Good news guys, I’m not going to talk about the home loss to West Ham. It was ugly and unexpected but it’s past already, none of our moaning or brilliant words of advice will change the result.
I’d rather talk about what’s up next: Crystal Palace away, Liverpool at home, Newcastle away, Stoke at home, a Champions League opener, Chelsea away, a Capital One Cup fixture, Leicester City away and then the second Champions League game.
The next ten games will tell us how ready our players are and how competitive the whole squad is, since Arsène Wenger will surely be forced to rotate players in the next eight weeks.
Until then, I refuse to issue any judgment and I refuse to be dragged into any debate about who should have done what; bad performances happen and do not worry me that much until a clear pattern is visible – which obviously isn’t the case at this point.
Every single player could and should have done better against West Ham, some more than others, but we’re not into a crisis the same way we were not doomed after we lost to Aston Villa two seasons ago. Silence is the best response to such horrible days and I am glad the manager and the players limited their words to the mandatory post-match interviews; they all look willing to let the pitch do the talking, which should always be the case.
It looks like players have already moved on and are preparing for the next game, why can’t we all do the same?
We have ten tricky games ahead and we won’t have any breather because – in case you missed it – the Premier League is becoming ridiculously competitive with the insane amount of money being thrown at Clubs by television companies. The West Ham XI we faced had a player like Payet to pull the strings, while Crystal Palace will count on Cabaye, Zaha and Bolasie to hurt us and a team notoriously predictable like Stoke could potentially line-up three attacking players named Afellay, Bojan and Shaqiri at the Emirates.
In some of those games we will be asked to dominate possession and create chances, in others we will be forced to sit deep, defend and rely on counter attacks but all those matches have one thing in common: they will be very tough.
The slap we received from Bilic & Co. could be a blessing in disguise, the kick in the arse these players needed to understand there won’t be any easy game this season – either at the Emirates or away from home. Squad ohesion, grit and focus will be more important than ever and not showing up like some players did on Sunday is even more dangerous this year.
Every single point will count this season, I am happy Arsène Wenger reiterated the concept that when you can’t win a game – and it was definitely the case against West Ham – you should ensure you don’t lose it. The earlier the whole team gets the message, the better: as highlighted by Omar in his blog, there is no “I” in a football team and everyone should do what he is asked to do to ensure we rediscover the balance we had last season. It wasn’t the case against West Ham, with many players completely disconnected from the team and the overall feeling that anarchy was reigning all over the pitch.
The good news is that Arsène Wenger and his boys have plenty of time to rectify that; I’ll see you in ten weeks to discuss this squad’s actual worth – until then, back the team and enjoy some football, folks.
Thirty-something Italian, currently in Switzerland. Gooner since mid-ninties, when the Gunners defeated my hometown team, in Copenhagen. Twelve years ago I started my own blog (www.clockenditalia.com) after after some experiences with Italian websites and football magazines. Debate, don’t insult or you’re out.