Following on from the disappointing 1-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford, Arsenal fans were left questioning whether their team was beginning to do what was seen to be the inevitable by some critics, and fall down the Premier League table.
Of course the majority of Arsenal fans are still optimistic and confident that Arsenal will go on to win something this season, after seeing the way that we have played so far this campaign, however what a lot of people forget is that football can change in an instant and that’s exactly why most supporters of ‘the beautiful game’ see Arsenal as outsiders to possibly challenge for a trophy.
I must admit that I am still fairly cautious at the moment towards what I should expect from the Gunners this season because with all honesty I still think we are a little bit short in terms of a quality squad and we certainly lack in the confidence when it comes to the long haul campaign, so unfortunately I think we could fall at a hurdle during some part of the season. But what matters most right now is that going into the international break, the team remains confident in itself and believes in what we can achieve, because if we believe then the likelihood of achieving grows to a far greater extent.
We ended the run in before the international break with disappointment, though. Manchester United away was always going to be a difficult game and despite their position in the table, as always it was going to be a tough test for the Gunners. For the first time in years however, we arguably matched their quality and weren’t ‘beaten in the tunnel’, lining up with a few world class players ourselves. But even then it wasn’t quite enough and we bowed out of the game of two halves with no points to our name.
Defender Bacary Sagna was one of the high performers in the game against United, playing several key crosses as well as keeping his defensive duties very well. The Frenchman is now one of the club’s most experienced players both in terms of how long he has been with the club as well as at the age of 29, he has the experience and leadership qualities to be respected on the pitch. But it’s off the pitch in which he does the most talking and Sagna said after the United game:
‘We wanted to finish [the week] on a good note, we didn’t, so it’s a bit hard to take. That is football; I think we learn about our team, about football as well. But I want to think positive, I want to keep looking forward, I want to think we are first and we want to stay first. The best way to do it is to respond well on the next game. Now we are going into the international week and we are going to be ready to start again from the Southampton game.’
Arsenal definitely need to get a response against Southampton when club football returns to Europe because if we fail to obtain all three points in that game, we could see our already slender lead drop even further, possibly to the extent where we lose first place. Under normal circumstances, Southampton would seem like a relatively easy game; however with the Saints high up the table in the Champions League positions on 22 points, Arsenal will need to watch their backs and this again will prove to be yet another tricky test for the Gunners!