A Great Poor Performance by Dan Smith
If there was such a thing as a great poor performance, it was on Saturday Night against West Ham.
That’s why our manager was punching the air at the full-time whistle, ironically something he wouldn’t have done had we won by a more comfortable score line.
That’s why I like Arteta. He’s always thinking, always seeing the bigger picture. Having been mentored by Pep Guardiola he’s aware that mentality is so crucial in sport.
He wasn’t celebrating the three points; he knew that this was another massive physiological step for his young squad. Next time they find themselves not playing well, they can use this experience to help them get over the line.
Unlike some of our fanbase, I don’t think the Spaniard is worrying about a title challenge this season. He admitted after we beat Liverpool at the end of last season that the gap between the two clubs is “enormous” and “It will take time but we can create something”. That was two months ago……I think our coach meant more time than that.
He’s smart enough to know that as good as the FA Cup Win was, winning a one-off match and signing Willian and Gabriel isn’t going to be enough to close a 43-point difference between us and the Champions. Especially when Jurgen Klopp has added Thiago and Jota, Chelsea have spent over 200 million and even the likes of Spurs have managed to bring back Gareth Bale.
I have spent preseason listening to some Gooners either being arrogant or deluded. I been called names for questioning ‘Why Arsenal Can win the title’; ‘Why we can lift the Champions League In 3 three years’; ‘Arteta has proved he’s better then Arsene Wenger’; ‘Net Spend is not important’ and my personal favourite, ‘Maitland-Niles is better than Kante (still yet to break into our midfield).
There’s no righst and wrongs but I’m hoping some of fellow fans looked at that performance and realised talk of a title bid is premature, and we need take little steps. I say that because I like Arteta. I think we have someone special in our dugout and want him to be allowed to do his job without the pressure of unrealistic expectations.
If you said we will finish 5th I wouldn’t panic as it is progress. Yet if we have got supporters out there who are already planning a European Cup Final in three years (let’s qualify first) then we are needlessly going to have fans moaning in May.
So I hope this weekend was a reality check for some. It shouldn’t be a shock that we were inconsistent as that’s where we are currently at.
If you finish 8th, it tends to mean you are good some weeks, but terrible in other weeks. If Spurs finished 8th but won a Cup, then spent a net of 6 million would you honestly say that means they will now win the title when 6 of the sides who finished above you have spent more?
That’s why you couldn’t wipe the smile off our bosses face in his post-match interviews. You see, us fans can get carried away, but we have zero bearing on results (especially while we are not allowed inside stadiums) but he can’t afford his players to listen to the hype.
Since lifting the Cup at Wembley there’s been a lot of positivity that, in the world of social media, players are aware of. The Hammers offered a timely reminder that we are still not good enough to be complacent. Yet for a manager there is nothing better than your dressing room learning from mistakes yet still being able to win in the process.
Arteta will love the idea that he observed 90 minutes where he learnt more about those on the pitch while still persevering a winning start to the campaign. He will be aware that defensively we bullied at times. He might be concerned that without competition, Leno looked ropey and, on another day, could have paid badly for his decision making.
Kolasinac wouldn’t have changed his mind that if we can get him off the wage bill we should. Without Eddie’s goal we would have been again bemoaning a lack of creativity, which is why I still believe that Ozil should be an option off the bench ahead of say a Joe Willock.
This time last week we beat Fulham 3-0 and spent the next 7 days maybe getting a little carried away.
We were below par this weekend in a 2-1 win over West Ham and now maybe realise we still have things to learn before we are in the conversation for contenders to Liverpool.
Just let us crawl before we walk. Just give us time to settle because we are improving and learning all the time.
Why do you think Arteta was smiling so much?