1) Pretty unpleasant stuff yesterday at Stoke. Why do you think there was such a drop off from our victory against Dortmund to the game yesterday afternoon?
@TB_Gooner - I think we might have been up for the match mentally, but after giving up such an early goal, our collective heads went down and we seemed to just accept it and say "Ok, we still can't beat them here." That's the only thing I can come up with for why we were so abysmal in the first half.
@theiconic14 - I think our recent injuries took their toll as the players looked very jaded physically but more importantly mentally. Also think the loss of Koscielny was a big blow because it meant we had to move Mertesacker to LCB which he really seems to struggle with possibly because of what Wenger called preferential vision which I would think is possibly more important for someone so lacking in pace as it makes it harder for him to recover from making errors.
2) Do you think we had a commitment problem?
@TB_Gooner - Yes. We do. We have too many players who are extraordinarily talented, but cannot deal with the sort of bombardment we faced. That doesn't mean that they don't want to win desperately, but there is a difference between just wanting to win and having the mentality to take over the game in these sort of circumstances and push the team forward.
@theiconic14 - not really. I don’t tend to believe the players aren’t trying bar the truly ridiculous I just generally think they are struggling to get going mentally which I think showed yesterday with our slow start and lapses of concentration something which has plagued us all season.
3) Did any Arsenal players stand out for you positively?
@TB_Gooner - I think Chambers was fairly solid aerially throughout the match (his red card notwithstanding--how did he get sent off when Crouch or Adam didn't??). Alexis wasn't up to his normal standards, but he always looked capable. Welbeck also provided us with a boost with his willingness to run.
@theiconic14 - Joel Campbell made me laugh at the very least warming up for 10 minutes comes on in the 92nd for a corner for which he subsequently occupies a space quite far outside the box. Otherwise not really our best players were merely that because they weren’t bad rather than they actually played well.
4) Which Arsenal players were particularly bad on the day?
@TB_Gooner - The left half of the defense were very poor. Mertesacker had one of his worst games in an Arsenal shirt in my opinion. Gibbs wasn't all that much better (although he might have had the excuse of not being fully fit). Additionally, Giroud could have done much better throughout the match, not just with the gilt-edged chance.
@theiconic14 - Mertesacker for just sending the whole defence into disarray which I think showed in Chambers’s performance. Gibbs was pretty poor at left back with all the goals coming from his side which was surprising given his usual solidity. Giroud had one of his classic games where he seems incapable of movement, ball control or finishing which was particularly frustrating after his impact against Southampton.
5) Why is this season showing such inconsistency for so many teams?
@TB_Gooner - Arsene keeps banging on about how its difficult after a World Cup, and I do really believe that is the case. Many players have not had much rest at all and it is beginning to show a lot. Additionally, there are more teams that are capable of going anywhere and winning (eg. Southhampton, Swansea, West Ham this season) so the league is much tighter.
@theiconic14 - the world cup with the varying pre seasons which follow it has made it harder for teams to gel.
6) I'm putting a managerial hat on your head for a second. Minus the transfer window, what do you do to get us playing consistently well?
@TB_Gooner - Perhaps it would be better to have Mertesacker at right center back even when Koscielny is out? He performs much better there and that could have a trickle down effect on the rest of the team. Regardless of that though, we need to get Debuchy, Koscielny, and Walcott (and Arteta/Ozil) back as soon as possible and get a starting 11 nailed down to begin to see consistent results.
@theiconic14 - This is very difficult as our fundamental difficulties have been finishing our chances and defensive concentration. We actually have been pretty good in defence and attack in terms of creating good chances and not conceding too many of that ilk but we have been terrible at scoring and keeping goals out. It is difficult from a managerial stand point to see how you can solve these things tactically at the very least. Though I think it would be fair to say that being able to name our first choice defensive unit more often would make a big difference in terms of defensive concentration that we haven’t been able to has led us to using their backups and well that is an issue for the transfer market.
7) Any other thoughts?
@TB_Gooner - We really miss Mesut. A lot more than most fans would have said at the time. But he creates so much space for everyone else and for as bad as our defense has been, we have scored fewer goals than Allardyce's West Ham this year!
@theiconic14 - things are very disappointing but not actually as bad as they seem. The inability of this team to live up to the promise of the end of last season and the transfer window makes it seem like this season is disastrous; it isn’t. We will probably finish very comfortably in the top 4 but that doesn’t hide that it could have been better.
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