There’s something so uniquely Arsenal about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, isn’t there?
When the odds, long set against you, finally start to turn, what better way to take advantage than to shoot yourself in the foot, arm, and face for good measure? Would we want our Arsenal any other way?
The latest installment in the self-flaggelating drama that is Mikel Arteta’s 2020/21 season came on Wednesday as Arsenal contrived to hand Southampton an open invitation to take victory when they themselves looked at last like they might have finally come to life.
Just as in the Burnley match on Sunday night, Arsenal were forced to play a huge chunk of the match with 10 men after Gabriel, hitherto the standout performer for the Gunners this season, picked up two equally silly yellow cards (correctly given on both occasions) and was sent for an early bath, joining Nicolas Pepe and Granit Xhaka in the roll of dishonour.
From a position of relative strength, the Gunners were forced into abject retreat once more, spending the remaining half-hour battling desperately to take a point from a match in which they looked like they might take three.
As a final pie to the face, Rob Holding managed to crash an effort against the bar in the dying seconds of the match in Arsenal’s only real foray forward in the last 30 minutes. It seems we can’t even fluke our way to victory.
All things considered, Arteta will probably be relieved not to have suffered a record fifth consecutive home defeat – something no Arsenal manager has ever presided over – and his captain and talisman, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, was back among the goals too. The manager will also be pleased that his players were able to rally themselves having fallen a goal behind and, but for their own stupidity, might even have gone one better than that.
Until they curb their worst, most destructive tendencies, however, there will be no respite for a team that is clinging to a cliff edge at the moment. Only Arsenal can help themselves now.