The fragile truce that has existed between the Arsenal’s factions lasted all of an hour into the new campaign.
After the sort of dominant first-half display that suggested “Project Klopp” is still a work in progress, it was disappointing enough to be pegged back, following award of a soft free-kick that resulted in Coutinho’s stunning equaliser with almost the last kick of the half.
However, the sun was shining, the footie was back and we still had another 45 minutes to prove that our uninspiring attack was sufficiently more potent than the Scousers, to pocket the all-important three points.
Sadly the transformation which took place immediately after the break would appear to have highlighted, yet again, the crucial significance of vocal personalities in the dressing room.
Where the Gunners ambled out for the second half with the same lack of intensity, our guests returned to the fray seemingly fired up for the devastating 15-minute, three goal spell, which left the more fickle ranks of the Gooner not-so-faithful marching out the exits in absolute disgust.
I don’t know how anyone can walk out in protest, with nearly half an hour still to play. When first the Ox and then Chambers restored some respectability to the scoreline soon after, I couldn’t help but feel that it served these disloyal dolts right that they missed out on the Gunners admirable fightback to 3-4.
Nevertheless, the acute air of frustration was perfectly understandable.
From the moment we became aware of the starting line-up on Sunday, every Arsenal fan was resigned to the likelihood that an opening day victory was going to be dependent on a performance that wasn’t quite as poor as that of our opponents.
The walls of Arsene’s ivory tower remain disturbingly impermeable, with le Prof seemingly the only man on the planet who has yet to accept the absolute ineffectiveness in the central striker’s role of Alexis.
And it amounts to nothing short of blatant incompetence that a club of the Arsenal’s stature should be left kicking off a new campaign with a completely untried and inexperienced centre-back duo.
I’ve not given up on Calum Chambers, and Rob Holding looks particularly promising, but it was a very big ask to throw these two in at the deep end.
In truth, we were fortunate that they didn’t end up on the wrong end of the sort of embarrassing thrashing that could’ve done permanent psychological damage to both their careers.
When we are seeing the likes of Everton replacing Stones with the battle-hardened Ashley Williams, for a relatively meagre £11m (€12.7m), or Spurs taking a £17m punt on Janssen adding to their goal tally, I just do not buy the argument that the Gunners are doing their best to plug the glaringly obvious gaps in our squad.
Moreover, with every other club having recalled their Euro stars in good time for the kick-off, I don’t understand how Wenger justifies leaving Giroud, Koscielny and Ozil cooling their heels, knowing this could, and as it turns out has, cost us points! They might well return that bit fresher, but this will be of little benefit if we are already out of the Premiership picture!
Only the day before, I was criticising Pochettino for his negative selection of two defensive midfielders at Everton. Presumably Wenger chose to play Coquelin and El Neny, to protect our callow centre-backs, but sadly this was at the expense of leaving all our creativity on the bench.
Arsene spoke of the last two weeks of the transfer window as “a poker game” in a press conference during the US tour, but this is not the case for those clubs willing to put the money on the table necessary to secure their targets.
In our efforts to save a couple of million quid, in a game of bluff that is fooling absolutely nobody, it seems to be a calamitous false economy, as Wenger perennially leaves himself shopping for the last few remaining turkeys on the shelves!
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