Time for the panic station scramble?

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On reflection it probably was sensible to leave the Emirates post-mortem until now, avoiding the expected knee jerks and depression riddled musings.

Yes we failed to beat a team who have yet to spend a dime, and whose line-up nowadays would hardly have a Sunday league side cowering. Oh and to make matters worse they happen to be our closest and most bitter rivals.

Time to panic? Not at all, but maybe it is time to take a bit of a reality check on where we are.

Sunday was on the whole a game we didn’t really deserve to lose, but we would also be kidding ourselves if we thought we did enough to win the thing. We were dominant in the sense that we hoarded vast amounts of largely meaningless possession with our midfield three all too happy to play a series of aimless sideways passes.

I can only assume Levy has got some new pass completion related contractual bonus going at the minute. If so Walker will probably be on the dole soon the way he is going, but that is another matter.

My point is that we were laboured and deliberative in midfield, where was the guile and finesse capable of unleashing our £26m frontman? For me it was woefully lacking. Dembele looks a shadow of himself and I can only put this down to the niggling hip problem that continues to dog him. This game was crying out for the bubbling energies of a Lewis Holtby or the slick incisive visions of a Tom Carroll.

I think pundits were lazy to label this as a lack of gelling, more so just a midfield no show in general. A fully fit Lewis Holtby or Christian Eriksen and the story may well have been very different. This is something to be optimistic about to be honest, considering how far from finished we find ourselves as a ‘project’.

Our concerns were however not isolated to the midfield. Hugo Lloris probably emerged as our best player on the day, and this emphasises how creaky we were defensively. Jamie Carragher may want to harp on about how naïve it is to play a high line, but this just underlines how ignorant some British pundits are about the game. The issue is not the high line, it is how we play it. Their goal occurred because of total miscommunication between both centre backs allowing Arsenal to be played onside, rather than some flaw in the AVB master-plan.

Would this have happened with a fully fit Kaboul at the back? Maybe not.

Spurs are not even close to a finished article and those that think success will be imminent and simple are being slightly naïve here. Yes we are on the cusp of something special but teething issues will naturally provide us with hurdles along the way.

Arsenal on the other hand aren’t progressing, merely just papering over the cracks. Ozil may be painted as some messiah figure, but really his signature just emphasises how misguided their policies have become.

I regard him as one of the most talented playmakers in world football and an asset to any side, but is a creative influence really their priority?

Maybe I shouldn’t get so caught up on Arsenal, but their shortcomings do offer something of a tonic to derby day defeat.

So agreed we were poor on Sunday, and yes it hurts all the more because it was Arsenal, but in years to come when the Villas-Boas ‘project’ comes to fruition will we really care?


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