92.05 – that was when Arsenal finally scored against Burnley, securing three points and ensuring we kept pressure on Spurs and Manchester City above us at the top of the Premier League table.
While Laurent Koscielny’s last ditch goal and whether it should have stood or not is another matter, which we’ve already covered on the site, I’m more concerned about how we allowed it to get to that stage. Bundling in goals with seconds to spare as if he hadn’t already been on the pitch for 90+ minutes.
Although Burnley did throw pretty much every man and his dog behind the ball, that doesn’t explain the lacklustre, boring display we saw on Sunday afternoon.
The worst part was that it was so Arsenal-y, I’m annoyed at myself for being annoyed. How many times have we seen a performance similar to that? We looked absolutely knackered and, in the words of Lee who was tweeting from the Daily Cannon account during the game, I understand fatigue but I don’t accept it.
We’d thrashed Chelsea last weekend in a game that delivered everything we’d been promised. We overcame a huge hurdle and really looked like title challengers.
Days later, we sailed to another comfortable win against visitors Basel in the Champions League. Theo Walcott slotted home a brace, reaching a form he’s perhaps never touched, and everything looked rosy.
A few days later and we traveled to Turf Moor and although we would be been a little leggy, many of us – somewhat foolishly – thought that the momentum and confidence would be enough to thrash out another sound victory.
But we’re Arsenal and these things are never simple.
Our last minute goal could be seen as us ‘never giving up’ and as the mark of true ~Champions~, which is something many (myself included) are arguing. However, that doesn’t take away the anxiety in the pit of my stomach telling me that we shouldn’t be tired at this stage of the season.
We’re 10 games into the season; seven in the Premier League. It’s October. If our first team is already running out of ideas, how are we going to handle the festive period where the games come thicker and faster? How is the squad going to deal in the second half of the season when, inevitably, we’ve lost a couple of players to the infamous ‘red zone’?
It makes me nervous. Maybe I’m just used to us falling at the final hurdle. I don’t know. But playing three games in a week, with the squad we now have at our disposable, simply can’t be an excuse.
After the match, Wenger admitted that our legs weren’t quite up to the task and we got lucky for our goal. He praised the way Burnley defended. However, the Clarets aren’t the first team to throw all their men behind the ball and they won’t be the last. Can we really blame it on fatigue or is there another reason? Do we have a Plan B?
I’m hoping that when Olivier Giroud is fit and when Lucas Perez is back in the squad that they somehow slot into this plan and give us another option. That when we are up against a parked bus whose driver has turned off the engine, clambered out and gone for lunch, we know how to get round it.
What I’m saying is: I’m praying that the Burnley performance was just a blip. We shouldn’t be grinding out results at this time.
In answer to my initial question of ‘should we be worried?’ at this stage I’d say no. I’m forever an optimist and Wenger’s come through for us more than once. However, there will be a lot of eyes on us after the international break, including the fans’.