I don’t know if you saw the game, but even if you didn’t, I’m sure you know that Arsenal were hot garbage against Östersunds yesterday. They needed to do nothing more than protect a 3-0 lead, and they barely did that, conceding two goals in less than 90 seconds and never looking comfortable against a team they should have beaten 3-0 again without even breaking a sweat.
But, despite losing on the day, they got the job done and they move on to face...somebody in the Round of 16 (I’m writing this Thursday, before the draw). Their performance in this game doesn’t give a whole lot of hope about that upcoming tie, much less about the impending League Cup final, but when asked about the game afterwards, Jack Wilshere was at least honest:
We were nowhere near good enough. We improved a little bit in the second half but it still wasn’t good enough.
I hate sports platitudes, and most interviews with athletes and coaches bore me to tears, because they never say anything honest. That’s why this was refreshing - it may not have been super-insightful or nuanced, but at least Wilshere was honest. He also said
we know what quality they want to play with and maybe we underestimated them a little bit...You can’t start a game like that and expect to compete at this level
You think? Anyway, I know this doesn’t change anything, and I know comments like that aren’t a magical switch that has now been flipped which means Arsenal will now slay all before them until late May, but it is nice to hear a player at least try to hold his team accountable. What it means for Sunday, I have no idea, but one can dream that fires have been lit.