If poor results against Norwich and Brighton have shown us anything it’s that the issues affecting this squad are far beyond superficial.
If it was simply a case of players distrusting the manager or some tactical discrepancy affecting the feng shui, a new head coach and two relatively easy fixtures against teams struggling in the league would have given ample opportunity for those wrinkles to be ironed out.
As it is, the level of our performance is just as bad as, if not worse, than it was under Unai Emery – raising serious doubts over just what the club does next.
Freddie Ljungberg will doubtless stick diligently to his task for as long as the club requires him to, and his commitment won’t falter for a moment, but a draw and a defeat in his first two matches has shown that there will be no quick fix to what is a serious, deep-rooted problem with this squad.
In fact, so fetid is the miasma that hangs over the club at the moment that it’s difficult to see any way out, or from where we might win our next points.
Nine games without a win is our worse run since the 1970s, a time so remote that a huge chunk of the fanbase won’t even have been alive when things were that bad before.
I admit, I’d thought the fresh emphasis on attack shown in patches against Norwich last week and a few extra days of training might mean Ljungberg would be able to garner a winning performance from his charges against Brighton last night but the Gunners weren’t even in the same class.
Only one side played anything like a collective unit and that side emerged with a well-deserved three points. Arsenal, on the other hand, were, for large portions of the match, horrible, clueless, and bereft of confidence and flow.
And the less said about our first half performance the better, so bad was it. As we are want to do, we made our opposition look like peak Barcelona when the reality is so far removed.
Whether Freddie will be able to stabilise this listing vessel over the next few weeks remains to be seen but it’s all we have to hope for now as we wait for action further up the chain.
What’s abundantly clear is that Raul Sanllehi, Edu, Vinai and Josh were in no way prepared for the sacking of Emery. They had nobody waiting in the wings to replace him and no plan for what to do as performances started to slide.
To that end, we now face an indeterminate period of time without a head coach, hoping beyond hope that a first-time manager can glean something from a side that is now so bad that fans are starting to look nervously over their shoulders at the drop zone. Yes, it is that bad.
Clearly, we don’t want the board to panic and rush into a managerial appointment in order to placate the fans but, at the same time, this club is on the cusp of a lost generation if something isn’t done and someone with experience and know how isn’t brought in to arrest this decline.
It’s not yet terminal but it isn’t far off.
Ours is an institution in crisis. For the first time in living memory, this club is genuinely in the grip of a meltdown that risks throwing its future as a genuinely big club into doubt.
Having said in the summer that our target for the season was a top four finish, we are now scrapping just to rescue a place in the top half. It’s already a write-off and we’ve only just entered December. That’s as bad as it gets, folks.