After the weekend defeat, there is a lot of anger swilling around Arsenal again, and I can fully understand why.
We came up short against a top side once more. Chelsea played poor, we played poorer. They beat us comfortably once more without having to get into top gear.
This season, we have played Spurs and Manchester City at home, and chelsea away, gaining a total 2 points from 9. This despite being up against a very poor Spurs side (who we now sit behind in the league) and a Manchester City side who were without Yaya Toure.
Yes, it would have been a tad unreasonable to expect 6 points from those games, but to come away with just 2 is under whelming. To win the league, you need to beat those around you at home.
And that is where we have let ourselves down over the last few years. Results against the top sides. It is a well written narative, but the results are shocking:
- Arsenal are now 14 Premier League games without a win against the previous seasons top 4
- In the last 10 years, Arsenal have faced top 4 sides 62 times. W 15 D 19 L 28
- The last time Arsenal beat a top 4 side was 2011/12
- From 12 meetings with Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal has lost 7, drawn 5, and won 0
- Arsenal have not scored in 4 games against Chelsea
- Since winning 5-3 at Stamford Bridge in 2011, Arsenal have scored just 2 goals in 7 games against Chelsea, Chelsea have scored 14
- In the last 12 games between Arsenal and Chelsea, Arsenal have scored in just 4 of them, Chelsea in 10
- Over those 12 games, the aggregate score is Chelsea 25 – 6 Arsenal
It is clearly not good enough. How do we expect to finish above our rivals, if we can not beat them. We do not even get close to beating them.
It is a worry for all fans. I look at travelling to Manchester, to Liverpool, to West London through the eyes of a small side these days. Knowing that you are going there and unlikely to get a win. We are Arsenal, we should be looking at going to these places and winning.
Arsene Wenger has often got his tactics wrong in these bigger games. Enough has been written about it by many, so I will not cover old ground. But no matter the tactics, it still comes down to the 11 on the field. And the 11 we put out more often than not are inferior to our opponents.
Looking at the sides Sunday, if you made a ‘combined 11’ it would line up:
Ivanovic Cahill Terry Gibbs
Hazard Costa Sanchez
In that brings me to the key point. Why did we not spend to the best of our abilities in the summer. With upwards of £60m in the bank unspent, Arsene Wenger has a duty to the fans to answer 3 questions:
1) Why did we not purchase a defensive midfielder in the summer?
2) Why did we let Thomas Vermaelen leave and not buy a replacement?
3) Why did we wait until deadline day to buy a striker, despite pursuing one all last summer?
Whilst we are not short of numbers, we are short of quality numbers. Would Cesc Fabregas have improved us? Yes. Would William Carvlaho have improves us? Yes. Would Loic Remy have improved us? Yes. Would any of the hundreds of centre backs who moved in the summer have improved us? Yes.
The problem also comes down to the loyalty of both Arsene Wenger and us, the fans, to the players. We have a tendency to put our players on too high a pedastool.
When we decided not to buy Fabregas, the narrative was that we had Ozil. But the fact is Cesc is better than both Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey.
Over the summer, we were looking for a third choice centre back. Yet last year we conceded 41 goals. Do we over hype Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny too much? One is slow, which often puts us in trouble with balls in behind, the other gives away a lot of penalties. Should we not have been looking to buy better than these?
Even in a position such as left back. I love Kieran Gibbs, and were he to stay fit, he would be one of the best in the world. He is now 25 and is still suffering with injuries. Whilst our heart says keep him, our head’s say we should cash in on an injury prone player.
The same with Jack Wilshere. A brilliant talent, but we are starting to sound like Spurs & Liverpool fans in the 90s with Darren Anderton and Jamie Redknapp. Yes, its great they are extremely talented individuals, but you can not affect a game if you are in the medical room more than you are on the football pitch.
We have the money to make big changes in the squad. Out need to go the players not good enough, the players who are always injured, in need to come better, fitter players.
The question is, does Arsene Wenger have the desire to spend? Is he too loyal to too many of our players? Can he answer the 3 key questions from the summer?