Mikel Arteta transfer moves can offer Arsenal hope after Rob Holding and Cedric Soares blunders
It is very difficult to write in these moments of anger and frustration because at the rawest level those are the exact feelings I have right now. Arsenal were the masters of their own downfall, or rather Cedric Soares and Rob Holding were.
It is a frustration that Arsenal lost this game in the manner they did, although there is some reprieve that I will explain shortly. Mikel Arteta picked the best XI of the players available to him. The only debate regarding the selection would be the sides that the full-backs were deployed on.
However, Cedric on the left is a nightmarish scenario to defend against Dejan Kulusevski. Nuno Tavares’ defensive vulnerabilities have cost us goals against, with respect, lesser opponents. Plus, Holding has largely been very solid defensively and would be expected not to be the calamitous presence he was.
It was described as a “soft penalty” conceded by Cedric. A phrase I find odd in itself, something is either a foul or it isn’t and as Heung-min Son has jumped to win a header, Cedric hasn’t and instead shoved the South Korean in the back.
He is going to go down and a referee is going to give it without any hope of it being perceived as a ‘clear and obvious error' by VAR. Cedric has made no attempt to play the ball in the box, only the man. Therefore, it's a foul.
Son also had Holding’s number from the first minute. Yes, the elbow should have been looked at by VAR and it wasn’t. So, move on, don’t lose your head and when on a yellow card it might perhaps not be a good idea to plant a similar elbow into the face of the man who has just got you booked seven minutes earlier.
Arsenal lost not because of them not being good enough, the selection being wrong or Arteta getting not getting the tactics right. They lost because of mistakes from players who, let’s face it, will be nowhere near the starting line-up for these games next season. Or so they shouldn’t be, because to take Arsenal to the next level the quality of player needs to be much higher in these areas.
football.london understands a versatile full-back is on the club’s radar, with Aaron Hickey the man most likely to be targeted at present. William Saliba is due to return after a much-needed full season of football on loan. At least I hope he returns and if he doesn’t, a signing would make plenty of sense.
Cedric is, however, expected to stay. football.london understands that he wants to remain with Arsenal beyond this season and that suggestions he wants to leave are untrue.
So, the reprieve beyond these slight glimmers of positivity after a demoralising defeat is that it still remains in our hands. As it has done. After the three defeats to Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton, Arsenal still had the top four in their hands.
We win the next two and the top four is ours. Sounds simple, but it isn’t, and Arsenal certainly shouldn’t be thinking that it will be. But it is the reality and Spurs’ last two games, despite how they might seem on-paper aren’t 'gimmies'.
This hurts. And it will continue to hurt until we can stop that pain on Monday night, perhaps Burnley can even stem the bleeding on Sunday? Please.
Yet it is not a reason to give up, especially when taking a glance at the table. There is still football to be played and we might be down now but the emotion in just over a week’s time could be very different. Let’s hope that it is.