It was always going to be interesting to see how Arsene Wenger justified Arsenal’s dire performance against the Swedish minnows Ostersunds who had an average attendance of 5,295 last season. The Gunners were 2-0 down at half-time and there was a real possibility of Arsenal being eliminated if they carried on in the same fashion.
Wenger was honest about the team being useless in the first half, but praised them for coming back in the second. He said, “We were not at the races in the first half. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals. Our energy was higher, our domination was consistent and we were in control in the second half.
“In the first half we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble.”
Jack Wilshere earlier said that Arsenal “underestimated” their opponents, but Wenger insists that his team were ready, but “external circumstances” stopped them playing to their usual level. “We prepared properly and in a serious way,” Le Prof said. “but you have external circumstances such as the fact we won 3-0, the fact that we have another big game on Sunday, the fact that people subconsciously think you just have to turn up to win the game,”
“Football doesn’t work like that. We played against a good side and it’s what you see in the FA Cup.
“Against all teams, you can be in trouble every time you’re not 100 per cent focused.”
The problem with Arsenal is that this is not an unusual occurrence this season. We have lost to big teams, small teams, relegation contenders and even bottom of the Bundesliga side Koln, Maybe our worst example was losing to Nottingham Forest 4-2, a Championship straggler that had only won one of their previous 8 games, and have only won one of their 8 matches since!
I wonder what the “external circumstances” that led to all those defeats?