Everton, Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester City. Arsenal’s domestic calendar isn’t letting up.
Even before the Gunners’ latest embarrassment on Tuesday night, it looked painful. The capitulation against Swansea, and the resulting loss of confidence, makes it look impossible. The Swans, a team that have been shackled to the relegation zone all season, were made to look like Real Madrid.
Everything about Arsenal’s performance was farcical, from Petr Cech’s error to Olivier Giroud’s mere presence on the bench. Why, with a move to Chelsea completed barely 24 hours later, was he even in the matchday squad?
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan may be shiny and new but they cannot distract from a transfer window that was utterly chaotic. A formation that can accommodate those two and £56 million misfit Alexandre Lacazette doesn’t scream defensive solidity, even before you account for Mesut Ozil.
Ah, Ozil. The news of the German’s contract renewal has been received with almost Messianic praise, a sign that Arsenal can hold on to their marquee players after all.
We should be grateful, say a swelling court of nodding worshippers, that he accepted a deal more generous than those enjoyed by Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard. The German been just as crucial to our side as they Belgians have been to theirs, hasn’t he? Hasn’t he?
The game against Everton on Saturday is difficult to get excited about. The Toffees are up to 9th, with a lucky 2-1 victory over Leicester seeing them to a first win in seven games.
They’ll be looking for an upset at the Emirates Stadium, but a positive result will depend on them winning the following battles: