Cape Town - Arsenal fans are, at the best of times, a divided group of people. I rarely encounter instances or events that the majority of the fan base will wholeheartedly agree on. One of those instances is the present moment, as I think all Arsenal supporters will fully agree that their start to the 2014/15 season has been alarmingly bad.
A sombre feeling of angst and despair had been prevalent among almost everyone associated with the club, even before it was statistically confirmed as their worst start to a season for 32 years, following their most recent league defeat to Manchester United.
I think the primary explanation of the disappointment is because this season has seen the greatest disparity between expectation and results for many years. Recent years have seen weaker Arsenal squads attaining better results and performing with greater confidence and discipline.
Following the FA Cup victory in May which saw the club win their first major silverware for 9 years, there was a greater sense of buoyancy than had been present for many years. This was further increased with the excellent early summer transfer business which saw the club efficiently complete deals for Debuchy, Ospina, Chambers and the magnificent Alexis.
The inhibiting monkey on Arsenal’s back of having not won something for so long had been removed. With it gone, most observers were under the impression the confidence, optimism and impetus brought about as a result of the reasons outlined above could see Arsenal mount a genuine title challenge again.
There has been little evidence of a balanced, cohesive Arsenal team this season. They have been a mess defensively, shown a distinct lack discipline and their tactical naivety has been nothing short of astonishing at times.
Players are shorn of confidence and belief, and their form has taken a subsequent turn for the worst. Injuries have affected the squad quite badly, but I can’t help but feel that much better use could have been made of the players the manager has had available to him.