Time for a reality check. After notching up 10 goals in their first two premier league games (first time in history) and destroying Celtic to qualify for the Champions’ League proper, people were high on Arsenal and Arsene Wenger’s ‘project’. They were scoring goals for fun, and looked unstoppable, perhaps this would finally be the year?
It all sounded pretty good, but let me tell you what really happened. First, Arsenal played a severely, severely depleted Everton side. In addition, their rock at the back, Joleon Lescott, pleaded not to be picked for the match, as his move to City was imminent. This was ignored, and Lescott rewarded his manager’s faith by not showing up. Two of Arsenal’s 6 were gifts from set-pieces: Vermaelen and Gallas waltzed in and got free headers right down the middle. Wait, isn’t that where Lescott plays? But still, 6-1 is pretty good no matter the circumstances – I can give them that. Then they went to Parkhead and were extremely lucky to come away with a 2-0 advantage. An own goal and a deflection off Gallas’s arse (who was trying his best to move out of the way of the ball). Flowing football. Then they beat Pompey 4-1. Pompey can barely field a team, so that was nothing to get too excited about. The return leg of the Emirates was marred by Eduardo’s theatrics, which unfairly squashed Celtic’s chances of progressing. I’m not trying to take anything away from them, but this is what happened, is it not?
United were Arsenal’s first test and they failed it. The Gunners outplayed the hosts but they continue to show that they have yet to learn how to grind results out. Playing pretty doesn’t win you the title. It was the same old Arsenal (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), so let’s hold off on the excitement for now, o.k?