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.