90 minutes can mean a hell of a lot in football. You can win Championships, get relegated or change the fortunes of your team instantly. You can change friends to enemies and back again. You can be a king, a pauper, a hero or a fool.
The game against Villa promised much. A Villa side with recent positive results vs an Arsenal side that crashed out of a Cup and got battered by a very efficient German team. Paul Lambert’s side has had mixed fortunes this season, struggling to find a new identity based on youthful talent like Weimann, Lowton and Fabian Delph. Villa are flirting with relegation and we needed to put this week to bed with a win.
Consistency is a big problem for this Arsenal side, we are spectacularly inconsistent this season. I have no doubt that this is wholly down to this Arsenal side trying to find its own new identity following the departure of RvP. Arsenal this year is a crazy experience – We lose games we should be winning and win games that I think we might struggle in. We are ridiculously easy to beat at times – always looking like we are going to gift a goal. Certainly against Bayern I felt we could have done better on every single one of the goals.
I do think a lot of these things can be sorted on the training ground, but if you are spending all of the training time working on confidence-building then these things tend to drift. In the past it has been argued that Arsenal players don’t care, but I don’t think you can say that any more. I think they care a bit too much. A bit of healthy detachment could really help stop the panic that our defence feels at the moment. Our Goalkeeper hasn’t been as consistent as we would all like to see, defenders have made key errors at big moments in games and it has cost us.
There isn’t a lack of quality. We’ve all sat and watched this Arsenal back line and each and every member has been positively lauded at moments in their Arsenal careers. They just aren’t tying it all together just yet. I do believe that you create your own luck and results in football and momentum is critical to confidence and performance.
We sit on the cusp of Champions League qualification for next year and have our closest rivals next weekend. Indeed if West Ham beat Spurs tonight, we will be within 1 point of Spurs and next weekend’s fixture becomes a little bit more exciting – if indeed that was possible.
It has been interesting that the perennial Spurs player has come out in the media and stated that they have overtaken us. You would think that history would make them consider the foolishness of their actions. Mind the gap scumbags, mind the gap. Still, they have never been that bright.
It is important that Santi nabbed a few more goals. His finishing has been a bit woeful recently and I have felt that he really needed to add more goals to this season. Arsène has said he is surprised with how well Cazorla has done, but I think he is employing a bit of humour there. We all knew what Cazorla had in his locker and that is why we were so excited when he signed. Cazorla regularly gets in great positions and it hasn’t quite been happening for him on a regular basis, but it did on Saturday and I hope he carries that confidence into the next game. It was great to see Monreal get his first assist too, with a wonderful cut-back to Cazorla – a goal made in Malaga.
All in all it bodes very well, I will be watching West Ham tonight with much interest. ‘Til next time Gooners