10th August 2015: Wenger on West Ham + Benzema latest

Evening. So the dust has settled on the defeat to West Ham and to be honest, having watched all our pre-season games leading up to yesterday’s game, I still can’t quite believe what happened.

Now there are plenty who will say that they’ve seen this before and it’s ‘same old Arsenal’ under ‘same old Arsene Wenger’, soft underbelly, flattering to deceive, promising marmalade mañana etc etc but I genuinely agree with the manager’s description of our loss yesterday as an ‘accident’:

We will respond to that accident. The players were maybe too nervous and put too much pressure on themselves. Today we have been hurt mentally and it is a good opportunity to respond. We were not convincing offensively or defensively. I knew it could be a tricky game. If you can’t win the game, make sure you don’t lose it.

Whether that accident was caused by driver error, faulty car components or a combination of both is, I think, not worth analysing in too much detail at this stage of the season. If we look at this loss in the context of our competitive results so far this calendar year, then we can certainly regard it as anomalous. And I’d far rather an opening day league defeat than for such a sequential outlier to have occurred one competitive game earlier, in the FA Cup Final for instance.

Of course such a forgiving mood won’t last if the doomsayers are vindicated and we continue to drop points over the next few weeks. At that point, I’d be as irate and disappointed as so many seem to be right now. Until then though, why not see how things go for a while? We have a new, albeit apparently jittery, world class ‘keeper and with one big omission in Jack Wilshere, a settled squad which should be at peak fitness very soon.

Anyway, here are some choice snippets of Arsene’s take on the game:

  • I think our performance was not convincing, on the two aspects of our game, going forward and defending.
  • I feel we gave two very cheap goals away.
  • Our passing was too slow and in the end we were punished.
  • West Ham looked a bit sharper than us, more advanced in preparation than us – they’ve played many competitive games in the Europa League. I knew before game it would be tricky game on that front.
  • I felt we were a bit nervous and we rushed our game a bit.
  • The concentration and the organisation was not perfect.

The point that sticks out for me is the last one because any team with ambitions of winning the league should have concentration and organisation as a given. Still, I’m choosing to consign the whole sorry affair to history and instead look forward to the next task at hand which is at Crystal Palace on Sunday. And Arsene unsurprisingly, was quick to point out an immediate response from his side was imperative:

A successful season is how you respond to disappointments and it’s never a clear motorway. We have to respond quickly. We have a tricky start. Crystal Palace are a very good team, Liverpool are a very good team, and you could see again today that we are not completely there physically.

___________

Right, that’s a line drawn under that from my perspective.

And moving straight onto the the saga of the summer from an Arsenal point of view, and the first thing to say is I’m glad the starring role isn’t being played by one of our own being linked away from the club. Instead it’s Real Madrid’s number nine, Karim Benzema.

The general consensus all summer has been that if there are any big-money incomings at the club they would arrive closer to the end of the transfer window than the start and with the deadline three weeks today, we’re likely to see the market as a whole start to come to life.

Despite Arsenal’s chances of signing Benzema being categorically dismissed by a number of reputable sources earlier this summer, others are calling this transfer very much on, with some going so far as to say over the weekend that the deal was agreed and Madrid had secured Marco Reus to replace the Frenchman at the Bernabeu.

Benzema’s agent was also reportedly at Emirates Stadium on Sunday and the negotiator between the two sides has today been named as Gustavo Mascardi. However, Manchester City have entered the race and have also been joined by Bayern Munich according to some, although one source is still adamant Arsenal have the transfer tied up despite any late interest from elsewhere. All rather conflicted to say the least, and also possibly completely fabricated by Twitter. We’ll see.

Til Tuesday.

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