Yes, it’s that time of year again, Arsenal have taken a damaging defeat. Is this the beginning of the end in regards to their season? Well, if you read the papers you would think so, with broken cannons everywhere. “Turmoil” they say, still top of the league, they don’t say.
The red-top papers are loving it. It’s as if they have been waiting for this one damaging defeat, so they can squash any thought of an Arsenal title challenge. Arsenal’s failure always makes a good news story, and the media has latched on to this, exaggerating Mertesacker and Ozil’s ‘bust up’. The Daily Mail ludicrously called it “fighting in the camp”, when in fact the two players are best friends off the pitch and were clearly just frustrated by the loss, but this reaction from the media is not at all surprising.
The fact is Arsenal are two points clear at the top of the table and in a good position heading into the Christmas period. Far from “Turmoil” as the media would suggest. Ludicrously, Match of the Day’s official twitter page (@BBCMOTD) tweeted yesterday, asking “Are Arsenal still in the title race?” They have now deleted this tweet, and rightly so, as I think it is a fair point to say that Arsenal have been the most consistent side in the Premier League this season are currently leading the title race.
Yesterday, after Liverpool’s convincing 5-0 win over Spurs (which was great viewing as an Arsenal fan), a very Liverpool biased Sky Studio (that included the current Liverpool Captain) concluded that Liverpool were title contenders. Bear in mind that this is same team that Arsenal brushed aside 2-0, just a matter of weeks ago. It’s ridiculous how Liverpool are now considered title contenders, but Arsenal are in “turmoil”, especially considering Liverpool were torn apart by Hull a fortnight ago!
Away from the doom and gloom, there were positives from the game against Manchester City at the weekend. City have conceded only 2 goals at home in the league all season, and we managed to net 3 in one game. Another positive is Theo Walcott’s return to the starting XI, adding a new dynamic to the side whilst bagging a brace too. Going forward we were strong, but there is no shying away from the obvious negatives. Missed chances ultimately cost us, as well as the multiple defensive errors leading to the bulk of Man City’s goals. The linesman didn’t help either, but ultimately Man City were worthy winners.
Arguably the biggest worry from the game itself was not the result, but the injury to Laurent Koscielny. The gash on his knee looks like something from a horror film, and could see him out for a little while. The central defensive partnership between Koscielny and Mertasacker has been a pivotal part of the season thus far, and although Thomas Vermaelen’s a very capable replacement, Mertesacker and Koscielny complement each other so well that he will be sorely missed, although it is hoped he will be fit for next week’s game.
Arsenal’s recent form has not been ideal with a draw against a very good Everton side, and of course defeats to Napoli and Manchester City, making next Mondays game against Chelsea a must win to stay top of the league and to keep the title push alive. I feel as if the game against Chelsea could be seasoning defining, which makes it the ideal time for Arsene Wenger to get his first win over a Jose Mourinho managed side.
Another defeat next week and the broken cannons will be out in force once again, so I’m desperately hoping for a positive result to avoid the media’s brutal backlash.