After a surprise loss to Monaco at the Emirates last night, commentators, pundits and journalists alike went into a frenzy about just how bad Arsenal were. But were they?
The Telegraph spread the words “Cluless, Pathetic, Shambolic” across their back page while The Star and The Mirror both went with “Dimwits!” as their headlines. The latter was seemingly some sort of lame attempt at a pun. ‘Dim’-itar Berbatov scored so Arsenal are ‘dim’-wits… Get it? It’s ok. Neither did we.
The papers now roar that Wenger’s job is on the line and many Arsenal fans have flip flopped back to what has become their default stance for the past 18 months; #WengerOut.
For the record, prior to last night, Arsenal had won 8 of their last 9 games and had only last weekend risen to 3rd in the Premier League table. But they lost by two goals last night so none of that counts for anything. Sack the manager.
Last night, Arsenal had 14 attempts to Monaco’s 10 while holding onto 51% of the possession. Looking beyond the numbers, one might have seen The Gunners miss four absolute sitters with Giroud wasting three clear cut chances and former Manchester Uniter man Danny Welbeck inexcusably kicking the ball at Theo Walcott when any sort of lift would have led to a certain goal.
Had any of these opportunities gone in (and on a normal night they would have), we would more than likely be talking about an Arsenal victory. On the night in question however, a shot from range took a freak deflection before finding the back of the net and they were 1-0 down. Arsenal were forced to chase the game, were admittedly naïve in defence, and got caught out on the break.
Arsenal were bad last night. There is no arguing with that fact and they should of course be beating a fourth placed French side at home. However, were they as bad as everyone is making them out to be? No. Should we even be mentioning the potential sacking of Arsene Wenger? Absolutely not.
Football is as we all know, a funny game and sometimes everything that can go wrong, simply will go wrong. The Gunners could perhaps be labeled as the architects of their own demise last night with some shambolic defending but their mishaps at the other end of the pitch are hard to account for.
Arsene Wenger’s side are now indeed in a perilous position and their prospects of proceeding to the quarter finals seem minimal. But they still have a chance and if they can create the same number of opportunities in Monaco as they did last night then a 3-0 victory is far from inconceivable.
Monaco came to The Emirates last night with a plan and it worked. They sat and waited and then they scored a lucky deflected goal. When Arsenal pushed, the chances came but a lack of precision and luck meant that their efforts simply would not bear fruit and they were duly punished for over exposing themselves. It happens. It happened to Manchester City against Middlesbrough and it happened to Chelsea against Bradford. It happened to Sir Alex Ferguson not so long ago.
At present, next to Liverpool, Arsenal are playing the best football in England. They are third in the Premier League. They are in the quarter finals of the FA Cup and they are still in with a (somewhat slim) chance of progressing in the Champion’s League.
Wenger out? Please. Just give it a rest.