Arsenal ended the year in the Top Three as usual, but they are now very far behind the current leaders Chelsea and are unlikely to get much closer before the end of the season, and the reason for this is clear – The Gunners just cannot win big games against the other five teams in the top end of the table. Here is our record this season so far….
ARSENAL V TOP SIX
August 14 vs Liverpool (H) – lost 3-4
September 24 vs Chelsea (H) – won 3-0
November 6 vs Spurs (H) – drew 1-1
November 19 vs Manchester United (A) – drew 1-1
December 18 vs Manchester City (A) – lost 1-2
February 4th vs Chelsea (A) lost 1-3
5 points from 6 matches!
And our solitary win against Chelsea!
So why can’t Arsenal beat the Big Guns? Many of the fans have taken to blaming Arsene Wenger, but the Gunners legend Thierry Henry thinks that it is not the manager, or even the players! He thinks it is a mental problem, like some sort of inferiority complex? Henry said: “Personally, I think Arsene shouldn’t leave,” Henry said. “Should he change tactics or his way of doing things? I don’t know if he’s ready to do that. But the work he has to do right now is difficult, because it’s work on the mental side of things.
“Tactics help, but what I saw [in Saturday’s 3-1 loss] against Chelsea, it’s a mental problem. It’s what I’ve seen for a little while now. That’s where Arsene’s work is really difficult, because it’s a mental problem. It’s not easy to handle.
“Arsenal haven’t won the title for 12 years, and you get the impression they maybe won’t win it this season. I think there’s quality in the team. Is there enough to win the title? At the start of the season, when you look at Chelsea and Arsenal on paper, there’s not an enormous difference. So, that means it’s possible.
“If Chelsea are ahead, Arsenal can also do it. But to do that, you have to be at it every day. You have to be good in training all the time. You have to get stuck into yourself from time to time. I think the Arsenal players aren’t aware of what they could achieve. There comes a time when you have to believe in your chances of winning. It takes looking after yourselves, auto-discipline within the squad.”
So why have we got this mental block? Should we really blame the manager, or do the players themselves lack belief? And it is easy for Henry to say that Wenger needs to work this out, but I have read that he has brought in a “mind coach” already this season. I think whoever it is is certainly not working and should be quickly replaced by someone who can do the job properly.
What do you think? Is it simply a mental problem?