Football is a funny old game isn’t it? All the time Luiz played and made cockup after cockup, I wished Holding was playing. Then, because of an injury to our ageing Brazilian, Holding started and it wasn’t long before I wished our Brazilian had been fit. The same could be said at right back with Bellerin too. An alternative to what is out there on the pitch always seems better when things aren’t going well.
In reality though, when an inconsistent Liverpool team who by their own standards, have been pretty average this season, turn up and totally play Arsenal off the park, it shows just how weak a squad Mikel Arteta has at his disposal.
When yet again, our captain seems to not give a s**t, one can only wonder why he remains on the pitch for as long as he does. At least Pepe looked as if he was trying, even though he was pretty average. In fact not one player performed particularly well. Odegaard wasn’t even in the game, Ceballos was shocking and in general, our football was up there with some of the worst Arsenal have played under Mikel Arteta.
Yes, we missed ESR and Saka for their energy and their ability and we also missed the often much maligned Xhaka too. But even so, if Mikel Arteta didn’t know already, he knows now that his squad players aren’t perhaps good enough to step in when required. A manager can perhaps get away with it when just one forced change sees a squad player step in but when it’s three or four, there’s problems. Well, there is at Arsenal but Arteta dismissed such excuses:
I don’t care who is missing, that’s excuses. International break is an excuse and I hate excuses. They were much better than us in every single department, they fully deserved to win the match by a bigger margin. I am fully responsible for that. The rest, about one player, two players or three players not being available is just excuses.
But, I honestly believe one of Mikel Arteta’s biggest problems sit with his captain. He’s not performing, he’s not leading the team on the pitch and in my opinion, he’s not even trying. He didn’t show an ounce of emotion when his number came up from the sideline.
Arsenal had two shots on goal!
After the game, Mikel Arteta spoke to Arsenal Media:
First of all, I apologise to our supporters for the display and the show that we saw today that I am very, very disappointed about. When you don’t do the basics right against a team like Liverpool, you don’t have any chance even to complete in the game, which is exactly what happened. It’s unacceptable. At that level it’s unacceptable. To not be at 100% is unacceptable to our people and for a lot of work that we put in so what happened today is nowhere near what we want to do.
It gives you a really bad gut feeling. It’s a big shock to the system that one. We weren’t expecting that one the way they were training, the way they’ve been playing but I can put it down to the level that Liverpool played today, which was really, really high as well. But ours was so far [below], so bad – it was unacceptable. Talking on the pitch, outside the pitch, in the dressing room, in front of the cameras is easy. We have to put our head down, take all the shots and the criticism because we deserve that and show a different face on Thursday.
You know what, I didn’t think Liverpool were particularly good and a better organised team with more passion in it, would have beaten them. Jota should never have been allowed to beat Chambers/Holding in the air, Leno should not allowed the shot from Salah to go through his legs and as for their third, the attempted pass to Cedric by Gabriel was simply awful, as was the defending in the box which followed.
Arsenal simply didn’t get anything right. The passing was woeful, the desire to win a challenge, non existent and in all honesty, on days like yesterday I really couldn’t find a single reason to defend Mikel Arteta or any one Arsenal player. Collectively, I thought Arsenal were awful.
Looks like Mikel Arteta will be without Luiz and Tierney for a few weeks which isn’t good news, certainly Tierney.
See you in the comments.