It really does seem clear that Arsenal cannot cope with expectations. Every time Arsene Wenger and the players have a good run and get the team into a good position with even the heavily critical TV pundits starting to believe it could be our year, something goes wrong and Arsenal fail to live up to the expectations.
One prime example came on the very first day of the current season after the Gunners had enjoyed a great end to the previous campaign and a second FA cup trophy win on the spin. We were excellent in pre season and capped a 100 percent record with Wenger’s first ever win over Mourinho to beat Chelsea in the Community Shield and we all expected Arsenal to hit the ground running in the Premier League, only to slump to a shock defeat at home to West Ham.
The same sort of thing happened in last season’s Champions League knockout stage when we were all delighted to draw Monaco. And the Boxing Day defeat by Southampton came after a brilliant run in December which saw us produce that miracle in Athens and then deservedly beat Man City.
The evidence is strong and hard to dispute that we just do not handle high expectations well. On the other hand, there is also strong evidence to show that Arsenal do respond well in a crisis. The three heavy setbacks I mentioned earlier put a lot of pressure on Wenger and the team but every time they responded well, beating Monaco in France, taking 10 points from a possible 12 after the West Ham loss and winning the next three games after the Saints defeat.
Now we are five points off the leaders, nobody thinks Arsenal will win the title but now is the time when we might produce our best and go on another run. It’s away to Bournemouth at the weekend and then Leicester at home and if we win both of those games we will be no worse than two points behind the Foxes.
The pressure is on Arsenal but will that actually help us to perform once again?