Perspective please! by ThirdManJW
Just like an angry kettle, I am steaming right now! Not with the defeat at Anfield, or the way we approached the game, but with the reaction of some of our fans. Talk about fickle!
Reading some of the articles, and comments over the last day or so, one would think we got absolutely spanked by Liverpool! Not only that, but we were in a dire situation, with no progress whatsoever. Same old Arsenal apparently! This will rile some of the complainers up, but are you completely delusional?
Now a lot of you may be thinking, how dare ThirdManJW have a pop at us for moaning, when the majority of what he says in regards to Arsenal is negative. Whilst it may be true that my comments usually had a negative vibe, it’s only because I am a realist. I try my best to go on facts, logic and reason. It was dreadful for a very long time under Wenger, with no light at the end of the tunnel, and it barely improved under Emery, so of course I found it extremely hard to find any positives. Ultimately, my criticisms were proven correct, as Arsenal just kept getting worse. I have since been very positive about Arteta.
I am now writing as a realist again, to give some perspective to the current Arteta doom merchants. This time its realism steeped in positivity. So, let’s talk about facts, and get some perspective, in regards to the main talking points from the Liverpool defeat.
Probably the most laughable thing, is that it seems some felt we should be getting a result at Anfield. Liverpool at home, is the toughest game in world football these days. Eased slightly with the lack of fans, but still a nightmare fixture for ANY team. Even if Bayern played there, they would most likely lose, and ship some goals. Yet Arsenal should be getting something from this game? Yes, we have beaten them recently, and even I felt confident, but Liverpool at home are a different beast! They haven’t lost a home league game since April 2017. 46 games unbeaten. That’s how tough the fixture is, and that’s not even mentioning the gulf in quality between the two squads.
How we approached the game
I think it’s fair to question Arteta’s team selection, i.e. Saka is one of our best players, so why didn’t he play? I wouldn’t question the tactics though. Many have been complaining about our tactics. Too negative! We should have been more attacking! I think a history lesson is needed. We have been nothing but attacking in these games for as long as I can remember, and what was the outcome, time, and time again? Spankings, and humiliations! So, it’s understandable, and fantastic to see, that we now have a manager who recognizes our weaknesses, and sets us up in a more pragmatic manner. Also, prior to the game, we had won 5 out of 9 against the top teams, and been competitive in almost all of those fixtures. So, why would Arteta want to stray from a winning formula? Although Liverpool dominated the ball, that was the plan, and at 2-1 when Laca messed up his big chance, Leno hadn’t really had a lot to do. The plan almost worked again.
Another complaint I keep seeing is that we’re never going to get anywhere playing this way. Really? Have people just had their memories erased? In only 7/8 months, Artetaball has yielded two trophies, European football for this season, and has given us an excellent record against the top teams. One should also remember that this is with a dreadful squad of players, who’s confidence was at rock bottom. Also, we have won 3 out 4 games so far this season this season. So clearly, the way we play is still working!
To summarize: We are very early into a new process/project. Despite that, we are clearly progressing, we have an identity again, and moral around the camp is great. We are winning trophies, and beating the top teams. Just imagine how much better we can get when Arteta gets his own players in, and has more time. This season has only just begun, and we already have a 75% win rate. Of course, we need new blood, and hopefully we can get one or two more in before the window closes, but it will still be another 12/18 months until the team can really be molded into what Arteta wants.
I get that fans have no patience left after the seemingly endless regression under Wenger, but we need that patience back again, and we need to trust Arteta.