I wasn’t expecting much from Arsenal today. Manchester City away has been a nightmare fixture for a while, and the Gunners are missing a slew of starters. I pretty much knew Arsenal were going to lose today. And yet they found a way to make an expected loss more painful than I thought it would be.
It’s the worst start in club history. The second worst start of any team in Premier League history. No points, no goals, nine conceded. I’m not sure how much of it is Mikel Arteta’s fault, but some of it has to be on him. The start is explainable given the fixtures and absences, but that doesn’t make it acceptable. I don’t think he’ll be sacked, but he’s got to be on the hot seat, right?
There really isn’t much to say about the performance today that wasn’t patently obvious. It just wasn’t good enough. It’s disheartening to see Arsenal fail to do such simple things like mark correctly or pressure guys sending balls into the box. Yet here we are. Calum Chambers and Rob Holding cannot mark. I don’t understand it. That’s U10-level stuff. They’re experienced, full professionals, and they can’t get it right.
Granit Xhaka gonna Granit Xhaka. There is no defending leaving his feet to fly through a tackle. Even if the contact itself was minimal, it’s a brain-dead, stupid thing to do. The red might be slightly harsh, but I don’t have any real problem with it. All told, I think we can accept that he’s going to do something extremely dumb once or twice a season, so in a sick way, I’m glad he picked a match where Arsenal weren’t getting anything anyway to have one of his moments rather than one in which they might have a chance at points.
At a time when Arsenal could do with some kind of break, some kind of luck - a good bounce, a favorable call - they absolutely cannot seem to get one. At 2-0 down, Ederson makes a massive mistake and ESR gets his foot on the ball. It spins wide. Maybe a different player on a different team doesn’t get sent off for the challenge Granit Xhaka put in. That’s the “something” that Arsenal need right now, and they just aren’t getting it.
And scoring a goal at some point would be nice.
At least the club has the international break to get healthy and get things back on track. They need it. This is beyond dire.