The West Brom Win Changes Little for Arsenal
Arsenal broke their four match scoreless streak on Tuesday, beating West Brom 3-1. Arsene Wenger commented afterward that he never lost faith in his squad.
Wenger said: “You are quickly questioned, when you don’t score.
“There was no open discussion about the problem, but subconsciously it certainly has an influence on the way you think, so the fact we scored three goals is good.
“But we have always had a very strong attitude and focus in training and in the games.
Wenger implements an offensive brand of football. Arsenal went over a month without scoring in the league. If questioning after that is “quickly,” at what point is questioning it appropriate? Or, do folks just not question Arsene.
Also, why was there no open discussion about the problem? When something is failing, you generally try to figure out why that is. You place it atop the agenda. You discuss it. You fix it. Everyone frustrated, nervous and not talking about it is perhaps the worst psychological regime Arsenal can have. It’s no surprise they went five times without winning.
Wenger also praised his team’s performance of late.
“We are on a good run, even if recently we did not score many goals. But we did not lose, and once you start to win, that will come good.
Arsenal has not lost in the league since Nov. 22 to Manchester City. That can be framed positively. No one likes to lose. The draw earns a point and feels like progression.
However, there’s a counter argument. Arsenal has not lost the past few months, but they have drawn opponents eight times, losing 16 points. That’s the equivalent of five additional losses. Had they eeked out a win in two of those eight draws, they would be clear of Aston Villa.
Arsenal bucked the impotency curse against West Brom, but that shouldn’t be grounds for optimism. At least statistically, West Brom was not played off the pitch. Arsenal merely converted their chances. Teams with Vieira, Henry and Pires would have guffawed at the notion that beating the worst team in the Premier League away from home was impressive.
To say that things given time “will come good,” is passive. How many trophy-winning teams are passive?
The Gunners have nearly caught Aston Villa for fourth, more from Villa’s fragility and profligacy than from any credit worthy activity. They may challenge for the FA Cup, granted a cushioned run to the semifinals. They may also receive Fabregas and Walcott in time to challenge for Europe.
However, this has been a dark Arsenal season. The lack of trophies has become a fait accompli. They haven’t even been fun to watch. The players, the board, and even the gilded manager deserve a share of blame for what has been a festering disaster. Every sector of the club could use a swift kick in the ass, but without effective checks and balances there’s no one there to give it.