Like many Arsenal fans living in the Eastern Time Zone, I woke up early on a Saturday to watch the club that I love. For those Arsenal fans across the country in the Pacific Time Zone, a 4:45am kickoff must be very tough, especially when you factor in Arsenal’s ability to mentally and emotionally destroy us. I swear this sh*t isn’t good for my health!
Apple Watch vibrated, I rolled over to grab the iPad, and quietly inserted the headphones. It was nearly time for kickoff and I must say that after a quick glance at the starting XI, I was confident of a positive result.
My only concern was Andy Carroll, but knowing that Gabriel and Koscielny were starting put me at ease. Little did I know what was to come over the next 90 or so minutes.
Lanzini’s disallowed goal was just a glimpse of Arsenal’s inability to remain focused for an entire match. It’s like they are the kids growing up that were out on the pitch during training picking bugs out of the grass. Oh yea, I forgot my mom and dad brought me here to play soccer.
I just don’t get it! Luckily the linesman needs to renew his prescription for his contacts because he clearly messed up that call. But, although I knew they got the call wrong, I was thankful that he doesn’t have 20/20 vision.
Next came two moments of brilliance.
Ozil slotting home a perfectly weighted pass into the bottom right corner of the net, and Alexis Sanchez put a second beyond Adrien. Arsenal was flying, and I was quietly celebrating while trying not to wake the wife.
Those quiet celebrations quickly turned into annoyance and a desire to toss my iPad across the bedroom! Of all the damn players on West Ham, Andy god damn Carroll scored! WTF!
No one closing down the free cross, and in comes Andy Carroll for a towering header. Ok, it’s 1-2, see out the half and regroup in the locker room.
In came another cross, and of course, Carroll was on the end of it again. He even had time to settle the ball first, and then ended up doing some stupid acrobatic kick which took a deflection and beat Ospina. I absolutely hate to see Carroll score, especially against Arsenal because I personally think he’s sh*t. Apart from his height and inability to figure out how the fu*k he wants to wear his hair, he’s utterly useless. And, it seems that only Arsenal hasn’t figured out how the hell to stop him from jumping around freely in their 18-yard box.
The NBC Sports crew were having a field day hating on Arsenal’s inability to defend crosses into the box, and rightfully so. They had one job to do, and they couldn’t do it, but the fun wasn’t over yet. It didn’t take long in the second half before that douche was on the end of yet another damn cross. From 0-2 to 3-2, wtf just happened?!
At that point, I felt like they were just going to implode and completely fall apart. Wenger brought on some reinforcements and Koscielny tucked his shot into the roof of the net. Game on!
Even with the score at 3-3, I felt as if all it was going to take was one more cross for it all to come undone once again. Fortunately that didn’t happen, but Arsenal was also unable to grab all three points.
Up 0-2 in a match that is a must win and with a squad that has a good amount of experience, how the hell do you throw that away in about 15 minutes? How?! I’ll tell you how, it’s called lack of mental strength, lack of a leader, and lack of focus.
I love Koscielny and think he’s one of the best defenders in the league, but he’s not a leader on the pitch. At times, he gets caught in some of the worst mental lapses, so how the hell is he going to set the example? After conceding those stupid goals on Saturday, the squad needed someone to pick them up and really set off an alarm. Someone needed to ask questions because that sh*t isn’t normal. They had two threats – Payet which we did well to contain, and Carroll, who we had Gabriel and Koscielny to keep tabs on him, and neither could.
They need that player who will give someone an ear full when they make a stupid mistake, or they turn off mentally. Instead, our players put their head down when conceding, and when they score they show loads of emotion, yet there’s no real emotion or communication between all of that. In all honesty, the only player in the squad right now that will actually lay into his teammates while he’s on the pitch is Flamini. He may not be a world-class player, but if there’s one thing he does right, it’s making sure no one is fu*king about, or day dreaming.
In the days of Vieira, Adams and Keown, if you messed up, you bet your ass you were going to hear about it. Now, it’s like they don’t want to hurt each others feelings. Yell at someone dammit!
That soft core that pundits talk about so often was on full display Saturday, and although the title hopes were already slim, West Ham dropped the hammer on those hopes, crushing our dreams. We are now forced to hope Leicester doesn’t choke with five matches remaining, at least to hold off Spu*ds from turning a frustrating campaign into an absolute nightmare.
I’m still hopeful that Arsenal will somehow finish second, but the way it’s looking right now, we may have a better chance of finishing 4th than finishing second.
Come on Arsenal, stop messing with my damn emotions!!