In any other walk of life failure to learn from your mistakes would mean the end, but at Arsenal there are no consequences for the manager or the players. We are habitually handed thrashings and yet we are still told the club were unable to find anyone better to manage the team. I find that unacceptable and I still think we could at least make a go of the Europa League this season, but not with Arsene Wenger in charge.

That doesn't mean I'm going to abuse the man on social media or spend all of my time slating him. I will continue to support the club I have always supported for the last 47 years and nothing will change that, but I genuinely believe we will not move forward until there is a change in management. The next two years could be a long time or maybe I'm completely wrong and he will get it right again, but that scenario is looking less and less likely with every single game.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.


  1. The problem is every manager in the epl knows Wenger's style of
    play ie possession plus a one thousand pass before a shot is unleashed.
    Then when all the gunners are besiezing the box ,a sudden breakthrough
    and bingo the ball is in the gunners net.All fans have seen countless episodes of this Arsenal vulnerability.The fm
    likes to attack but doesn't believe in defending and hence the repeated
    big losses to MU/MC/Pool and Chelsea.To refresh your mind,Arsenal were 3 down to Boro
    in 2005 until they won 5-4.
    Unless he changes tack and attacks with the sudden speed of acobra he will
    keep losing games until he is sacked.
    Btw,Bournemouth play a similar game to Arsenal and don't be surprised the
    they nick appoint or beat the gunners. If that happens,the ES will demand his head.

  2. Veira said Wenger shd adopt Mourino's style.Well.Well. The fm is a law unto himself.
    Sometime ago,a defence coach was needed because the gunners were conceding goals by
    the ton.He was condescending when he said he had 30 years coaching experience and needed
    no to advise him.He gave short shrift to the idea of a director of football last season
    when Arsenal were losing games.
    Unless he can start winning and winning soon,he will be the bookies favourite for the chop.
    He can redeem himself by playing to win and go direct and imitate like how Mane scored his goal.
    The alternative is too grim.

    This guys is too arrogant .With his track record the last 10 years he would have been axed
    long,long ago at any other club,big or small.
    I just cant wait for the Nigerian oil oligarch to take over assuming the US owner were to sell.
    Of course there are no guarantees Arsenal will start winning trophies but with Wenger the end product is already known.