Did we mention Arsenal are out of the title race, and now even four points adrift of a Champions League spot? Olivier Giroud is no longer the problem, scoring twice in a 3-3 home draw after scoring in the Champions League midweek, but Arsene Wenger has so many problem you don’t even know where to begin from.
Arsene Wenger, at least in the press conference after the match, sticks to the positive. Forgetting about the fact that Arsenal are off to their worst 11-match start in the last 20 years and that they’ve dropped a 2-0 lead for a second consecutive match. The front line is finally working fine, but everything behind it seems to be falling apart.
The ease in which Fulham found opportunities and a way to comeback from their early deficit is suddenly, or once again, a regular thing. Arsenal had the best defense in the Premier League for the first few matches, with Steve Bould, somewhat of a defensive coach on the side, getting most of the praise. Now, Arsenal’s defense is stattering again, with Thomas Vermaelen playing at left back while Laurent Koscienly’s presence isn’t really reassuring in the middle.
From here, a rift between Wenger and Bould seems to worsening. Someone needs to be blamed for the lack of success, for only four wins through the first 11 matches. Arsenal’s aerial game, with Podloski and Giroud has suddenly become its best trait. But playing with Mikel Arteta as the defensive midfielder is starting to have its effect on the side, still looking for a defensive stopper in what seems to be an endless quest.
There were players missing – Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey who came off the bench. Still, the lack of responsibility in the back was just too much to ignore. The way Arteta turned the ball over before causing a penalty in the second half was simply unforgivable. If missing a penalty kick is simply “part of the game” as Wenger put it after the match, being irresponsible with the ball at the edge of your own box is almost unforgivable on certain teams.
But this is Arsenal. Nice talent, but not great. A nice, soft team that will win matches along the way, but won’t bother the big boys. The really good players don’t stick around for too long, because there’s the mentality of improving today, winning tomorrow, something that’s been going on for over 5 years. That tomorrow never comes, and all those who were supposed to help it blossom simply jump off the train along the way, knowing that things are better on other tracks.
When each week a different player or a different section of the team is to blame, you start looking upwards, at the manager. Arsene Wenger keeps talking about building and about this team winning titles in the future. That future just never arrives, and meanwhile, the players that are left, like Theo Walcott as the prime example, are tired of being misused and simply lied to about the aspirations of the club.
Maybe the problem is beyond Wenger. An ownership that doesn’t want to spend; just make a profit. With that kind of policy, no manager who has a big Premier League club under his hands has any chance of meeting the fans’ expectations. Even winning at home or giving a decent defensive performance for two matches in a row seems to be too much to ask these days. At least Olivier Giroud is finding the net.