It was always going to be an up and down season.
With so many young and new players in the squad we were always going to have some fantastic highs only to take two steps back the next week.
After the performance in the defeat against Manchester City, my response is “it will be all for nothing if we don’t back it up with wins”. And next game out we lost.
Under Mikel Arteta it has constantly get like 2 steps forward, 2 steps back. And after the positive run towards the end of 2021 we have started 2022 with back to back defeats.
The one against Man City we could all stomach after our great performance and Stuart Attwell’s poor. But what we saw against Nottingham Forest was unacceptable.
It perhaps highlighted how much work we still need to do on the squad.
We had players out injured (Tomiyasu, Smith Rowe), with Covid (Xhaka), suspended (Gabriel) and at the African Cup of Nations (Partey, Elneny, Pepe, Aubameyang); whilst Tierney, Ramsdale and Lacazette were all left on the bench.
That XI would beat the XI that we put out Sunday.
Eddie Nketiah showed that he doesn’t have it. The hype around Charlie Patino needs to stop – let him have 18 months in the U23s / out on loan. Cedric needs replacing and Lokonga can not be expected to be the senior midfielder for the next 4 weeks. Finally Tavares has played well enough earlier in the season to show there is a player there, but he had a bad night.
After 3 games we were 20th. After 20 we are 4th.
We are on the League Cup semi-final but out of the FA Cup.
Despite a rollercoaster of a season, we still have a chance of a trophy and a return to Champions League football.
I guess the important thing is let’s not go over the top when we have a high, and let’s not get too despondent when we have a low.
We back this team to the end of the season. There are still plenty of memorable moments to be made.