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Arsenal Closer to Relegation Scrap After Chelsea

It took 18-months for Unai Emery, Raul Sanllehi and company to drag Arsenal down into midtable, far quicker than I could have imagined, and in my opinion it will take as much time, if not longer, to rebuild the Gunners and make us into a top-top team again.

As of the 20th round of matches we are 11th in the table on 24 points, behind the likes of Newcastle, Everton, Crystal Palace, Sheffield United and Wolverhampton Wanderers. We are 11 points off the top-4 and a mere 6 points off the relegation scrap. How low have the mighty fallen!

In recent Uncensored podcasts, both me and the Arseblagger (Blackburn George) have frequently used the metaphor of the Titanic to describe how severely damaged is the good ship Arsenal, deep in the hull. In today’s game with Chelsea, despite a 5-day job by the new head coach Arteta to stabilize things and put us on a sound course, the midfield engine was not good enough to power us out of danger despite a 12th minute header by Aubameyang during a 30 minute period of domination by the Gunners.

From fronfoot to backfoot

From the minute Jorginho came on as a sub for Emerson the tide of the game swung in Chelsea’s favor as they matched up better with our midfield denying Ozil both the ball and the spaces from which to operate. Without Xhaka, a deep lying midfielder who can break the lines with his passes and force Chelsea on the backfoot, Arsenal was mostly pinned back with the occasional breakout. Up to the 70th the Gunners kept their shape and defended reasonably against Chelsea’s frequent attacks, with the often criticized David Luiz excelling when needed. It took a howler from  the usually reliable Brend Leno for them to equalize.

Chelsea finally gained the upper hand after Guendouzi weakly gave up the ball on the edge of the penalty area after a spot kick by Arsenal into the box and Tammy Abraham gained possession. Mustafi, who was closest, in an instant, decided that rather than trying to engage and press  the man with the  decided to pedal backwards towards his goal. A neat 1-2 with Willian and Abraham dragged the ball past Leno. Such is the fine margins when you are battling for your life in midtable.

Unfair criticism

Meanwhile the “Arsenal legend” Lee Dixon, on my tv feed as the expert commentator, immediately rounded-on Mustafi publicly lambasting him for his decision-making, completely ignoring and sanitizing Guendouzi’s role in the sequence. This is the same Mustafi who, on replacing the injured Chambers, took a severe knock in the head when going up for a ball in the box on a wickedly swung in corner by Chelsea. Despite this he rarely put a foot wrong.

Arteta’s job is being made even more difficult when squad players like Mustafi are so unfairly pilloried by the Lee Dixons of the gunnersphere.  With Arsenal about to lose Xhaka who has evidently decided to move after much unfair abuse of him and his family so-called fans, how much harder will it be for Arteta in the New Year.

More losses or success

Arteta had this to say in the post-match presser:

“I am really disappointed. The way that we conceded the goals and the timing. I am pleased with a lot of things I have seen, I am pleased with a lot of things that we trained and actually happened in the game and how they buy into this. But I am disappointed to lose.”

Given the current state of affairs I foresee him having a few more disappointing games before he can get Arsenal on firm footing. His first objective must be getting a decent central midfielder as good if not better than Xhaka. If Guendouzi or Willock are the only solutions then those on social media and elsewhere  now pledging fealty to Arteta will be the first to jump ship.

Until then we can only hope it will be a Happy New Year!

7 Comments

  1. Thanks Shotts

    Never mind top six following the rumours around Xhaka (haven’t seen any post match comments from the gaffer), it’s time to keep an eye on the 40pt measure/guide!

    Having said that: I am confident Arteta will continue to improve the team. As many have remarked already today they saw their team play some good stuff. Though losing Xhaka now will be/is as you all saw a significant blow, Raul’s welcome gift for Arteta.

    Shotts some may say Mustafi is hopeless at CB. however that does not negate your observation on the lack of critique from the plundits of a player who was a starter for twelve months (ahead of Ramsey!) as opposed to someone who is clearly at the moment third choice in his position. The plundits are just not very good? Plenty of inspiration for Alan Partridge out there.

    In hindsight given the fixture congestion and the energy and adrenaline pumped out by the Gunners in the first half some earlier subs from the new gaffer may have helped? Problem is the very thin squad and injuries. Don Raul’s great Summer involved flogging off the only cover or ideal 60 min. mark subs for Ozil in Iwobi and Miki. Along with Monreal, best all round 8 in the league etc.

    Losing Chambers for more then a few games = yikes!
    And the late double blow is undeniably a blow to the confidence. Good news is the next game comes quickly.

    Bad news is the thin squad is stretched and not at their most confident and Utd arrive in what will probably be their best form of the season.

    The late departure of Emery and Xmas crunch schedule is Raul’s second welcome present for Arteta. But

    Arteta knows.
    COYG

    Reply
    • Thanks for observing how thin were the options available to the Arteta. That is why I found no reason to criticize him for his subs.

      BTW I chose this provocative headline to alert positive, uncensored fans to the fact we are closer to the bottom than to the top. There is no time for complacency. Should Arteta lose Xhaka wit is imperative that Don Raul and Josh to pull their fingers out and support him in the transfer window. Apart from Ozil and Torreira our lack of quality midfield options is cause for alarm.

      Reply
  2. Shotta

    It appears that the Xhaka rumours are just rumours? As hoped.
    Hard to imagine Arteta or Edu accepting more upheaval in the midfield, bearing in mind that they were both midfielders. Heh.

    They weren’t the ones making the previous calls, that was the management consultant & head of football relations who knows nothing about the football yet somehow landed this gig at Arsenal Football Club and was lauded by a number of online accounts for some reason, your guess is as good as mine (£££).

    On Xhaka. Funny that for years the ****s asked for a ‘ard man’ in midfield who didn’t have twinkle toes but could physically intimidate any opponent, and the moment they get one, one who outplayed champion Kante in a cup final for the Arsenal no less, a record breaking cup final, they say that they don’t want him.

    Because he is Muslim by birth? Your guess is as good as mine. We all know his flaws but that doesn’t stop the average football fan from having the capacity to acknowledge that he is the best CM at the club, obviously so. So how do we explain this bollocks from the same ****s who said Ozil & Rambo can’t play together? Is it: Because they are ****s?

    I hope I haven’t offended anyone.
    And I hope Xhaka starts against Utd!

    Reply
  3. Fins good point regarding Xhaka religion Now I understood why certain quarters of the boo boys and blogtettas are against Ozil and Mustafi as well .As they are all Muslims .Same goes with Elneny .

    Wonder Salah & Mahrez at pool and city face such kind of criticism due to their religion and faith?

    Reply

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