Sunday's win at Goodison Park against Everton, which came on the heels of last Wednesday night’s victory away to Wolves, deflected the previous Sunday’s home defeat to Newcastle.
However, this season the gunners have fostered more questions than answers with regards to winning the Premiership.
A certain form of inconsistency has crept in.
Their gallant win against Man City was sandwiched between defeats against arguably average league sides—the Baggies and the Magpies. Granted that losses will occur but, for title contenders, those against minnows leave much to desire. Even their tortured wins, against Birmingham and West Ham at the Emirates, paint a not-ready-yet impression in the minds of the faithful.
A review would suggest a worrying inability to unlock any opposition that keeps its positional discipline while defending deep. This deficiency has planted a seed of courage into all teams that visit the Emirates.
The Reds, it must be said, know only one way of playing: A sweet attacking game regardless of what the other team does. Hence, when it works out for them, they are a beauty to behold. However, when it doesn’t, they become predictable victims of their own making.
The transitory nature of their central defensive unit has not helped either. With the painful exception of injured but remarkable Thomas Vermaelen, the core defensive pairs are basically adapting to their new roles: The combined duo has been either Djourou/Squillaci, Squillaci/Koscielny or Koscielny/Djourou.
Furthermore, Koscielny’s penchant for red cards is a sad development. It has largely been hit or miss in performance with the current defensive setup.
In the old days, Arsenal grinded out results or drew, but it did not lose in such a regularly miserable fashion. The now nostalgic refrain, "One nil to Arsenal" while derided by some, drew the respect of those whom they played against. Playing George Graham’s Gunners paralyzed teams before the game.
In recent years, there has been a growing perception that Arsenal is a soft touch, especially defensively.
Arsene Wenger, for all his scholarly postmatch observations, cannot cover what has become a sore issue—poor defending. The delusions of grandeur have run their course.
Thankfully, the January transfer window is around the corner. Fans hope it’s not too late!