Sunday’s disappointing defeat to Manchester United has once again raised questions about the manager and the players. A lacklustre display with no character has again raised questions about the mentality of this side. Nicknamed the bottlers and chokers Arsenal have once again lived up to their title. But what has gone wrong?
Not too long ago Arsenal were flying high at the top of the league beating Manchester City and laying down a marker. On the night it seemed as though Arsenal were turning a corner and this year would be the year they lift the tile again. However, since that day things have never been the same. Humiliated at Southampton on Boxing Day was just one example of a weak mentality being shown by this Arsenal side. Cracking under the pressure again raised questions but Arsenal recovered with scrappy wins against Bournemouth and Newcastle with the latter being the better team on the day.
Struggling for form
It was imperative that Arsenal picked up points with a set of away fixtures coming up and for 89 minutes at Anfield Arsenal had been excellent. However, Joe Allen equalising in the last minute was a bitter pill to swallow but this was followed up by a good point away at Stoke. This followed with defeat to Chelsea and a draw at home to Southampton. Arsenal then went to Bournemouth and won to give fans hope once again and keep many dreaming.
The Return of Welbeck
Then came one of the biggest matches of the season with league leaders Leicester coming to the Emirates. With an Arsenal side struggling to find the net they somehow used all that character to score a 94th minute winner with Welbeck scoring on his return after 10 months. As the ball nestled in the net the Emirates erupted which many thought would be a turning point.
Out of Form
However, reality hit home when losing to an understrength Manchester United side. So what has gone wrong? Players such as Ramsey, Walcott, Sanchez and Giroud are all struggling for form which has definitely been evident with Sanchez who doesn’t look like the player he was. The same can be said about Giroud who cannot score a goal at the moment which is shown as he is on his longest drought of 9 games. Furthermore, Ramsey has been poor in the centre which has not done him any good after complaining about playing wide. Without Cazorla the midfield does not have the same control.
The last 24 hours have been emotional for all Arsenal fans who are seeing the league slip through their fingers once again. Yesterday’s performance was not good enough and was abysmal. Apart from Cech and Ӧzil no player turned up which is disappointing considering we are going for a league title. No leadership and a lack of effort really sat uneasy with a lot of fans and rightly so. However, as a massive Wenger fan it left me with one question. Is Wenger still good enough? The romantic in me believes so but if Arsenal fail to win the league questions must be asked. Arsene Wenger has put his faith in this team and refused to sign an outfield player in the summer. Now he must be judged on that decision.
Although, the blame has been with the players and manager, questions must be asked of those above. Their leadership and mentality is an issue as well but this could also be said of the fans. It amazes me on Twitter when fans celebrate an Ӧzil assist like that gets you points. We as fans must have a winning mentality and not just celebrate individual achievements. We must encourage the players at every opportunity which has not always been the case with the Emirates often been quiet and flat.
The next two games could define Arsenal’s season and decide Wenger’s fate. However, in all of this we must remember the good work Wenger has done for Arsenal. Whatever happens Wenger deserves to be treated with respect and leave with dignity. It’s time for those players who Wenger has believed in and trusted to start delivering. On Saturday Arsenal play the second of those games against their north London rivals which is a must win. There are no more excuses for this side and Wenger especially if Leicester or Spurs win the league. This time it will not be down to the money spend like previous years.