Arsenal have the talent, but where is the character and the fight?

Arsenal Not Brave Enough At The Etihad by Dan Smith

Arteta has openly admitted the size of the gap between us and Man City, but has also stressed the standards of the club. As a former Arsenal captain himself, he will know that losing at the Etihad only by a small deficit can’t ever be seen as a positive.

To be a big club you have to think like a big club, and a big club simply don’t tolerate defeats.
Why though in the summer I tried to play down ridiculous talk of a title challenge and what can only be called arrogant predictions of us lifting the Champions League inside three years, is because I want our manager to be given the time to take little steps. Irrational expectations won’t allow him that time. This will be a gradual progress with little steps at a time.

Mistakes will happen. You have to go through some lows to get to an eventual high. We have a coach still in his rookie year so he’s learning all the time himself.

The next target for the Gunners has to be having the bravery to throw the kitchen sink when required, something that never happened this weekend or at Anfield.

Any new manager at a club often prioritises organising things defensively as that lets him build a foundation.

We saw in the FA Cup Semi Final and Final this group of players defend in a manner many thought they were incapable of.

That’s become our blue print away at the ‘big 6’; let them have the possession and hit them on the break. Yet it needs adapting.

That tactic works fine if you score first, but that’s obviously not always going to happen when you go to the big grounds. We have shown bravery in terms of being able to dig in, but bravery isn’t just measured in tackling or heading a ball away. Who’s brave enough to demand the ball? To try something different? To take on their man.

I don’t doubt our attacking talent, but I do in terms of their personality.

One of the biggest over-reaction I saw since winning the cup was the current crop compared to members of the Invincibles. How Auba is the 2020 version of Henry, Pepe the equivalent of Pires, Laca was somehow Bergkamp.

I assumed this fan maybe was too young to remember, but what makes a Henry, Viera, Ljungberg, etc, legends wasn’t just their skill.

You can take any individual and point to some great moments they have. The truly special players rarely go missing. If they need to show up and fight, they fight.

That remains my argument when we need a goal and I see the likes of Eddie, Willock or Reiss Nelson come on. I just look at their body language and am not convinced they believe they have the X Factor.

I still maintain that with 10 minutes to go, Ozil remains our most likely option in terms of creating that one big opportunity.

Even at our lowest you would always associate Arsenal with, if nothing else, is being able to make chances.

I would say Luiz was the only one in the end demanding the ball and trying to force something. He’s our centerback!

Worse, every encouragement was there that we could make chances. If Leeds and Leicester can make chances against Pep’s men then so should we, especially in a season where the art of defending seems to have died.

No KDB, Aguero not 100 percent fit, Sterling not 100 percent fit! Yet we didn’t have the character to take advantage.

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Dan Smith

Tags Man City v Arsenal

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