A lot of people, myself included, believed that with five signings made and good results achieved against Swansea and Dortmund, our boys had turned the corner after the mauling at Old Trafford.
Well if they did, it seems they stumbled down the deepest, darkest, dirtiest dead-end alley one could possibly imagine.
The defending in yesterday’s 4-3 defeat to Blackburn was, as Alan Jacobs from The Run of Play put it, “shambolic”:
“Four [goals conceded] to Blackburn—Blackburn—though Arsenal’s defenders managed two of those themselves. It seems that no matter who Arsène Wenger puts in his back four, the selected players are immediately deprived of even the most basic powers of spatial awareness. I suspect that the team doctors, when they examine the newly signed, are using some hypersophisticated technique for removing the exteroceptive faculties. The Daily Mail ought to look into this.”
It is difficult to draw any serious conclusions about exactly what is going wrong with our team at the moment — a need to integrate new players, a lack of collective confidence or some other third, fourth or fifth suggestion could be to blame. That something is wrong is undeniable.
When you see Johan Djourou, the calmest of calm of our defenders, making simple mistakes at the frequency that he did yesterday, it is hard to fathom. When you see Alex Song bundles home the tamest of free kicks into the wrong net, it is hard to deny.
Here’s Jacobs’ again:
“The strangest and worst moment of all came early in the second half, with Arsenal leading 2-1. Mauro Formica stood over a free kick for Blackburn a couple of yards outside the area on the right wing, and lofted a chip so gentle that, had it landed on a butterfly, it would have done little damage. But it did not land on a butterfly. It landed on the knee of Alex Song, who seemed to have no idea that a game was being played in his vicinity, and rolled peaceably into the net. No Blackburn player was in the neighborhood.”
Diaby did something similar at Old Trafford a few seasons ago, you might remember.
It is difficult, after this loss, to deny the conclusion that our ambitions as supporters for this season need to be checked.
However unlikely a league title success was to be achieved against club’s that throw their money around like Chelsea and the Manchesters City and United, that chance is realistically gone. Four points from five games, including three defeats, is not the start of a team that will be champions.
I will not lose belief in this team or the man who so passionately wants us to find success. I can’t.
But I am a little worried.
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