MR HYDE is back! In this schizophrenic season of theirs, supporting Arsenal is really like playing Russian roulette – you simply can’t tell if you are going to finish a game heaving a sigh of relief for another great escape or dying in agony at another stupid loss. Pardon the one-tune whine – it all depends on which Arsenal would turn up for the match – and woe to the Gooners. In the game against Wigan on Tuesday morning it was the bad Arsenal who turned up. Cue another day of mourning.
Granted, the Gunners gave all they could to the game, but Wigan outwitted and outran them to hit Arsenal with two goals in the opening 10 minutes. Their fluid defensive line left Arsenal in a chaos and by the time they got their bearings, the Gunners, especially Wenger, just did not know how to respond.
Crucially, the Wigan debacle also exposed Arsenal’s deficiencies on the bench. They need to address their strength in depth if they hope to lift any trophies next year. The silver lining is that the club’s biggest shareholder Stan Kroenke had chosen this pathetic game to drop in at Emirates Stadium. Hopefully, he saw how Arsenal desperately need to buy players if they want to end their trophy drought.
Worse than the three points dropped, though, is the loss of Mikel Arteta to ankle injury for the rest of the season. Not only because this is a crucial time in the Champion’s League berth battle, but Arteta has been the key to Arsenal’s many “resurgences” this season. Arteta was also instrumental in their thrilling 5-3 win against Chelsea last October, so he will be sorely missed when Chelsea come to Emirates tonight.
The good news is Laurent Koscielny will return in the centre of defence after a two-game ban. Without Arteta, the defence have to step up their game, especially to break Chelsea’s counter attacks and keep Didier Drogba, Arsenal’s bogeyman, at bay.
Of course, it can’t be a worst time to play Chelsea – now that they are high from their win over Barcelona in the Champion’s League. The Gunners face a rough ride should Chelsea repeat their midweek defensive bravura. If Barcelona could not find a way through, can Arsenal?
Hariati believes Dr Jekyll will turn up tonight but still hopes that Chelsea will have their eye on the prize at Camp Nou instead.
- Gunners got to get their aim right
- Return of the King
- Go gun down the Magpies
- Getting back to the business of winning
- Back on Track