Arsenal suffered terribly at the hands of Chelsea at the weekend. The Gunners were embarrassed in their performance at Stamford Bridge and it all but suggests that our title challenge is over for yet another season. There have been many suggestions as to what has gone wrong so far this campaign, but pundit Alan Shearer has pointed out a reason for why this Arsenal team lacks the willingness of past greats!
Player turned pundit Alan Shearer is never far from criticism when it comes to Arsenal Football Club. The MOTD co-presenter rarely has a good word to say about the Gunners and in his recent column, Shearer revealed his reasons behind why Arsenal are falling.
Shearer stated: “Arsene Wenger remains, yet the Arsenal DNA he had between 1997 and 2005 has been totally lost over the last decade. That is what frustrates the fans, that a manager who gave them so much and put out such great teams can now be in charge of one of the softest sides in the club’s history.”
“One that rolls over when the going gets tough. One that raises hopes one week and shatters them the next. A side that can’t compete over a season. Players who simply don’t work hard enough to match Watford and more starkly Chelsea, who simply bullied them off the park.”
Shearer points out the ‘Arsenal DNA’, a term that many of us will be familiar with. During the early years of Arsene Wenger and in fact that first decade of his Arsenal managerial career, Wenger established a side that was strong both physically and mentally. The players were strong in the challenge, were not afraid to show a bit of aggression, fight and of course passion. It was all about showing the opposition that we were ready for the challenge and ultimately that we were ready to take all three points. It’s been a question of debate as to why Wenger uses this excuse that the team were not physically or mentally ready for the match, posing the question as to why not? The physical and mental strength made the Arsenal sides of the past; sides to be feared by the opposition. However, nowadays you get the impression that many teams, such as Watford, come to the Emirates strongly believing they have a chance of picking up the points.
This Arsenal side has its fighters, but they are few and far between. Alexis Sanchez, Laurent Koscielny and Francis Coquelin all show passion, strength and fight on the pitch. They are all leaders in physical being and in voice. But we also have players that don’t hold the physical and mental capabilities, players who sulk, become lazy or hang their head when the challenge gets tough, instead of fighting till the very end.
I don’t agree with a lot that Shearer has to say on Arsenal, but it’s very true that this current Arsenal side lacks the physical and mental strength to be consistent over the course of an entire campaign. A few dropped points on the trot seems to bring the club into crisis, probably not helped by the fans, but ultimately the side doesn’t hold a lot of belief. At 2-0 down to Chelsea, you could tell that the players were starting to lose belief in attaining any of the points from the fixture; and that’s disappointing considering there was still a long period of play left in the match after Hazard’s goal.
Can the Gunners turn things around? A 12 points gap is certainly a stretch, but if the team shows the fighting spirit that Shearer and the fans of Arsenal so desperately want, then at least we can finish the season in a stronger fashion.