We won the argument...

So, in much the same way that the Labour Party 'won the argument' - according to its auspicious leader - at the General Election, Arsenal 'won the argument' at home to Manchester City. In other words, they got stuffed out of sight.


It was fortunate in many ways that City 'declared' at half-time, because I feel pretty sure that if they'd have wanted to go for it, they could have racked up a hatful of goals against a disappointing, disjointed Arsenal side that essentially didn't seem to know what it was supposed to be doing.

It looks to me that in the space of 18 months Unai Emery has managed to transform the squad from one who at least looked to play progressive football under Arsene Wenger to one that looks afraid to do anything, either with or without the ball. That needs to be coached out of them very quickly.

It is clear that Freddie has failed his audition, but to be fair to him he has been set up to fail; he's been trying to turn this around with little proper support from within/above - like turning up for a singing audition, being told that you have no accompaniment, and having to perform accapella. It is clear that the players have an affection for him - witness the hugs and happy scenes after the West Ham game - but that's hardly enough. So it is absolutely critical that Arsenal get their next appointment right, quickly, and give him full support.

What I can't get my head around is how disorganised the Club are. Tottenham sacked Pochettino, and had Mourinho lined up to announce the next morning. Napoli sacked Ancelotti (who wouldn't be my choice to take over Arsenal by the way, although I'd be happy enough with Pochettino) and had Gattuso into his office the next day too. Arsenal barely had a short-list when they relieved Emery of his duties, yet even when we saw it showed muddled thinking. It's shambolic. I think that we are starting to see why Barcelona let Sanllehi go.

And the lack of organisation is reflected on the pitch. Almost all over it, in fact. And City showed us quite how big the gulf between the top of the table and Arsenal has become. They have better players, obviously, and less injuries, but they showed Arsenal up all over the pitch. All three goals were down to exploiting clear weaknesses in the Arsenal set-up, but frankly they could have picked and chosen where to dissect a clueless Arsenal side. De Bruyne summed it up afterwards when he talked about the Arsenal front line's failure to track back - only Martinelli bothered, in fact - but not only were Arsenal overrun in midfield but there seemed to be little rhyme or reason to what Arsenal were trying to do; either with or without the ball.

I'd give credit to Leno and Martinelli - and to an extent poor Bukayo Saka, thrust in at left-back, and Emile Smith Rowe, who at least showed Ozil how it was possible to actually run around in the number 10 slot - for their performances, and to Torreira for at least trying hard, but the rest should hang their heads in shame.

There was no discernable plan, I grant you, but there was also no discernable effort either. Maitland-Niles looks out of his depth and is having his career ruined at this club, and Chambers and Sokratis were a shambles. Kolasinac looked good going forward whilst he was on the pitch, but his defending is atrocious.

In midfield, Guendouzi had another really poor game, and needs to spend time on the bench (and with a coach during the week), and Torreira looks to be trying to do too much when he'd be better off just sitting in front of the defence. And Ozil, Pepe and Aubameyang should probably return their wages (I shall gloss over the Ozil glove-gate incident, which was much ado about nothing, but I think that the Club needs to lay down some rules about the use of social media by players. For all that he is quite correct in what he tweeted, I'm not sure that it has had the effect he'd have hoped for; the Chinese government is not an enemy that I'd choose).

So we saw no ball press, and a propensity to back off, and back off again, when City were in possession. And so they picked Arsenal apart at will. Three lovely goals as they played around and through an almost non-existent midfield; and as I say it could have been worse.

And now here's the thing; the foul count. Arsenal eight, and City 23. Yes, Arsenal could barely get near the ball, but there was something almost refreshing in watching City's clever rotational fouling whenever Arsenal looked even slightly threatening. Even though they probably didn't need to bother, City worked as hard as they needed to out of possession, whereas that's not something that can be levelled at Arsenal. There is so much to learn.

I know that the team has a number of injuries, but that doesn't excuse the lack of effort; especially from the senior players. It's probably worth giving some more of the kids more playing time, without overdoing it of course. Due to the injuries, I think there's a need to go back to three central defenders plus wing-backs for the next game or three; let's see.

Everton next; big game. See you after that. In the meantime, a new broom needs to be swept; and quickly.

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