Is this as bad as it can be? Let us hope so, because if we are honest, it’s dire.
How did it come to this?
This was supposed to be a thing of the past, but sometimes you get the feeling that you are in some weird Matrix thing, on a torturous loop.
It feels like death by a thousand cuts. So let’s try to analyse the cuts.
Theo has started less than 10 PL games and yet despite never being fully up to speed, he has scored 5 goals and had a similar amount of assists. That’s a goal or assist in every game. Just imagine what a fully fit Theo would have done with Ozil feeding him through balls. That’s what we lost when Theo was stretchered off on the 4th of January. We didn’t know it at the time, but they were actually carrying off our title challenge on that stretcher.
Of course you could say we should have cover for him. Well ok, name me one player in the league with his skill set that we could have as a back up? No team has a Theo, let alone a back up Theo.
Our natural replacement/cover for Theo is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but he was out for the first half of the season and it’s a little more than hopeful to expect a returning 20 year old, with a career total of 5 PL goals, to fill the void.
Up until Xmas, we got away with it because we had a little bit of Theo, but we had a lot of Aaron Ramsey. In 18 PL games he had 8 goals and 6 assists. That though only tells a fraction of the story. He was the stand out player in the country, the best midfielder by a country mile. He was giving us a balance that we have not seen in the team for years. Tackles, interceptions, incredible distances covered and an almost unbelievable pass completion %. He seemed to understand Ozil better than anyone and it appeared that no matter who he played along side, it worked. Player of the month became no more than a formality for him, collecting it 5 times on the bounce.
BANG – 26th of December he limps off with a slight thigh strain and was not seen again for over 3 months. I can’t remember us playing to that standard since.
Jack Wilshere has had an in-and-out season. It’s been a struggle for him with more downs than ups. His fitness has been suspect which has affected his game. Anyway, when we needed him the most, BANG – out he goes.
Mesut Ozil, the finest number 10 in world football – he is an assist machine – but he needs runners to assist. Since Xmas he’s had none. Anyway BANG – out he goes.
Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky (32 and 33 respectively) should be used sparingly, but due to injuries, they’re being asked to play every game and it’s showing on them. Particularly on Mikel.
Abou Diaby was due back before Xmas – hello, hello HELLO, Abou???? Nope no sign.
Flamini, he was to be cover for Mikel in the lesser games. Instead he has had to play with Arteta. Needs must, but the least said about that particular double pivot, the better.
So basically, since Xmas we have been left with an unbalanced team that’s shot at physically.
But there is worse to come.
It looks like they are mentally shot, too.
Back to the thousand cuts.
United away. Half the team struck down with some illness or other on the way to the match. Some sent home, others having to play half fit. We lost to a RVP shoulder loop in a game that the very least we deserved was a draw.
Ouch, that stung a little.
Manchester City away, we have to play with only two day’s rest following a European away game. Studies show that you have 50% less chance of beating anyone, let alone a fully rested City team on their own midden. Even then we had 2 goals incorrectly ruled off-side and a clear penalty denied. 6-3.
Ouch, quite a cut that one!
Liverpool away. Early goal conceded (off-side btw) and a goal from a corner. Start chasing the game, holes everywhere, look foolish.
Ouch, that stung a lot.
So here we are now, stripped of confidence and knackered. Having to play with 6 first choice players missing and the rest running on empty.
Sort of explaining the present dismal run of form.
Of course along the way the manager and individual players will also have made mistakes, inflicting more little painful nicks.
People do, you know ?
Fortunately for Arsenal, the fan base has rallied around the team and will carry them to the end of the season on a wave a love and support.
BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT FANS DO?