You would think that coming off the back of 6 consecutive wins would be exactly the sort of motivation a team would need for their next home match. Unfortunately for Arsenal this past weekend saw the gunners disappointingly dropped 2 points against visiting side Middleborough.
Since the end of August they’ve managed a brief unbeaten run which included a handful of away results and a memorable 3-0 home win against London rivals Chelsea.
Now since a rather lacklustre performance against an underperforming lower team over the weekend, and one that certainly lacked ideas and any sort of inspiration in that final third, there’s already concerns that this could be a bit of pre-winter lull for Arsene Wenger’s side.
Footballs a fickle mistress and it’s a sport where the critics and fans alike can turn on their team or even their manager at the flip of a switch. Wenger’s side are currently in second place in the Premier League on level points with both Manchester City and Liverpool who sit respectively either side of them.
So is this recent performance really something to concern fans? It’s certainly too early to tell whether or not the team are experiencing a little bit of a crash before we head into the final few weeks of this first half of the season.
But there were still plenty of things on show during that monotonous 90 minutes on Saturday that we should be potentially concerned about.
The team only managed 5 actual on target attempts at goal at the weekend and only one of those shots actually troubled the Boro keeper. Unsurprisingly it was Arsenal who were able to hold most of the possession through the game but possession is only as good as the chances you create as a team, and that’s simply something that Arsenal were not managing against the North Yorkshire visitors.
It was a game they expected to win, in fact everyone expected them to win as even the best betting websites around were predicting. The fact was that Boro battled hard and quite frankly looked like the better team throughout much of the game.
Middleborough were resilient during the game and were able to fend off pretty much anything Arsenal could throw at them, which sadly wasn’t a whole lot. In the after match interviews Wenger commented on the fact that his side were dominant in possession but put it down to tired legs and tired minds which resulted in the lack of imagination and creativity in front of goal.
Aside from their EFL match earlier this week, their next Premier League match will be a lunchtime game against Sunderland on Saturday and it’s crucial that Arsenal are quickly able to figure out exactly what went wrong and what they need to do to rectify the situation.
There was a lot of complacency and a real lack of drive from the vast majority of the team and it’s important that players aren’t suffering from a bout of over-confidence which is leading them to make mistakes and not work as hard as they should be.
A win over minnows Reading does not a title challenge make. Just look at Manchester United hammering Fenerbache only to get hammered themselves by a lacklustre Chelsea. Arsenal need to tread carefully and not get ahead of themselves.
There is still a long way to go until May,