By Michael Clements
First day of a fresh, new, shiny year and we've gone and make a complete bollocks of it. We saw some of the worst performances we've seen in a while from some of our players against Southampton. Gibbs quite literally could not do one thing right, while Koscielny's first game back was one to forget (granted he's rusty). The midfield that was put together with old lego pieces, duct tape and used chewing gum was awful, while Szczesny.... what can we say about the Pole in Goal in this one? Calamitous. Shambolic.
Years ago, before Szczesny wore our number 1, he had a slight reputation for going walkabout and perhaps taking unnecessary risks, but has come a long way. It seems that the Arsenal 'keeper took a step backwards on Thursday, hopefully a temporary one. The thing that irritates the the most is his seemingly nonchalant demeanor after he's committed such mistakes. Perhaps it's sadist, but I always look for an appropriate reaction from the players when they mess up, perhaps it lets me know that they are as upset as I am? Who knows, but to see Szczesny on the floor after assisting Southampton's second, and immediately going for his water bottle, without the look of determination or regret just doesn't sit well with me. Get off your arse, pull your socks up and get on with it.
I have no doubt he and the rest of the boys will bounce back from this one, but give us a day to be pissed off. It was New Years Day, and with it falling directly in the middle of this monstrous fixture congestion, paired with our lack of anything that resembles squad depth, we knew it would be tough on the legs. However, as I mentioned in a previous rant, Southampton started this season with half their squad on other Premiership teams, yet have still managed to do better than us. Think about that for a second.
We're not the only team with injury problems, yet we're one of the only one's who can't seem to deal with it (Everton aside). I will admit our injury problems are extreme, however, but why are we always in this situation? Our midfield consisted of Chambers, Coquelin and Rosicky/Cazorla. I've lost track of our injury list, so partly for my own benefit here it is;
Podolski (Groin) - A few days
Yaya Sanogo (Hamstring) - Up to 2 weeks
Danny Welbeck (Thigh) - A few days
Aaron Ramsey (Thigh) - Could be back 2018
Mikel Arteta (Calf) - A few days
Jack Wilshere (Ankle) - Who knows
Mesut Ozil (Knee) - He'll come back when he feels like it
Abou Diaby (Calf) - Ha, you're joking, right?
Serge Gnabry (Knee) - Dead
David Ospina ???
Mattieu Flamini - Too angry to play
There's a number of ways you can interpret this - Perhaps it's got something to so with our lack of squad depth and we are forced to play our boys too much, to the point that we're pushing their bodies to the limit and are more prone to injury. Maybe our backroom staff has got something to do with it? Are our medical staff and coaches up to the challenge? Or maybe we're just unlucky. Whatever it is, it's just us being Arsenal.
So, it's on to FA Cup action and a replay of the final looms as Hull Tigers make another trip to London. I predict a midfield comprised of that guy who ran into the dugout to yell at Wenger, a one-legged Diaby and that bloke who played Emmet in the Lego movie. We should do well.
Get ready for the transfer chatter! Podolski going to Milan on loan is a good start.
Come On You Gunners!