THE SKY IS FALLING!!!
HIDE YOUR KIDS!!!
HIDE YOUR WIVES!!!
BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES!!!
Sure it feels like the end of the world. Sure it feels like this was worst result and performance one could feasibly expect from this Arsenal team, or any team. You would be right; after zero points after a game is practically the worst result any team can get. But it is not the end of the world, at least not yet. And it’s not the end of the season for the Arsenal as some are probably predicting. Maybe not yet.
The game itself was not one, I for example thought, would be any different from any of the previous nine times Arsenal has met West Ham in the Premier League. Even when Kouyate took the lead for the Hammers, my mind was cast back to the many times before when Arsenal had had to come from behind to win the game.
With Bellerin missing out through injury, the team put out was slightly different from that which played the Community Shield against Chelsea; Matthieu Debuchy replacing the young Spaniard. Up front Arsene elected to go with the Frenchman instead of Theo Walcott. Apart for that. the team played in the same 4-1-4-1 deployed against Chelsea last week, with Santo Cazorla playing on the left of the attack and the Ox on the right. After ditching that formation about the middle of last season, it was a bit surprising to see it being deployed again today.
Analysts are probably going to credit West Ham for a remarkable performance; and they should, as Slaven Bilic’s men played really good on the day. But to say they were truly deserving of all the points is stretching the truth a little bit. They might have played lightly better than the Arsenal but the goals were cheap goals to concede for any team.
For the first goal, the blame should sure go to the debutant goalkeeper, Petr Cech. Anyone who has watched this team over the past few years will know that the team always defend free kicks with a high defensive line. This acts as an offside trap and means that even if the ball is played in, it either lands too close to the keeper or too far away from goal for an onrushing attacking player to be able to make a meaningful header.
If Cech had stayed on his line as he should have, because as the ball played in Dmitri Payet was too far away for him to come and collect, Kouyate’s header would have been straight down his throat.
If there is some debate as whether the Czech keeper was at fault for the first goal, there is definitely no question about who to blame for the second. Sure, Oxlade-Chamberlain lost the ball where he shouldn’t be losing the ball again, but Mauro Zarate’s shot should have been goalkeeping practice for a keeper of Cech’s calibre. Or a goalkeeper of any calibre. Only Petr Cech would probably be able to explain why he took two steps to his left as the shot swerved to his right.
There is no way a coach can legislate for a keeper making two serious goalkeeping errors in a match. And as it was shown last season at St. Mary’s, when this team concedes two gaols to blatant goalkeeping errors, it is very difficult for it to find its way back.
The most worrying thing however, for the coach, would be how difficult it was for this team to create clear-cut chances. Once again, a visiting goalkeeper to the Emirates was made to look like Manuel Neuer. This, coming a few days after the coach said he would love to see more goals coming from all across the team. One wonders if this performance, if not the result would force the manager’s hand in the transfer window. Probably not.
There was probably a hint of complacency about the team’s preparation and general play today, particularly after such a successful pre season. If ever a reality check was needed for this team, this is the perfect one. We travel to south London as guests of Crystal Palace seven days from now and this team needs to pick itself up and pick itself up quick. After all there are only 37 games left.
It might not seem like it, based on today’s performance, but the bare bones of a title-challenging team exists with this squad. I suspect the coach knows that too. All that remains is for the team to show forth its potential and fire away on all guns.
The sky isn’t falling. At least not yet.
COME ON YOU RIP ROARING GUNNERS!!!!!!!!!!!!