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Arsenal at West Ham: Gut check time

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Arsenal FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League Visionhaus

I think “intangibles” in sports are generally very, very overrated. Every time I hear a baseball player get called “clutch”, or someone quotes a soccer player’s “workrate”, or an athlete is said to have “heart” or “hustle” or “grit” or “passion”, I at a minimum tune out, and at a maximum take the person or source that uses those terms in place of actual analysis far less seriously.

But then, there’s games like today. Arsenal are now on nine games without a win, and while grit and passion are not repeatable skills, Arsenal need SOMETHING today that shows signs of life. This is not a technically talented team, so it’s not like they can just flip a switch and be good; they have to bring something else to the table today.

They have to bring an anger that they’ve let things get this bad. They have to bring the determination to start putting it right. One win in 10 won’t mean everything is fixed, but it will be a good morale boost for a squad that desperately needs one at the moment.

I’m not worried about the “closer to relegation than champions league” thing, and you shouldn’t be either. This team won’t get relegated. It might finish in the bottom half of the table, but relegation isn’t the automatic end product of this winless streak.

That said, Arsenal definitely need to start playing a lot better very quickly - not to save the rapidly dying (if not gone) dream of a top four finish, but to restore some pride and dignity to a team that desperately needs a shot in the arm right now.

Arsenal at West Ham United
Premier League

London Stadium

Monday, December 9, 2019

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