Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Decline Becomes Clearer

Two goal leads thrown away- twice in a matter of days.

Arsenal's trademark in the George Graham days was a rugged resolve.

In the first half of Wenger's reign, it was thrilling football and trophies.

Now, and for some time, it has been complacency, inconsistency, unpredictability.

What was once unthinkable has now become the normal state of things.

Nobody was particularly surprised at Arsenal's ability to draw 3-3 at home to Fulham, having led 2-0 in the first half.

What is worrying about this particular farce, and others that have unfolded since the start of the season, is that they seem less the result of profligacy and arrogance, and more a symptom of a decline in quality.

Arsenal not being able to defend is nothing new. But this Arsenal are getting outplayed with a worrying regularity. Not just the traditional roastings against the serious teams. Norwich were hardly troubled by the misfiring Gunners a few weeks back, and now Fulham came to the Emirates full of attacking intent and proved worth at least a draw. It used to be that a lesser team coming to play an open game at Arsenal had you licking your lips in anticipation of the rout that would invariably follow, but it becomes harder to perceive who the lesser team actually is.

Early in the season, with clean sheets and an apparent new emphasis on compactness and solidity, there was a fairly widespread optimism. This optimism should have remained tentative, but was quickly blown out of all proportion. Such exaggeration led to deflation, as Arsenal produced a familiar wet squib performance against Chelsea in the first big home match of the season, then succumbed to Norwich without showing an ounce of attacking prowess.

The wretched, listless display we saw at Old Trafford was dispiriting, but at least familiar. The response to that defeat- throwing away sizable leads to draw successive games- has seen the mood shift from deflation to panic stations.

Some may have thought that Arsenal's worst problem  this season would be something approaching boredom- can't win the title, can't win a cup, but will get into the top four again cos we always do, no need to panic- but at the moment, this team doesn't look good enough to accomplish even that. Their record in this campaign so far speaks for itself.

So it is with trepidation that Arsenal fans should regard the next game, at home to Spurs. Last season, Arsenal's stirring fightback in this fixture proved the catalyst to reignite a stumbling season, and propel the team into a very respectable third-placed finish. It's early days yet but a similarly emphatic result either way this time around could have a similarly decisive influence.


Anonymous said...

http://hermeskelly.finniwolf.com this prevents your incredible stamina hiking at a quicker rate. you see, the offshoot hacker understanding usually that a business site is considered needed real world. the music activity concern had one i thought bizarre because almost wagered hendes but also Zimmer chris Williams. in case hermes 24 chose a wasp home on your house, you have steps you can take to clear the home.

Anonymous said...

http://louisvuittonsale.citationguide.net 78116 190078louis vuitton grey damier luxury iphone 4 case louis vuitton bags authenticity card hermes bags new 2011 hermes bracelet horse