I said in yesterday’s pre-match that this was a ‘barometer’ fixture for us.
Win, and we could reasonably start expecting good things from this season. Lose or draw… not so much.
Well, it was a painful but entirely deserved defeat, the winning goal coming inevitably from Jamie Vardy, who has joined the likes of Drogba and Rooney as an Arsenal nemesis.
We had a reasonable first half hour without creating many opportunities, just one or two half chances. For the rest of the game we seemed to be bereft of ideas in the attacking third.
I’ll leave it to the better tacticians among our commenters to get into the nitty gritty of what we did wrong, but the big picture was that we lacked creativity, we were slow to the point of glacial in moving into attack and too many players were below par (Aubameyang had to take a tablet part way through the first half – was he fit? He didn’t seem it. Dani Ceballos meanwhile looked like he’d taken a tablet before kick-off – a sleeping tablet).
Taking stock of this season, we had a comfortable opening day win at Fulham which looks less impressive as each week goes by and Fulham’s uselessness is further exposed.
We lost away at Man City and Liverpool. Meanwhile our home wins against West Ham and Sheffield United were both very hard fought and – if we’re honest – a little lucky.
So that’s one really good performance this season out of six, and that was against the worst club in the division.
Before you accuse me of being too negative, let me state that I love the extra organisation and commitment we have gained under Mikel Arteta, but there is something missing.
I back El Patron to find the answer, and I’m sure it will be something to do with the way we set the team up, but we haven’t found it so far.
Leicester deserve credit for their win. They defended well and, once Vardy came on with half an hour to go, they broke with speed and purpose. They showed us how it’s done.
Yes, our early disallowed goal perhaps should have been allowed, but it’s not as if we didn’t still have the best part of 90 minutes to win the game even after that disappointment.
Somehow Arteta has to find a way of releasing our creative potential without undermining the solidity he has brought to the team.
Old Toilet next weekend would be a good place and time to regain our momentum.
Player Ratings From RC78
Leno – 5
Bellerin – 6
Luiz – 6
Gabriel – 6
Tierney – 7
Ceba – 3
Partey – 5.5
Xhaka – 5
Auba – 4
Laca – 5
Saka – 6
Arteta – 4