Arsenal is under the microscope yet again. At the beginning of the season, it was “No RVP, no goals, and no Song.” Now it’s cries of “Wenger OUT,” even more-so after the loss at Old Trafford. But, wasn’t this the same Arsenal squad that was apparently the deepest in years? A side that had battle hardened veterans like Metersacker, Arteta and Podolski?
The stats don’t back up this argument. Arsenal is statistically having their worst start to a Premier League season, with only 15 points out of a possible 30. Is this the start of a battle for the last Champions League place again, or merely a drop in form?
Something Arsenal fans can take in the aftermath is the massive amounts of Arsenal hyperbole in the media — “Arsenal are so bad it was frightening,” and they “continue to sell [their] best players and expect to compete.” But, there was a voice of reason among all the kerfuffle and that was Gary Neville. He spoke candidly about Arsenal. He said, “I was disappointed with Arsenal— and I was disappointed for them. I spent my whole career competing with them for trophies; When you said their name, you automatically thought Championship…contenders. Not now, judging by the manner of their performance at Old Trafford. When I think of the great Arsenal teams under Arsene Wenger, I can’t think of one player who started at Old Trafford who would get into them.” I found myself agreeing. On performance do any of Arsenal’s starting eleven warrant a place among the invincibles?
Man for man, Arsenal on the day was stronger than Manchester United. If one was to compare the two line-ups, bias aside, I’d pick more Arsenal players than United. Therefore, the result on Saturday wasn’t based on having a “thin squad” or lacking the players to compete, but mentality. Arsenal for years have surrendered leads and lost games due to their ability to capitulate. So Arsenal shouldn’t go buying a new midfielder or the like just after one result, but they need to regroup and find the spirit that Wenger harps on about. To take defeat and learn, not to give up, Wenger said after the freak result against Reading, “You cannot play for Arsenal and just give up, no matter what the score is.” If these words hold true than the team mustn’t give up but needs to prove the doubters wrong yet again.
Now Arsenal sits sixth, nine points adrift from league leaders Manchester United. Despite the result and recent form, Arsenal still possess the best defensive record in the Premier League. Whether that can be correctly determined after ten games remain to be seen, but with a team that concedes less than previous Arsenal sides, positivity beckons. And with the likes of Diaby, Rosicky and Gibbs on their way back to recovery, the side has some potential first team player options returning.
Arsenal’s problems can’t be solved with a few players, but equally won’t with the media’s overzealous headlines and views on the Arsenal team. Bear in mind this is still a new team, many of the players played their very first game at Old Trafford for Arsenal. With that said, there will be difficulties and in the Premier League the road to success isn’t one without its fair share of crashes and bumps along the way.