Can you hear that? It’s the sound of egg splattering on the face of bloggers and journalists – like me – that predicted Arsenal to win the league.
Of course it’s not actually that bad. Well, it shouldn’t be anyway. Arsenal suffered a humiliating 2-0 defeat at the hands of West Ham on Sunday and it showed us a few things: As good as Arsene and I think we are, Arsenal can’t afford to be complacent against anyone in this league. Secondly, it showed us just how surprising and competitive the Premier League can be. West Ham were a credit to themselves and yes, we should be beating teams like that, they played above their ability and deserved their win.
Please just spare me the monotonous overreaction. This one loss does not prove that Arsenal are no longer title contenders. This one loss does not prove that Arsenal need to buy a striker. This one loss does not prove anything. It’s just that: One loss.
There are still 111 points to play for this season. It’s actually laughable to write us off. In 2012-13, Manchester United lost their opening game to Everton and went on to win the league.
If anything, this should settle us down and focus us early. Of course, I wanted us to win against West Ham, but last season we scraped past Crystal Palace and it seemed to paper over a few cracks and we went on to having an absolutely dreadful start to proceedings. Rewind another 12 months and we were in a similar position to here. We were outplayed by Aston Villa 3-1 and the knives were out once again. Losing so early focused the squad, made us sit up and regroup early and we came out and led the title race for over 100 days.
That isn’t me saying I think it’s a positive that we lost, it’s just me trying to say it’s not all that bad and maybe some good could come out of it.
Right, glad that’s out of the way. Let’s clear up this nonsense about how this should ‘force us into the market’. It won’t and it shouldn’t. We could have had Karim Benzema in that team and it wouldn’t have stopped us losing. I can’t think of a spell during the game where we really looked like the Arsenal we know we are capable of being. One or two players wouldn’t have impacted the result that dramatically. Unless Karim Benzema can somehow make Petr Cech play like Petr Cech I fail to see how he would have won us that game. He’s a good striker – potentially even a great one – but the reasons we lost that game are not fixable by his signing.
Let’s all just calm down. These things can happen in football. Yes, that’s a tired cliche but if you were so optimistic before the season, then a freak 90 minutes shouldn’t change your mind completely. We’ll still be right up there this season. After all, we’re only 1 point behind that lot from Stamford Bridge.
And for one minute can we just stop the scapegoating of Mesut Ozil? He didn’t have his greatest game in an Arsenal shirt by any means, but he wasn’t our worst player on the pitch (Sorry Francis Coquelin, I love you but you were terrible). He’s not a ‘scruff of the neck’ type of player and if you didn’t know that by now who have you been watching? He undoubtedly makes us better so if you like effort and running and grit™ go and watch Berwick Rangers.
The season is still young. Let’s see where we are in 10 games time. If we’re still bottom then maybe I’ll jump in the #FlameSquad and start cursing Wenger and Ivan Gazidis. For now, let’s just get behind the team and hope we turn it around against Crystal Palace. Oh, and Arsene, don’t bother bringing on Alexis again anytime soon. The guy needs a rest. Let’s think about the next 30 games not the next 30 minutes.