19 October 2014

A battle-cry: could the Hull result be just what Arsenal needs?

Call it a shock to the system. For as frustrating and as maddening as our performances have been to date, the draw with Hull seems like the first truly unacceptable one. Hear me out. For each previous draw (or loss), there has been some kind of extenuating circumstance to put the result in context, if only to rationalize if not justify it. The same just can't be said for the Hull result. If anything, it's more than we deserve while still being a shocker. We somehow kept a point—barely—thereby reducing the damage to our campaign while still suffering the kind of result that should jolt the squad from its torpor. Instead of lamenting our woeful state, there's a chance—however slim—to seize and run with.

18 October 2014

Arsenal are living on borrowed time after that execrable excuse

I'm too tired to be as angry as I supposed I should be. The match against Hull was supposed to provide us an opportunity to start building momentum, to start salting away points and climb the table. Instead, we barely escaped by the skin of our collective teeth thanks to a magical, magnificent effort from one player. We nicked a point. At home. Against Hull. In stoppage-time. The concerns and attendant excuses are growing too numerous too, er, enumarate, and it makes little sense to miss the forest for the trees. Aside from a ten-minute stretch against Aston Villa and a longer stretch against Galatasaray, we're looking feeble and toothless.

Gunners 2-2 Tigers: I'd call this a highlight-video, but...ugh

Well, at least we didn't lose. That's hardly a rallying-cry, but maybe it'll be the standard we set for ourselves. Less disappointment or frustration that way. Were it not for stoppage time, well, we would have lost this one. As it stands, a bit of wizardry from Alexis saved our hash when he dribbled through about half of Hull's defense before laying off for Welbeck to slot it home in the 1st minute of extra time, our fifth stoppage-time goal of the season. Last gasps, indeed—or are these death-throes? 

Has Arsène scuttled Wilshere's deep-lying development?

After two weeks pondering Jack Wilshere make mincemeat of San Marino and Estonia, it was starting to look, sound, and feel like we might start to see more of Wilshere in a similar role with Arsenal. With the continued absence of Ramsey, the nagging injuries (and inexorable ageing of Arteta), and the relative softness of the next half-dozen fixtures, I was starting to think that Arsène might play Wilshere in a deeper-lying role, maybe even—theatrical gasp—returning to a 4-2-3-1 with Cazorla as the central midfielder. However, speaking at the official Arsenal site, Arsène seems to have scuppered the notion before it can even take hold, at least with the club. However, there's reason to hope that this opens the door for other options to unfold...