So Lukas Podolski scored a pretty goal in the Champions League; so what? Arsenal look confused, slow and boring, just without the necessary grit that came along with that team of better years. The Arsene Wenger project looks dull and unsuccessful, and all the talk of rebuilding and profit margins won’t change that fact.
Failure is a harsh word, but after their 0-0 draw against Aston Villa, a team with only one win at their home ground, Arsenal are 6th with 5 wins in 13 matches and 10 points behind the league leaders. Not all is lost, but they’re not where they should be, based on their name and yes, the caliber of some of their players.
But teams have learned what ticks for Arsenal. Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski. Take them out, and the rest just doesn’t know where to go. Olivier Giroud has grown accustomed to the game and is looking a lot more mobile and dangerous in recent weeks, but he shouldn’t be trying to create for himself. It simply looks bad when he drifts to the wing and tries to cross or dribble his way into a shooting position.
Without a good match from Cazorla, watched closely, there wasn’t much Aaron Ramsey could do to take over in the play maker role. There seems to be a lack of organization in the Arsenal midfield, with Mikel Arteta playing the DM role, Ramsey drifting to one of the wings while Cazorla is in the center of things. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain? One big nothing this season, with all the talk of potential and such thrown out the window.
The defense held it’s own against a physical Villa attack. Christian Benteke isn’t easy to handle, but no one else but him will create anything for Aston Villa, which makes it easier to focus and hone in on one player. The rest was just a long painful watch of a team that used to be known for being soft but ample in great passing and flowing football. Now, there’s not a lot of confidence in the defending, especially with Laurent Koscielny in the lineup while a tired, slow looking day from the men who are supposed to be pushing Arsenal forward made this match anything but worth watching.
The changes Wenger made did nothing to change the match. Gervinho’s confidence is shattered after a promising start to the season, and with every touch he looks more and more like a player waiting to get out, hardly wanting to be on the pitch. Andrei Arshavin rarely looks like a man who cares much about the deterioration of his club career, but it’s rare to see from such a gifted player anything resembling the man half of Europe went chasing after in 2008 and 2009.
There’s supposed to be planning and thought in everything Arsenal do. From the moves by the board, to the decisions by Arsene Wenger before the season and during the matches and obviously in the play fans expect to see. Maybe there is; the problem is that on all levels, Arsenal look like a mess, far from where the visions had people expecting them to be. A failure on all levels, and not for the first year.