There is something to be said for not panicking after only 2 games of the season.
Trophies that matter are not handed out in August (the Community Shield doesn’t matter, Jose) and much can and will happen over the course of the nine months that are to follow.
In the wake of Arsenal’s defeat against Stoke on matchday two, there was much wailing from Arsenal fans – the ones that still have the fire to get infuriated, that is – which was met with cries of ‘it’s only August’ from the eternal optimists.
Yes, it is only August, but how many times have we heard that?
How many times have we been told to judge Arsene Wenger and his side in May?
How many times, when May has rolled around, have we been told to wait until the window closes?
How many times are we expected to rinse, repeat, and refuse to become exasperated?
Arsenal moved swiftly and well when the window opened. They landed the best left-back in the Bundesliga last season for nothing and followed that up with a mega-signing in goal machine, Alexandre Lacazette. In addition, they have (so far) managed to keep hold of every player they wanted to keep.
After Arsenal’s dramatic 4-3 win over Leicester, Wenger said he wasn’t that concerned about our defending. Arsenal had only allowed the Foxes three efforts, pay no mind to the fact that they conceded from all three.
Fast forward to the Bet365 stadium and Arsenal were ‘100%’ responsible for the goal they conceded according to Wenger who wasn’t ‘convinced’ by his defence Could that have anything to do with playing only one central defender in a back three, along with two left-backs? Would it have anything to do with playing a right back on the left wing or a right winger as a left wing back?
And what of needing a goal and taking off Lacazette, who scored last week and netted 37 goals last season, for Theo Walcott, a man whose main contribution this season has been to fall over not long after being introduced?
Yes, ‘it’s only August’, but it’s not the first one. Or the second. Or the fifth. Arsenal fans are facing down the barrel of yet another season of the same failings that have marred their campaigns for years.
When Wenger signed his new deal we were promised change and most of us wanted desperately to believe that this could be possible.
I might well regret saying this when the season ends (and I hope I do), but the best indicator of future behaviour is past performance.
There is nothing to hint that anything has changed at Arsenal, or that this side is now capable of overcoming the massive handbrake that has made them less than the sum of their parts of a long time now.
Occam’s razor has this covered. When you hear hooves, think horses, not Zebras, they say.
In that vein, when you see Arsenal in August, think top four, not titles, because the truth is, if nothing changes, nothing changes.