It’s been a tough week for an Arsenal fan. After the escape to victory at Anderlecht and a relatively comfortable win against Burnley, things have unravelled quickly, in which the team has inexplicably dropped points after taking the lead in consecutive games. While it may look blindingly obvious, here are 3 things that we did learn from this game.
1. Lessons not being learnt
Throughout this season, and for that matter in seasons past, there have been about 2 or 3 mistakes that Arsenal have been doing on a consistent basis. And they were once again on display in the game against Swansea. Players not tracking back, losing the ball in dangerous positions, too many players going forward and not providing enough cover for the defence, etc. One can go on and on, and it will be like you are reading the same list that you saw 5 years back. Whether it is Arsene Wenger’s fault or the coaching staff or the players themselves who are to blame, somebody needs to step up and make sure such silly errors are not repeated. The second half of the 2012/2013 season saw a dogged determination from the players to defend, which helped them secure 4th place. The same was true of last season too. Wenger needs to revert to that template if he wants to arrest this slide.
2. Players on the pitch have no discipline
It’s already been twice this season that Arsene Wenger has reiterated the need for Aaron Ramsey to do the basics right if he wants to regain his form of last season. But Ramsey has been hell bent on going for glory whenever he’s played and has left some spaces in midfield that has been difficult for either Mikel Arteta or Mathieu Flamini to cover all the time, leading to quick breaks from the opposition. The same is the case on the wings too. In the game against Swansea, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain failed to provide cover for Callum Chambers on the right, and the young fullback was visibly exhausted running all over the pitch in trying to help in attack as well as defence, leading to a failed tackle that led to a goal. Even the first goal happened because the team lost the ball high up the pitch and with the majority of the players in Swansea’s final 3rd, only Gibbs was left to try and recover, which led to him fouling the player at the edge of the box.
3. A long season for Arsenal
If this is how Arsenal continue to play throughout the season, then it is going to be a really long season for the team as well as the fans. Even the ones that are trying hard to win the game, like Alexis Sanchez, will be disenchanted and give up on the season if the same mistakes continue. Arsene Wenger needs to get his priorities right and ensure they go on another of their well-known winning runs to bring the smiles back on the players as well as the fans. Otherwise, the 27 remaining games in the Premier League would stretch a long way for them.