Finally, the money is there, Puma are on board so we can afford to shop in Harrods rather than at Lidl and Aldi. Last season we won the FA Cup, our first trophy since Noah was a boy, one less albatross round our collective neck.
Before the season started we had signed Alexis, Chambers, Debuchy and Ospina as well as finally welcoming Campbell into the squad, in the final minutes of the transfer window we snatched Welbeck from Manure. Great business we all thought.
Ramsey is back to his best, Wilshire is over his ankle problems, Walcott will be back in a matter of weeks and even Diaby has completed ninety minutes for first time in six years.
Add them to the cocktail and include Ozil as the cherry on top and we have a squad fit to win the Premiership. Well we have, haven’t we?
Well, have we?
The pre-season ended with our second trophy. A 3 – 0 win over the Champions and the Community Shield is nestling in the Emirates trophy cabinet.
Saturday 16th August. First game of the season and Crystal Palace are put to the sword, well actually we have to come from behind and win with an injury time goal from Ramsey, but no matter, we’re up and running.
Tuesday 19th August. Champions League qualifier 0 – 0 away to Besiktas. The general consensus? A good result. We can easily finish the job at The Ems.
Saturday 23rd August. Away to Everton, 2 – 0 down at half-time and outplayed. Goals on 83 and 90 minutes rescue a point. “This result shows our resilience and mental strength” say’s the manager.
Wednesday 27th August. Home to Besitkas for the qualifier second leg, Alexis scored his first goal for Arsenal on the stroke of half-time and from the moment Debuchy was dismissed for a second yellow card we clung on in ever greater desperation until the final whistle. Still, job done, qualification achieved as well as one of the main targets for the season.
Sunday 31st August. Away to newly promoted Leicester City, on twenty minutes Alexis scores a beauty, three minutes later Ulloa shreds our defence and equalises. We huff and puff for the next 67 minutes but that’s it, two points dropped.
Saturday 13th September. Home to the Champions, we start like champions, for twenty minutes we tear City apart…but can’t score. On twenty-eight minutes we fall for a sucker punch and Aguero gives City the lead. Arsenal heads dropped and the Champions started to play, but all was not lost, goals by Wilshire (64) and Alexis (74) put us back in the driving seat and then at a corner we blow it once again and allow one of their centre-backs a free header and flush another two points down the toilet.
Tuesday 16th September. Borussia Dortmund away, first game in the Champions League group stage. The first half was a nightmare of relentless pressure by Dortmund and a total lack of anything approaching a coherent tactical plan to deal with it. Our attempts at passing the ball to each other were lamentable, on the whole, the one chance we created was squandered. Once again a sucker punch saw our mid-field and defence go AWOL with only seconds of the half remaining, allowing the far from immobile Ciro Immobile to run from deep and place the ball beyond the stranded Szczesny.
Just three minutes into the second half Immobile was allowed the freedom to set up Aubameyang to score the second. Dortmund had a string of further chances but a combination of bad poor shooting and Szczesny’s skill kept the score to 2 – 0.
I know the previous paragraphs make pretty dire reading but they only reflect what has been a pretty dire start to the season.
I think we have all seen that there is a lack of cohesion in the side, there seems to be confusion among the players about their individual roles. OK, injuries to Debuchy and Giroud haven’t helped but it seems nobody is able to step up to fill the gaps. It seems obvious to me that Wenger doesn’t know his best formation, nor does he seem to know where he should play individuals.
Looking back over the last eight games, it seems as though it will be difficult to win the Premiership. We should still be able to get through to the Champions League knock-out stage, and you never know how the cup competitions will go.
So, do we have the personnel? Do we have the character? Do we have the will?
Are we kidding ourselves?
Written by Norfolk Gooner