We are where we are in the table because that is where we deserve to be with 10 league games to go.
Today’s draw against Burnley gives me a feeling of deja vu. It is a result we have seen time a d again this season.
Dominate the game, create chances to score, fail to take the chances, then silly errors cost us the points.
It has happened time and again this season where we should have been 2 or 3 up at the point a silly error costs us.
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka (twice) both had chances in the first half to double the lead.
None of the chances were clear cut, but another ah we would be 3-nil up.
And then the error.
A poor ball from Bernd Leno but Granit Xhaka under pressure in the box; and we know Xhaka reacts rashly when under pressure.
His attempted pass to David Luiz hit Chris Wood and it was 1-0.
Why didn’t Leno hoof it clear? Why did Xhaka take a touch? Why did he play a blind pass? For me the pie can take the blame.
But it wouldn’t have mattered if Saka or Aubameyang took their chances. And Nicholas Pepe missed a sitter in the second half.
And then we have the penalty.
It feels like this season every time there has been a 50/50 call, it has gone against us, and the penalty was another example.
I get those saying the Burnley defenders were in a “natural position making himself big” but that body shape has only become a natural position because of coaching.
The Burnley defender stuck us arms out to make himself big, harder to get past. And the ball hit his hand. Penalty all day long. It was his choice to have his arms out wide. He was a man in control.
But penalty not given and ultimately we only have ourselves to blame. Again.
Dropped points v Burnley is now joined by:
- Losing to Wolves when cruising after that red card and penalty
- Drawing against Southampton after Gabriel got sent off
- Losing against Burnley after Xhaka lost his head
- Drawing against Leeds United after Nicolas Pepe got sent off
- Losing against Leicester after dominating and having a fair goal ruled out
6 games in which we should have taken 18 points. Games we dominated until we hit the self destruct button – or a referee blunder cost us.
In those 6 games, we took 3 points. And difference of 15.
And that dropped 15 points would see us in 2nd place.
Even if we only won 9 of the 18, we would be level with Chelsea in 4th.
And that is the hope I am clinging too.
“We are no different to under Emery” has been mentioned a few times by many. But we are.
Under Emery, we came out of games thinking “we were lucky to draw that”. Whilst under Mikel Arteta we come out of games thinking “we should have won that”.
And that’s the difference.
Too often under Emery we would the worst team on the pitch. Opponents all over us. Shots raining down on goal. But we would escape with a draw.
Under Arteta we are not being dominated, not seeing our opponents have countless chances. Only really against Liverpool, Man City and Aston Villa have we been played off the pitch.
Under Arteta, we are frustrated to not win; under Emery we were lucky to draw.
Things will improve in the future.
A better run of luck. Correct referee decisions. Cutting out the mistakes.
It will come together eventually…