Well, isn’t winning much more fun than being humiliated yet again?
Although Bournemouth were abject at the Emirates on Saturday, something like that hasn’t stopped Arsenal being stupid previously. With this Arsenal side, picking up all three points is never to be expected, such is where we find ourselves.
That being said, without the Ox messing up the entire team by being shoehorned where he doesn’t fit, Arsenal looked more balanced than they have done in a while and that was reflected on the scoresheet. Did Liverpool pay us £40m to improve our team? It’s probably too early to say for sure, but the first indications would point to a resounding ‘yes’.
It was nice to be back cheering goals and a relief to spend the whole match not worrying that we were going to f**k it up in some unexpected, but entirely predictable, manner. Arsenal never looked under threat from Bournemouth, even if they did hit our post. We are Arsenal, after all. We’ll give everybody a chance at some point.
The real test of this side, of course, comes with another trip to the home of a fellow top six side when we face Chelsea next week, but between then and now we have the small matter of our debut in the Europa League.
Wenger has stated that he will field a team strong enough to win the game, which doesn’t really indicate that it will be a full-strength side. I have a funny feeling we will see Alexis start that game – a little bit of Arsenal putting him in his place before putting him back on the bench for Stamford Bridge.
Is that a wise plan?
Possibly, possibly not.
There’s no denying Alexis is a game-changer of a player, but he has a lot to do to make up for his summer and his cameo against Bournemouth was a start. Two shots in 16 minutes wasn’t bad going, especially when you consider Alexandre Lacazette had two in 74 (although both his were on target and one ended up in the back of the net). But it was his pass accuracy that caught the eye – 80%. That’s low for Arsenal players normally, but high for Alexis who has averaged 69% for the season so far. Perhaps he has realised that this is a team sport after all, but I wouldn’t count on it.
Watching the game against Bournemouth on the TV, it was clear that his reception was mixed, but reports from in the ground claim there were quite a lot of loud boos when he was introduced. This is contrary to the report on Arsenal.com that claimed it was a ‘small minority’ (is it ever a large minority in these cases?).
Regardless, this would have hurt Alexis.
Apart from being a player who loves to win, he is also a man who seemingly needs to be loved. He’s not getting that at Arsenal at present, despite being presented with the player of the year award before kick-off. That was last season.
This year, even if he scores 40 goals, if he fails to renew his Arsenal contract, he won’t be winning it again.
Football is a results business and you are only as good as your last one.
In this case, we sit here after a comprehensive win that has lifted the mood somewhat. But it fixes nothing.
This side have some distance to go to prove to Arsenal fans that they mean all the words they’ve been spouting since our latest humiliation. The problem is that we’ve heard them all before only to watch in despair as nothing changed and we bent over for another spanking.
A win against FC Koln on Thursday night will do a little more to help lift fans, but by Sunday afternoon we could well be back in full-blown crisis mode, such is the fragile nature of things at the club these days.
Wenger believes that Arsenal can win the title this season, but he has to say that. For the rest of us, we’re mostly just hoping that we can get back into the top four without being humiliated further.