Everywhere you looked at on the Emirates pitch after a not-so-surprising home loss for Arsenal, you saw a tragic figure. Jack Wilshere, once again failing to deliver amid huge expectations. Laurent Koscielny, deleting all the praises with reckless challenges once again. And Arsene Wenger, who is running out of excuses to sell the media and the public.
But we’ll begin with Wilshere, who was positioned in a more defensive role than usual, due to the absence of Mikel Arteta, headlining a long list of injured players Arsenal have to deal with, and it only got longer after their 3-1 loss to Aston Villa.
Wilshere seems to have been listening too much to Wenger and the media ever since his wonderful match against Barcelona in the champions league. Like a lot of English talents, there hasn’t been too much of a progression in his ability ever since he was first spotted. Sure, a 14-month injury has something to do with it, but there’s something to be said about being managed the wrong way and doing the wrong things on the pitch.
Aston Villa, like many teams in the Premier League have noticed, knew getting to Wilshere was the key. Tomas Rosicky, for all of his qualities, is someone you roll the dice on. Twice, through some clever 1-2 passing, the Czech midfielder found himself in the box, but managed to mess up the situation, either by shooting straight at Brad Guzan, or simply rocketing the shot over the bar.
So Villa pressured Wilshere whenever they could, knowing the youngster won’t back away from the challenge. Instead of putting the ball in Ramsey’s feet, Wilshere did what Villa knew he would: Try and do everything on his own, resulting in turnovers, bad decisions, a yellow card and a sulky mood all afternoon, not helping Arsenal at all as they failed in handling the counter attacks and build up enough pressure to find their way back into the match again.
Laurent Koscielny has proven again and again what a clutch player he is on both ends of the pitch with goals and saves, but every once in a while he has to destroy his reputation by making silly mistakes. His tackle on Benteke wasn’t a foul, and Arsenal got screwed on that occasion, but that wasn’t why they lost. His challenge later on that earned him his second yellow card could have been a straight red with other referees, and Arsenal had nothing to complain about.
This leaves us with Wenger, who ended the match with an apology to the fans, but not forgetting to cover his own behind by saying the team is on the constant lookout for new players, but maybe there is no one fitting to sign. Maybe he forgot about almost three months of summer he had to make the most of, but it’s easier blaming the referees and making it seem like bad luck.
Arsenal will look better, there’s no doubt, but for now, with injuries plaguing the squad, there’s plenty to worry about, and Arsene Wenger hasn’t looked like a man with answers to these situation for a very long time.