Sunday 9 August 2015

Arsenal suffer setback, not catastrophe

The test of true champions is how you come back from disappointment. I'm sure the Arsenal players feel just as upset as the fans, after an extremely poor showing against West Ham in the season's opener, so they'll want to prove their 'bouncebackability' next weekend.

The last time the champions-to-be lost an opening league game was back in 1995, when Manchester United lost at home to Aston Villa; this prompted Alan Hansen to go into rant mode, saying famously: 'You'll win nothing with kids'. Alex Ferguson's team went on a 10-game unbeaten run thereafter, almost just to spite the pundit, who normally called it right.

Now Arsenal may hope some outspoken idiot in the media says: 'You'll win nothing with Cech'. Then the Gunners will be even more determined to ram the words down the throats of the critics.

Having said all of that, there is no escaping the fact that Cech let in two soft goal against the Hammers. If you come for a crossed ball, you have to get it. Cech was nowhere near the cross that was headed in for West Ham's first. For the second, Cech was beaten at his near post, which is always a cardinal sin, especially when it's from long-range.

Nevertheless, the rest of the team were largely disappointing too. The only outfield player to emerge with any credit was Oxlade-Chamberlain. He looked like a world-beater at times, but even he was dispossessed for West Ham's killer second goal.

The less said about the rest of the team, the better. I think Arsenal missed Bellerin, who was out injured; the young Spaniard offers a threat going forward and may have opened up West Ham more down the right, had he been fit.

Now it's up to Arsenal to regroup and make sure they take the full three points away at Crystal Palace, which promises to be a much tougher prospect than West Ham at home.

Sent from my iPhone

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