There are some things in life that make you scratch your head in disbelief, others that leave you with a sense of bewilderment, and still others that throw you onto the the floor and leave you lying there in utter and complete bafflement.
The Arsenal performance against Villa at the Grove last Saturday would definitely fall into the last category. Another late take on the game, as I didn't want too much of a knee-jerk reaction. Sadly, though, the gloom still hasn't lifted yet.
I'm sure all of us Gooners the world over would have been beaming, uncontrollably so and taking the piss out of any Mancs in sight after the game just two Saturdays ago. I think it was Arseblogger who said "what a difference a week makes" after the Manchester United mauling, this on the back of a pathetic draw to the Spuds and a defeat to Stoke.
But it couldn't be more poignant to say "what a difference a week makes," now more than ever. Wasn't this the same team to a man that controlled the game so well against a Manchester United team and won all the plaudits? As rapturous as the win against the Manky Shite was, there were large portions of the Arsenal support who were happy, but more than happy we were hopeful. Hopeful that the team could kick on from here. That the confidence would be at an upswing after the uplifting win.
We were not going to come a cropper after this? Were we? We hoped not. But normal service had resumed against Villa, at least normal as this season goes. You could also replace the word "normal" with "unpredictable," and you know it.
The Villa game would be the litmus test of whether we had turned the corner and would kick on on from here on in. I think it would have been plain to any observer to see the sheer determination and drive lacking right from the off against Martin O'Neil's men. You could brush it aside, like I tended to do in the early stages and say, "Well, its not Man U this time round, so the boys will be up for it eventually, and get the job done."
When Almunia made the save you would get the feeling that maybe it was going to be our day. Or so I thought. I cannot really comment of the rest of the match till about the 70th as I could not catch a glimpse of it owing to some "electricity difficulties." But I am informed that it wasn't too much better from what I had seen.
I was hoping to see a revitalised Arsenal come out second half, and take control of the game. But, sadly, all momentum from the Man u game had just fizzled out, much like it had "fizzled in" before the ManUSA game.
Even at 1-nil down in the 70th, we didn't create too much. There was 20 minutes on the clock, surely more than enough time to get an equaliser and a winner too! But we lacked the verve and desire to really push on from there. A complete wet blanket. It can't be a personnel problem, can it? Surely not, at least I am wont to say, that it isn't. So what is it?
I think our inconsistencies are born out of two things we sorely lack in this squad. And it's not for the first time that I am voicing these concerns. We lack leadership. And the other being sheer desire and drive. There's no other conclusions that you can draw from it. Especially since we know what they are capable off after the Manky Shite encounter.
I winced after Billy Gallas said something to the effect of him being a good captain after the big Manure win. He is so far away from the truth. I really think the leadership issue needs to be sorted out now, even at the cost of Gallas being slighted. It really is the need of the hour. And come on, it's not like any of the lads look up to him too much, so it can't really have a detrimental effect on the squad. That in effect could then see Gallas dropped to the bench, and Toure take his place.
We've tried the Gallas-Silvestre combo at the back, with mixed results at best. Maybe it's time to try out the Toure-Silvestre combo, surely it can't be much worse. With Gallas being stripped of the captaincy and subsequently dropped to the bench this idea could see the light of day. I would give the man replacing Gallas on the pitch the captains armband, and I think he should at least give it a go.
Toure is Arsenal through and through, and he is worth the experiment if not anything else. You would have to say that since Toure has been an Arsenal boy for so long he definitely needs to get a look in as captain, the lads look up to him, and well he's the man for the job at the moment.
There are some theories that Cescy would make a good captain, and surely you couldn't do much better than getting the young Spaniard to wear the armband, but I would definitely like to try out ol' Kolo first. Kolo could instill some old fashioned Arsenal pride and drive in the lads, and man do we need it right now.
Arseblogger, in response to to the performance against Villa, wanted us to buy a "leader" in the January transfer; I am at best skeptical with the most agreeable Arseblogger. I think we cannot go out shopping for someone like that. The leader has to be an Arsenal boy, and an old head at that. I think if we can do this and maybe get one or two key players we could get some more consistency.
I think we are very much an outside chance for the Prem, at best and even with just a third of the season done and dusted with. I have not seen "Champion" material from this team thus far. As euphoric as it was dispensing the Manks with disdain, it is the four losses, against, with due respect the lesser lights of the league that are seeing us languishing.
We may not be too far away from the top, being a long way to go and all that. But the inconsistency and performance thus far has not warranted a rightful title challenge.That said a quick couple of wins could get us up and running, but maybe, just maybe we may end up paying for past sins this season as far as the Prem goes.
I am however looking forward to our CL challenge this season. We could go far in the competition, the team we have now is strung in this way. More often than not it's going to some European big shite that we take on, and the boys will definitely be up for it, won't they? I sure as heck hope so.
Heads up, Gooners! Always. And a special shot out to all the fans who lingered to sing at the end of the Villa game at the Grove. You lads rule. All.