Arsenal Being Arsenal Again!

Arsenal a far from boring these days but maybe the Gunner’s support would prefer the predicability of 1-0 wins if it meant more success for the club.

The North London side managed to edge Leicester City in the first Premier League game of the season but their defence didn’t impress in the 4-3 victory.

Yesterday they couldn’t find away past a stubborn Stoke City side. The Arsenal midfield fell asleep just after half-time and the defence was once again a weak-link as Jese grabbed a winner on his Stoke debut.

We’ve seen this story so many times from the Gunners under Arsene Wenger, especially in recent seasons.

They dominated possession having 77% of the ball. They had eighteen shots compared to Stoke’s eleven but Wenger’s side only had six on target.

Now the signings of Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac are good but are they enough to get the club back into the top four and challenging for the league title?

The contract sagas that surround Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a distraction no one at the Emirates needs.

The real issue seems that the squad look mentally fragile. They often lack belief that they can go to the trenches with teams and win dogged ties.

As I’ve said they still look vulnerable at the back. Granit Xhaka still needs to improve when he’s protecting in front of his defenders. Darren Fletcher was much more influential in that role for the Potters yesterday.

Wenger at least admitted his side were hopeless at the back for the Stoke goal:

‘First by losing the ball and then we didn’t defend properly.’

‘Last week we conceded three goals from three shots. Today we have to look at ourselves.’

It’s all very well having over 75% of the ball but if you can’t find the net with it then it’s pointless, especially if you can’t score in the other end.

Wenger blamed the referee’s performance for the result and the Frenchman always has excuses but the fact is that his side don’t create enough clear cut chances and the longer a games goes without a goal the more panicked things become.

At a top club like Arsenal the attitude should always be about the team and what they do. Officials will always have off days or give things against you, if you can’t deal with that and remain composed then you won’t win titles. It’s about meeting adversity and rising above it.

They haven’t won their opening two league games since 2009-10 and that’s simply not good enough. After stating things would change after Wenger’s contract extension, nothing actually has. They are still a good team but not a great unit.

Teams like Stoke and Leicester know that they’ll create chances against the Gunners and they also know that Arsenal won’t finish teams off as they should given the amount of possession they have in games. No side really fears this Arsenal side and that’s the truth.

I believe that Wenger’s era changed during the move to the Emirates. They went from a lethal side feared throughout Europe to a team that were no longer ruthless or hungry for titles.

Arsene knew he had to be a bit more frugal in the transfer market and that he had to be safe in the Premier League, qualifying for the Champions League was the new target. In that period Wenger did extremely well and protected the club by taking on so much of the responsibility.

But once the stadium move was safely negotiated and the club’s funds were once again strong, the team failed to rediscover that winning, ruthless mentality.

The club are in a rut and it could be a slump that sees them again struggle this term.

Pretty football will only get you so far but they need to be clinical and need to show desire while in the battle. I just don’t think they have it in them and I’m not sure Wenger has it in him to turn things around to get them back in the title picture.

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