Much has been made of Arsenal’s awful record this season, but we have to remember that this is an extraordinary season for everyone, and we are seeing very strange results just about every week.
The gunners not only have to play twice every week, but they have to do it in empty stadiums, which is strange enough in itself. To me it looks like every game is like a training match.
Now with the Europa League knockouts back up and running, the squad have had to travel long distances to play games and we are forced to play our “home” game in Athens on Thursday, which means another 4-hour flight each way, and then 3 days later they have to go up to Leicester.
As Mikel Arteta said on Sunday after the defeat to Man City: “At the moment we have players that are struggling recovering from game to game. They’ve played a lot of minutes, you could see the fatigue in both teams at the end. The boys are trying and are working extremely hard, so I cannot demand too much of them.”
Luckily for Arteta, he has nearly a full squad to choose from, after seeing Pablo Mari and Kieran Tierney play for the first time for a long while, and Tierney was asked how he felt after managing the whole 90 minutes: “I was just knackered!” he told Arsenal.com.
“Yeah, it was a tough game and I wasn’t sure if I was going to get the full game, but I did. It’s 90 minutes under my belt and I’m happy for that and happy that the manager gave me the chance again.”
It would appear that fatigue is inevitable during this gruelling schedule, and it is obviously the same for all teams that are playing European games as well.
Maybe this is why we are seeing so many crazy results in this campaign?