It’s so easy to be reactionary when you watch your team slip to defeat and equally as simple to be an expert after the occasion, when the dust has settled.
For the most part, I try to take a rational, balanced view in the wake of defeat and really look beyond the simple reasons for things that went wrong, or that might have been done better.
Except, in the case of Arsenal’s humbling at the hands of Liverpool today, it was a result that a lot of people feared was coming and it was duly delivered in the typically comedic style that we have come to expect from this side.
For weeks before this game, fans have been calling for urgent reinforcements in defence. Over and above everything else, Arsenal were in desperate need of a centre back. Even before Per Mertesacker was injured, new talent was required. It was top of the shopping list. No question.
Predictably, therefore, Arsene didn’t make the urgent signing that was necessary, to make sure we headed into the start of the season with a fully furnished squad. Instead we have heard excuse after excuse about quality and price and looking to promote from within.
Now we’ve paid dearly for it.
The second Gabriel was injured in last week’s match against Manchester City, this scenario was on the cards, where two decidedly untested centre backs where flung in at the deep end in the hope that they might somehow float.
I don’t blame Calum Chambers or Rob Holding, I’ve no doubt they gave it their best shot, but they simply should not have been anywhere near the first team at this stage of the season.
In my pre-match blogging I said that I had no doubt that Arsenal would find a way to get goals against Liverpool, and, to their credit, they certainly did that. What I worried about was their ability to prevent Liverpool from scoring and, just as predicted, they couldn’t stop them for love nor money. It was embarrassing stuff at times.
Whatever stage of the season it is, however many injuries you have suffered, you should not be conceding four goals at home, to any side.
However good the fightback was, and however admirable their effort to get something from the game was, the truth is it was all much too late. The horse had not only bolted, it had emigrated and started up a new stabling business in Costa Rica.
And all this from a winning position to boot, rubbing salt into an unfathomably sore wound. However you look at it, it was simply unacceptable.
There’s no doubt that Arsenal are under strength in terms of playing personnel because of the European Championships, I accept that. What I don’t accept is making the same mistakes year-after-year, in almost exactly the same way.
Last minute transfer market panic buys, naive tactics, surrendering winning positions, odd team selections – we saw too much of this last season and I had hoped that was were it would remain. Clearly not.
Greater analytical minds that my own will be able to pull this performance apart and break down exactly where it went wrong, but I really do worry for the course of the rest of our season off the back of this.
I know there is a signing in the offing in Shkodran Mustafi, and Laurent Koscielny and co will be back soon, but this game just smacked of last season, the stench of doubt and capitulation was all over it, and that’s worrying.
I hope beyond hope that this was a ripple, a one-off result for this season before Arsene gets the team working in a proper cohesive order that will allow them to build attacks from a solid foundation.
The deep-rooted cynic in me fears that this is going to get worse, however, particularly as we travel to champions Leicester next week and there really is no telling if we will have made any of the many signings in place that we obviously need.