Arsenal and by extension, Arsene Wenger were thoroughly humiliated at Anfield by a fired-up Liverpool who put four goals past a hapless Petr Cech. It was an encounter best forgotten for the millions of fans who are emotionally invested and attached to the Gunners.
The signs of another long, tiring and disappointing season came to the fore in the opening match of the season where it required absolute grit for the team to come back and win against Leicester City at the Emirates. As refreshing as that result was, only the novice would have ignored the clear handwriting on the wall that this team is not ready.
No one is left in doubt of the intensity and pace of the Premier League. It has been described as arguably the toughest league in the world.
Only the tough, determined and motivated can get anything out this league. An x-ray of last season’s champions, Chelsea, will reveal a remarkable reality that clearly points to the hard work and determination required to triumph on this stage.
Antonio Conte was quoted to have said that he drops three pounds each day that Chelsea played. Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois both confirmed the incredible work ethic of their Italian manager.
Both players agreed unequivocally that the work rate put in after the tactical change by the Italian aided in no small measure in their victory at the end of the season. Yet these guys are not resting on their oars and are battling even harder to improve and create a better team.
Arsenal was weak and not at par with major rivals last season. With three games gone and three tenuous points earned; the negative goal difference of four showed it is going to be a long season for Wenger and his team.
The lack of depth, grit and sharpness were evident against Stoke City. It is not plausible that a team with the type of strikers Arsenal has in its fold would have 77 percent possession and yet fail to register a goal in a match against a team that can justly be categorised under the second cadre of the Premier League.
Arsenal’s bluntness is inconceivable as worrisome yet Wenger is the incurable optimist who believes that it is not blood but water that is flowing from the wound of a gunshot victim!
Poor contract situations with top stars Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil prompts the question: What does Ivan Gazidis do?
The defense is weak and poorly marshalled. The last powerful and purposeful appearance was in the FA Cup final against Chelsea. It has been more of same since then. Forget the Charity Shield!
The transfer window will be shut midnight Thursday. Arsenal’s business in the space hasn’t ben extraordinary. Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac are the two main additions. Others have been insignificant exits.
Performances so far point to a dire need for reinforcement. This is more so with the defense where hunger to win first balls is lacking and leadership seem to have flown to nowhere.
Against Liverpool, Arsenal were spineless, uncompetitive, lost and lacking in spirit. It was a disastrous testament to a team that has been in a steady decline over the past 13 years.
Will the Gunners manage to turn it around? Nothing is impossible with a willing and determined attitude.
The snag is that the framework at Arsenal is faulty and it has been for a long time!