One game down, and already people are questioning Arsenal’s title credentials, despite beating Chelsea last week in the Community Shield. Not only this, but George Graham believes his former club still lacks leadership, even though they brought in the experienced Petr Cech.
Arsenal kicked off the new Premier League campaign with a woeful 2-0 home defeat to West Ham yesterday afternoon, and despite a full debut Cech would rather forget quickly, Arsene Wenger refused to put all the blame on his new number one, criticising the team’s ‘collective lapse’ as the key reason for their disappointing result.
But Graham believes Arsenal star players let the club down with a lacklustre performance, and insisted there is still a lack of leadership within the side:
‘I was really disappointed and very surprised by Arsenal.
‘Their pre-season form had been excellent and I thought, ‘right, let’s go at West Ham.’ But it amazed me that after the first 20 minutes, both sides had 50 per cent possession – when does an away team come to the Emirates and get that sort of possession? Very, very rarely.
‘I was really surprised Arsenal didn’t press the ball and put West Ham under pressure, and maybe that just shows you the lack of leadership at the club.
‘I didn’t see anyone get a grip of the game.
‘Arsenal have some brilliant players, but Ozil was very quiet – you never really saw him – and Santi Cazorla was on the left wing in the first half and he doesn’t like laying there.
‘You’re looking for your big names, your big players, to perform, and they didn’t do that yesterday.’
Does Graham have a point? Do we still lack leadership?
Well, I wouldn’t read too much into this defeat – fact is, we also start the new season off badly. But this is not to say we played well either. With the team Wenger put out, they should have got the job done but, like Graham said, a few of our players went missing.
As for a lack of leadership, I believe our former boss is right on this one. Yes, Cech has these qualities but he’s a goalkeeper – it’s hard to lead from the rear – and I don’t really see anyone in front of him that can get a grip of the game when the going gets tough.
It is only one game and people shouldn’t go overboard about the result, but it did show that we are still missing something to get us over the line.