Let’s not get too upset by the Chelsea defeat. In my book, we’ve probably got one more point than I expected by this stage of the season. Let’s review what’s happened so far and put things into perspective.
Sunderland at home. I expected three points, we got one. Two points off target.
Stoke away. I expected one point, and that’s what we got. Still two points off target.
Liverpool away. I expected defeat, but we won, so that’s one more point than I expected. So by September 2 we were exceeding my expectations.
Southampton at home was a rout, but ultimately it was just three points so I didn’t get carried away by that. Yet we still had one more point than I expected at this stage of the season.
Manchester City away. I expected defeat and we managed a point. So at this stage, we had two more points than I expected us to have.
And then came Chelsea at home. I expected a draw, as that’s how most local “derbies” pan out. And that’s why I expect us to draw with West Ham away in our next game, although we could do with the three points, of course. Especially bearing in mind the way the league tables looking, currently.
But we should ignore the league table to some extent, as it is still early on in the season.
Putting the Chelsea defeat in perspective, we’ve got one point more than I expected us to have at this stage of the season. Let’s not kid ourselves, we’ve had a tough opening to the season. That’s why I think we’re doing quite well considering who we’ve already played against.
A lot of people are saying Per Mertesacker should have started against Chelsea, and perhaps he would have made a difference at set pieces. But Arsene Wenger was worried about Fernando Torres and his movement off the ball. That’s why he selected Laurent Koscielny instead. It seemed sensible decision, until we started giving away silly free kicks on the edge of our box. In my opinion, Mertesacker gives the Arsenal defence more balance. He may be relatively slow, but his height and organisational ability adds a lot of solidity to a defence. In short, he has attributes that our other defenders do not possess. That’s why he has to play as many games as possible.
Having said that, we were unlucky against Chelsea. We deserved at least a draw and I would say we did enough to earn ourselves a narrow victory. But it wasn’t to be, so we should just dust ourselves off and be grateful that we’ve got one more point high expected at this stage of the season!