After Arsenal’s poor defeat to Östersunds FK on Thursday, the players and the manager made some pretty damning comments about the team’s focus and preparation for the game.
Understandably, no one at the club had anything positive to say about the performance on the night. Although Arsenal qualify for the last-16, that was entirely thanks to the away performance.
Without Mesut Özil to hold their hands this time, the team looked out of ideas creatively, and Calum Chambers and Rob Holding weren’t convincing at all at the other end.
Chambers told the media afterwards that the team prepared for the game “the same” as they always do, but somehow they “got off to a sloppy start” anyway. He said that words were said at half-time, but admits the team still “didn’t turn it on” in the second period.
If the team can prepare for a match normally and still start like that, then their preparations need looking at. If Wenger can have words with them at half-time and they still only give a mildly better performance, that’s worrying as well.
Jack Wilshere admitted Östersund deserved the win, and said Arsenal were “nowhere near good enough”. He said the team “underestimated” their opponents, despite knowing the job was only half done.
Arsene Wenger echoed the same sentiment, and added that his side were “complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball” and “people subconsciously think you just have to turn up to win the game”. He went on to say the team had “no ideas with the ball” either.
The comments certainly don’t say much for Arsenal’s mentality going into the game. Nor for the team’s ability to respond when things started to go wrong.
They’ll need to be a lot better this weekend in the League Cup final to even stand a chance.