This weekend saw Arsenal undergo a heavy defeat die to a resurgent Liverpool, partly inspired by Skrtel – whose name always reminds me of Squirtel the Pokemon. His first goal seemed to shock Arsenal into submission, and as Pokemon characters are all about transformation and evolution perhaps it was not surprising that we were simply swept aside by 'the Reds tide'. We had as much chance as Somerset has had with dealing with the recent deluge. Like their rivers need dredging, it looks like our squad needs some care and attention. Lack of investment is often apparent in the face of adversity. A paper-thin squad is always going to tire before a bigger squad that has more depth. And once it does tire, is there any way it can restore its old energy levels without a break in the fixture list? The other question I'm posing is this: was it a freak flash flood of a result or a sign of things to come?
I'm in two minds: a bit like Arsenal's defence on Saturday, although I'd like to think I'm a bit more switched on than they were on the day. Part of me says this is a blip. A heavy defeat can be more motivating than anything. It's not impossible to see Arsenal going on a undefeated run until the end of the season after this humiliation. That would be typical Arsenal.
However, that only applies if the squad just had a bad day at the office. I had a bad feeling about the team spirit for the first time during this game. Some of the players were ambling back when they should have been sprinting. They lost the ball easily. They laid down when they could have got up. They didn't show the level of commitment you'd expect, in short.
I was a bit shocked, as this team needs team spirit more than most previous Arsenal sides, simply because talent is not what has took us to the top of the league. It's more perspiration than inspiration, and that's why we missed Flamini's running. He epitomises the spirit we need to win trophies. Without him, the defence is exposed as we found out to our cost. Had 'Flames' not been suspended perhaps we could have avoided defeat.
My other worry though is that all is not well in the Arsenal camp. Mertesacker has been sporting a black eye, allegedly the result of an altercation with Sanogo, according to some sources. An Irish newspaper claims Giroud was up until 3am on the night before, but I'd take that allegation like the Sanogo/Mertesacker one with a pinch of salt. Yet, undeniably, something was majorly wrong with Arsenal from the off.
Once we play Manchestet United we'll know if it was a blip or not. I suspect it is and that we'll be able to get revenge on Liverpool by knocking them out of the cup, even if they have got a Pokemon up their sleeves.
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