Arsenal were downed 2-0 at Newcastle on Monday night to see their Champions League hopes take a major blow, but can they consider themselves unlucky?
We went into the game with massive doubt over the possible participation of both Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes, and on their performance, they clearly weren’t completely ready. Without the ability to train in the run-up to the big game, they were always going to be at a disadvantage, and when your defence doesn’t fill you with confidence, you are shackled somewhat.
We also had key duo Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney missing, with both suffering injuries shortly after the international break, further limiting our playing staff as we looked to mount a serious push to seal a place in the top-four, and their experience was definitely missed.
While the squad could feel hard done-by after the series of events which led to their squad being decimated, the likes of Rob Holding, Edu and Mikel Arteta could well be blamed for their roles in the situation.
The English defender failed to keep his head when taking on Tottenham, even after receiving his initial yellow card he couldn’t contain himself for the occasion, and deserved to be suspended for his actions. Whether you blame the manager for not, Arteta surely has to take some of the slack for his side’s disciplinary record throughout the campaign, but he can also be blamed for another reason.
He and his backroom team allowed both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Calum Chambers to leave the club for free earlier into 2022, two players who would definitely have aided our push for a top four finish, and while you can understand somewhat why they were allowed an exit, the fact that neither was replaced in the first-team squad has hampered us.
It was said in January that we had a serious chance of making a return to the Champions League, and given the fact that we go into the weekend with a slim chance only backs up our previous thinking, and our failure to bolster the squad has to be looked at as a major failure of our hierarchy.
I feel like the team themselves can feel unlucky to have been hurt this way, but the likes of Mikel Arteta and Edu have to come under the microscope, and I don’t want to see any similar risks taking in future seasons.
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