Arsenal gifted a win at Chelsea by Konstantin Mitov
Well lovely Arsenal people, as the years went by I was wondering when are we winning a league game at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge again? Yet for all the wait, never did I think I’d feel so little towards it. And we even did the double over Chelsea for the first time since 2004!
We were spared by Havertz after a typical Arsenal mistake by Mari left him 1:1 with Leno. Then Jorginho tried his best to score an own goal, but was denied by Kepa only to have Aubameyang find Smith-Rowe who miss-kicked it, but it still went in. We didn’t really use the goal to improve our play and Chelsea remained the better team and unlucky to go in 1-0 down at half time.
The second half started with Chelsea making changes and us staying put. Arteta doesn’t like substitutions, nor motivational pep-talks at half time, so no surprises here. We didn’t really create anything, but luckily Chelsea hit the bar 2 times and it was one of those days where it just went our way. Partly lucky, partly us being solid at the back, we took 3 points that keep our slim European chances theoretically alive.
There were a few good performances. Leno for a change, Gabriel as well, then there was Elneny who has been decent every time when he plays with Partey, and it was a delight not to have Ceballos strolling around and giving the ball away. Finally Smith-Rowe scored his second premier league goal and even though he got a little lucky, he was working really hard.
That said, our performance wasn’t great. If we were challenging for the title and went there and won this game 1-0 it would’ve meant something. Beating a much rotated Chelsea side, who will play a cup final in the weekend and a Champions league final soon after, sitting comfortably in the top 4, really sucks much of the joy out of it. I still prefer their position and I’d still have their manager over ours.
The pressure has come to Arteta. He will survive this summer, which is bewildering to say the least, but fans, pundits and former players have aimed their guns at him, and he feels the heat and the need to turn fortunes around quickly. I see it difficult to happen when he started pointing the finger in Mourinho-style fashion.
Firstly it was the process that started 5 years ago, essentially Wenger, who Mikel lauded so much when he arrived. In recent press-conferences it was the players, who we’ve gotten the maximum out of, which is highly debatable, or some have under-performed. He publicly went out and said he needs money, practically doubling down on the point the players aren’t good enough.
That comes from a man who’s been extremely demanding of young players like Martinelli, who is dropped even if he has a good game. Or William Saliba who’s rocking it out in France, but can’t even get a game here, where we’ve seen far too often silly defensive mistakes. Then there are the likes of Willian who got a free pass on many poor performances, because he’s done it all and has all the qualities…
Odegaard was poor again today. The guy had literally 2 good games, one against Spurs and one against Leeds and he’s been cemented in our midfield. Ceballos, although he didn’t play today, is another one, who has played far more than he deserves to, and both those players likely won’t be here next season. I’m just struggling to see which are the players we want to build a team around?
But for Mikel the real problem never is having no plan B, doing late subs, or poor tactics or playing the wrong players. It’s always VAR or “small margins” or something else. Today we were lucky when Chelsea hit the post, but I don’t hear complaints? What did we actually create apart from the goal, which was gifted to us? Why didn’t we bring on an in-form Pepe or Martinelli to stretch them on the counter?
When Aubameyang was subbed, his reaction was telling. I feel sorry for him, because It’s difficult to score a goal, when the team drops so deep our striker sits on the same line as Elneny in the middle of our own half. I highly doubt the players are too happy and on board with the instructions they are given.
Arteta has called out for resources and openly said this is as far as he can take this squad. It’s either he’s massively backed, or he packs his bags by the end of the year. A hundred million is the least we need to spend and I don’t think it’ll be enough honestly. Are KSE willing to back a man that has the worst league finish in more than 20 years and will produce a similar point tally this time? It’s also how they are spent. Missing out on European football sucks, but I’d rather have players who want to play for Arsenal, than have players come here only because we offered them extreme wages. We’ve been there with Ozil, and we did exactly the same with Auba and Willian.
It’s nice to beat Chelsea, not least because of all the stick their fans have been giving us, but let’s not be short-sighted again and focus on the real issue. We need massive changes all over the place on and off the pitch. Luckily the season will be over soon and we’ll see what happens. Richard Garlick is joining, not sure what part of the operations he’ll take over, but Edu and Arteta are on thin ice. The window will be interesting, because the Kroenkes are also in the spotlight. Maybe we’ll do something for a change?