English Language faced one of its toughest days in recent history as pundits, fun-pokers and disgruntled fans tore through dictionaries for befitting adjectives to describe Arsenal’s debacle in their Champions League opener at the Westfalenstadion.
English, like Arsenal, failed the test. Words were simply not enough.
It was horrifying, shambolic, toothless, and anything but deserving of a team to allow them further participation in the “Champions” league. Dortmund did not defeat Arsenal – last season’s game against them at the Emirates was a defeat, 6-3 to City was a defeat. Arsenal were blown away, like they never came. It was like coming to the train station to get a ride and getting shredded by the engine gears and smashed with the pistons. From first minute to last, there was not a single moment we won’t wish to remain lost in the past.
For those who did not see the game, you were the luckiest in the world: It was, indeed, painful to watch.
But besides that obvious conclusion and the fact that Podolski read into Ramsey and Ozil’s countenances and chose to undertake a shin-pad treasure hunt rather than be embarrassed before a few high school mates in the stands, what else did we notice?
- Bad, it was, but Necessary too
Failure, like pills, are never friends to the nature of man, but one who stacks dirty linens perennially could do with his laundry bag being inadvertently zipped open in full glare of the neighbors. Did we really want another episode of playing badly but grabbing a point? I dare say it was necessary the team had this shoved down their throats so they know the previous results have been very much undeserved miracles. What we saw in Germany was what Everton could have done at Goodison save for their lack of concentration during the final stages of that game. And the group stage being a 6-match schedule, with Dortmund being the apparent real force we have to overcome to avoid the Bayern’s, it was probably the only match we could afford to lose. But a defeat is only good when you obliterate its memory with a win in the next game, right?
- We lost to the Real Arsenal
Dortmund played with such pace, precision and predation that made every Arsenal fan check the calendar. It has been 10 long years since we last supported a team wearing the cannon play like that. It was a performance that was reminiscent of the Invincibles, the perfect combo of finesse and steel, the team which played the original Wenger brand of football rivaled only by Cryuff’s total football and Pep’s taka. Gooners world over turned out to watch the descendants of that golden generation in the red-and-white, but unfortunately were shown to them in the yellow. Should we be looking to Jurgen Klopp to restore those glory days?
- Arteta Will NEVER Be The Man
The captain was really lucky to have gotten away with what looked like an abandoned shin challenge on Mkhitaryan early in the game, earning the benefit of doubt from the referee.
However, there was no masking the fact he is flaccid when the job to be done is to shield the back four as Die Kloppmannshaft kept bamboozling Arsenal at every charge. He was not wholly to blame for Immobile’s goal as there was an element of the “lucky bounce” while the forward ran through on goal, but the confidence defenders have in the ability of the man just ahead to buy them precious few seconds to allow them adjust their positions does not resonate with Mikel Arteta. He has done a laudable make-shift job in this role for three years now, but at 34, it probably has become too much to ask, admitting frankly in his post-match comments, “we could not cope”. (Computer, substitute ‘we’ with ‘I’)
- Fix the Pass Map
Arteta’s post-match words after the game also faulted the team on giving the ball away too much, and going by the innumerable times we conceded goals to quick breaks last season after losing the ball, one would have thought that would be one key area to be visited by the coaching crew. ‘The Arsenal Way’ has long been framed on quick exchange of passes which should lead towards the opponents’ goal rather than end up in the back of our own net. We may have brought in Shad Forsythe to find out the hex-factor that binds Arsenal players to the treatment table, but Arsene Wenger now has a greater job of seeking out means to fix our passing game, the one remaining piece of his eventful but waning reign.
Do you agree with me fellow Gooners?
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