I imagine most Gooners are in agreement that Arsenal’s biggest enemy is Arsenal.
In almost comical fashion, we manage to fluff our chances of winning the title year after year. Whether that’s due to injuries, simply not playing to the best of our ability or not capitalising on opportunities, we always fall short. Some seasons we fall shorter than others, but we’re always short.
This season, we’re currently sitting second in the league on goal difference alone, level on points with the leaders, Man City. We appear to be in with a real, genuine, tangible chance of winning our first title since the Invincibles but I can’t shake the feeling that we’re going to throw it all away. Again.
Therefore, I’m mentally preparing myself for the inevitable disappointment and considering all the ways we could trip ourselves up before we’ve reached the finish line.
Picking up injuries is disappointing. Picking up injuries to vital players is unlucky. Picking up injuries to multiple key players is worrying. But repeating this season after season is down right concerning.
Although we joke about our injury woes and the Football Gods hating us, it’s not really funny. The predictability of it all is alarming and, as Wenger admitted, it needs to be looked at.
Obviously there are some big no-nos when it comes to avoiding injuries and one of them is not warming up properly – an issue that arose against Sheffield Wednesday when Theo didn’t warm up before coming on the pitch and within minutes went down clutching his calf.
We need to be doing everything we can to avoid players getting sidelined and the fact that the forward wasn’t made to warm up at least a little before stepping onto the pitch is concerning.
On Sunday, we had the chance to go top of the league. City dropped two points with a draw against Villa and this was the best opportunity we had to overtake them. Our players should have seen the result, gone charging onto the pitch and been ready to get those three points at any cost.
Instead, what we saw was a bunch of old men ambling around the field, giving the ball away and looking as if they’d never seen a football before.
Although we managed to salvage a point (cheers Gibbo), we could and should have done so much better and we can’t afford to not capitalise on these chances in future.
Forgetting how to play football
Arsenal love to implode. We can go from playing the best football in the league to looking like complete amateurs in the matter of a few games.
A lot of this does come down to fatigue, which is something we do need to nip in the bud, but I can’t help but feel a lot of it is arrogance. If we’ve been playing well we assume it’s just going to come naturally and the job’s done before we’ve even kicked off.
We need to keep up our slick, sharp passing and creativity throughout the season, not just for a few games, if we’re going to have any hope of winning the title.
Although we’re getting better at not underestimating Premier League opposition, in other competitions we’ve still been doing it and that means we’re still capable of screwing up.
Anyone can beat anyone in the Premier League. We just need to remember that so we don’t end up dropping needless points to teams we should, on paper, be beating.
This way, if we do happen to drop points against rivals, it won’t have such huge ramifications for the league. Although saying that, of course we should also be aiming to beat the likes of City and United in order to be taken seriously.
Buying back Gervinho
What? It could happen!