It was a tough Monday morning for me. A difficult start to the week. Even when you knew, deep down, that this weekend would probably be the one that saw Manchester City beat Fulham and surpass us on the table, you had to hold out hope. They play the games for a reason, you never know what’s going to happen until it happens. But, Manchester City did win 2-1 and have displaced Arsenal by a point.
Laughing at Spurs helped. Seeing them smash together a horror opening, a dramatic comeback, and then immediately blowing it one minute later — all in the one match — I mean, it’s art at this point. What that team does is art, horror art, but art. Really just need Spurs to continue this incredible trend, maybe fire a second interim manager on the way, and have Harry Kane walk out the door with ~50% of their goals in the Summer. Perfection, in my opinion.
The only aspect that will have been, and be, more perfect is the backtracking that so many pundits have been doing since Conte and club’s failure, and will continue to have to do as they struggle with a laundry list of new needs. Oh, it really is at the stuff of rivalry dreams.
Sadly, not even that piece of theater could full assuage the hurt and we are left returning to Arsenal’s current woes. I think there are two articles I am going to keep pushing for the rest of this season. For me, they are two thoughts I am clinging to, and what Arsenal fans are left thinking about, unless City offer us a second life.
First: The future is bright and anyone that says otherwise is absurd.
Second: Arsenal have to find a way to take this title fight the distance.
Taking a fight he distance, doesn’t have to mean winning the fight — sadly — but Arsenal can keep the distance between themselves and City close, and push toward a 90 point total that is incredibly respectable. Even a little short of 90 points is a truly fantastic season.
To do that, Arsenal have to find rebound versus Chelsea in a big way. Normally, this would feel like a match that is asking for Arsenal to bounce back emphatically. Chelsea haven’t won in 8 matches, they haven’t responded with any sort of ‘bounce’ since Potter was sacked, Lampard continues to prove to world why is really is not a good manager, and currently they sit in 12th with one foot on the beach.
Unfortunately, Arsenal’s play in recent weeks have shown the ceiling of play has dipped. With the title in a dubious position, it seems unlikely that Saliba will be risked the rest of the way. Partey looks both off his game and hurt. The team’s once sturdy, dominant foundation — from few concessions to positional control — is leaking goals. At certain points in recent matches, there are moments that simply don’t look like the team we have seen this whole year.
Arsenal are at home, but Chelsea still feel like that struggling trap team that’s down bad enough to cause you to relax, but still possessing enough talent to flip a switch on their day.
However you look look at Arsenal’s situation it’s impossible not to feel this team, at the very least, is entirely unpredictable right now.
The only thing that feels predictable is Arsenal opening the door for the same problems and shortcomings if Arteta doesn’t inject something a little different into the side. It was a topic I, and many, touched on before the City matchup. Arteta trotted out the same lineup and City played brilliantly on their way to carving through Arsenal to take control of the title race. I think Arteta HAS to take the risk and make changes.
The problem is, Arteta doesn’t seem like he agrees with that stance when it comes to his lineup selection. I understand the options are limited and unrehearsed, but at some point people don’t care. He’s come under some fire in recent weeks, almost for the first time this season, and perhaps that will ignite something in him.
For now, we wait to hear from him in his pre-match press conference.
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