Lessons that were learned from the home game against Newcastle on Sunday:
- Lucasz Fabianski is still an accident waiting to happen the moment he is asked to make an actual decision rather than be called upon to make an instinctive save.
- Cesc Fabregas is badly out of form at the moment. Every player suffers dips in form; but if it is a player whom the team rely on heavily, then it is harder to paper over the cracks.
- When Theo Walcott comes up against a full-back who is at least as quick as him, he doesn’t have much in the way of a Plan B up his sleeve.
- On the evidence of his appearance yesterday, Robin Van Persie is not ready to be “rushed back”. He looked miles off the pace.
Poor Decision-Making by Fabianski Leads to Newcastle Goal©Getty Images
The bottom line was that the Gunners did not play with anything like the tempo, passion and heart that is required to win a Premier League game yesterday and they got exactly what they deserved. The West Ham game last week might have been a little frustrating but at least chances were created – and, in the end, one was finally taken. Yesterday though, Arsenal only threatened rarely and there was never any real belief that the players could pull anything out of the hat as the clock ticked down.
Credit must be given to Newcastle. They were strong, well-organised and defended well. They took their chance and held their lead with some comfort. In contrast, Arsenal looked jaded, lacklustre and just plain unmotivated. For a home game against a newly-promoted team, this was really unforgiveable.
There isn't much more to say about it. It was a very, very bad day at the office and the players need to have a long hard look at themselves to work why they were so poor.
With Chelsea losing at Anfield, the Gunners missed the opportunity to make up some ground at the top. As it is, the Champion’s 2-0 defeat meant that the damage caused by the Newcastle loss is limited. However, come the end of the season, if Arsene Wenger’s team fall just short, people will be looking back to yesterday and the defeat at home to West Brom for the reasons why.
Arsenal don’t have any time to feel sorry for themselves. With a full midweek Premier League programme this week, the players have to sort themselves out ahead of trips to Wolves on Wednesday and Everton on Sunday. To get anything from those games they are going to have to show considerably more fight than they did yesterday.