The inability to cope with the pressure of needing to end the long wait for a Premier League title and to meet the level of expectation of the Arsenal fans has become one of the biggest criticisms leveled at Arsene Wenger and his team in recent years.
And once again this year that pressure seemed to get the Gunners in a big way and has seen us slide from five points clear at the top to 11 points behind the leaders Leicester City. So I can easily understand and agree with what our French centre back Laurent Koscielny has told Arsenal Player.
The defender feels that the situation Arsenal now find ourselves in, against Barcelona in the Champions League as well as in the Premier League title race, could actually help the players to rediscover the form we showed in the first half of the season when we looked like potential champions, because the pressure of expectation is now gone.
He said, “We don’t have pressure like in the first game, because we play against the best team in the world.
“Now we need to play the second leg away at Barca and we have nothing to lose. People always talk about the statistics and I think we have maybe a five per cent chance to qualify.
“You know when you play against the best players in the world, the best team with a good collective side, it’s very important for us. It can be very important if we can have a [good] result.
“They have a lot of quality, they can have a lot of possession during the game and when they accelerate with their top players, they create chances.
“We need to play with freedom and believe in our quality because we did well during the first six months of this season. I don’t see why we can’t [play like that] against Barcelona and for the rest of the season.
“You know we are in a difficult period and we need to stay like a unit to be stronger. We will fight until the end of the season.”
It is a nice idea from the Frenchman and I believe it would work to bring the best out of our talented team once more, but I also believe that it will not happen because the fans have become too frustrated to now relax and let the team play with freedom.
The atmosphere at both home and away games is becoming more tense and toxic all the time and that has got to transmit to the players. How on earth can they play with freedom and ignore all the goings on around the club and the under fire Arsene Wenger?