By Tony Attwood
- Have Arsenal really been led into chaos by a ludicrous transfer policy?
- Why beating the Little 14 is more important than beating the rest of the Big 6
Before the game there was nervousness in and around the crowd A lot of that came from repeating the mantras of the media that Arsenal needed half a dozen new players to become a decent team, along with chat about how Arteta was not the right man for the job because he didn’t know how to do x or wouldn’t do y.
No one pondered how come these know-it-alls worked in the media while someone who “clearly” didn’t know what he was doing, worked for Arsenal, but seemingly no one ever does.
Nor was there any chat that I heard about the curious nature of Arsenal’s season. But just take a look at the runs below which include games in the league, league cup, and FA Cup.
|13 Aug 2021||Brentford v Arsenal||L||2-0||Premier League|
|22 Aug 2021||Arsenal v Chelsea||L||0-2||Premier League|
|25 Aug 2021||West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal||W||0-6||League Cup|
|28 Aug 2021||Manchester City v Arsenal||L||5-0||Premier League|
|20 Nov 2021||Liverpool v Arsenal||L||4-0||Premier League|
|27 Nov 2021||Arsenal v Newcastle United||W||2-0||Premier League|
|02 Dec 2021||Manchester United v Arsenal||L||3-2||Premier League|
|06 Dec 2021||Everton v Arsenal||L||2-1||Premier League|
|01 Jan 2022||Arsenal v Manchester City||L||1-2||Premier League|
|09 Jan 2022||Nottingham Forest v Arsenal||L||1-0||FA Cup|
|13 Jan 2022||Liverpool v Arsenal||D||0-0||League Cup|
|20 Jan 2022||Arsenal v Liverpool||L||0-2||League Cup|
|23 Jan 2022||Arsenal v Burnley||D||0-0||Premier League|
|16 Mar 2022||Arsenal v Liverpool||L||0-2||Premier League|
|19 Mar 2022||Aston Villa v Arsenal||W||0-1||Premier League|
|04 Apr 2022||Crystal Palace v Arsenal||L||3-0||Premier League|
|09 Apr 2022||Arsenal v Brighton and Hove Albion||L||1-2||Premier League|
Now most teams get one or two grotty runs like these most seasons. Our failing is that we have four of them. And the question is why?
Answering that it is because we don’t have the right players isn’t really an answer because these games are by and large played by the same players under the same manager as the runs of wins.
|13 Aug||28 Aug||4||1||0||3||6||9|
|20 Nov||6 Dec||4||1`||0||3||5||9|
|1 Jan||23 Jan||5||0||2||3||1||5|
Now the team against Aston Villa was different from the team against Brighton in that the Villa game included Leno, Tierney and Partey. Yesterday’s game included Lokonga, Martinelli and Ramsdale.
It is of course possible to put down the problems due to a lack of Tierney who has played 22 out of the 30 league games this season. Partey has played 23 out of the 30.
But on the other hand having players of such quality as backups and only giving them seven or eight games in a season is hardly likely to encourage such players to play for the club. Sometimes it can happen, that such replacements can come in and make an impact, but then the club has the problem of keeping that player happy when the main man returns, and that is tough.
Partey played in the defeat to Liverpool, Manchester United, Everton, Manchester City, Liverpool (home and away in league and in the league cup) and against Palace.
Tierney played in the defeats to Brentford, Chelsea at home, Manchester City (home and away), Nottingham Forest, Liverpool (both league cup semi-finals and at home in the league) and the home draw with Burnley.
Now I am not saying that these two players are not good enough, but rather than their inclusion is not an automatic guarantee of victory.
Add to that the fact that although if we had replacements of a high enough quality to overcome the defeats we they are missing, we would, as noted above, have problems keeping them.
There is a problem with recruitment however in that Arsenal now has a reputation for freezing players out when there is a dispute with the manager. We all know about Aubameyang of course, but also there is Mo Elneny who is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but it seems strange that since having come back from Africa as the player of the tournament, he can’t even get onto the pitch as a sub. And yet he is a highly adaptable defender.
But my main point is not that. It is that when we have gone into runs of poor results, we’ve not been able to get out of them quickly enough.
If we had then these results might well have been better…
- 6 December: 2-1 defeat to Everton, following a 3-2 defeat to Manchester United.
- 9 January: 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest following 2-1 defeat to Manchester City
- 23 January: 0-0 home draw with Burnley following 0-2 League Cup defeat to Liverpool.
- 9 April: 1-2 home defeat to Brighton following 3-0 defeat at Palace.
Taking the three league games in that list and turning those defeats into draws and at draw into victory would have given us five more points. Not many, but enough to have us now in fourth with a point and a game in hand.
Those results came because the team could not pull itself out of the repercussions of the previous poor result – they had result hangovers in fact. And to overcome that you need a psychologist.
In short: Arsenal need a new psychologist. Not just to get the players over the sadness of losing more rapidly but to overcome the horrific bias of the media.