Yet again, for the second time in five days, Arsenal have surrendered a 1-0 lead and ended up losing the game, despite looking totally in control from the start of the match. So what is the reason for this? Is it lack of fitness and they get tired after running about for half an hour? Or is it a mental block and they know that they are still in danger once they go ahead, and try to defend too much rather than go in for the kill?
So what is the ‘experts’ opinions? Graeme Souness says it cannot be tiredness. ‘It can’t be because they’re not fit enough, it must be a state of mind, when a certain type of challenge comes along, “It’s not for us chaps”, and they get rolled over,’ the ex-Liverpool manager said.
‘It’s not just about throwing yourself into challenges. It’s the way you close the ball down, how you sprint onto the ball, it shows its way in many different forms. To be successful in our football you have to have an element of that, the true aggression.
‘For the first half an hour Arsenal were the better side. But it must be a concern for Wenger and Arsenal fans that it was a mirror image from the Everton loss. They were bossing it, they were in their arm chair, playing well, and then blow up.’
Blow up? Was then Wenger’s team talk at half time then? ‘Okay we are winning, just relax and we’ll come through okay’. If so, then it wasn’t a very inspirational pep talk was it? Gary Neville, who is quite respected as a pundit, thinks it is a mental thing. ‘They looked lethargic, they were walking around the pitch’ Neville said. ‘Their record in Manchester is poor, I think it’s 1 win in 13. You talk of mentality, to go to Merseyside, to go to Manchester, is where you need that tough mentality to win that title and they just keep falling short.’
So is that Arsenal just can’t handle the big big games? We actually have a good record against City, but not so much in Manchester. And we don’t want to talk about our record at Old Trafford! When was the last time we won at Stamford Bridge?
So what do you think the reason is? Fatigue? Lack of mental toughness? Inferiority complex? Anyone got any ideas?