Will ghost of Van Persie bury Arsenal?

Contrasting performances lay bare differences

It was not so much that Arsenal lost, but the manner of the loss that suggests, the Emirates is once again in for a trophy-less season.

One a day when other title contenders each laid down their marker – City win with 10 men; Chelsea win away at Spurs from 2-1 down; United blitz a determined Stoke - Arsene Wenger needed his new team to show up.

They did not.

Instead, it was more of the same old kind of blips that for the last seven years have cost Gunner fans not only their pride in terms of title, but player-captains like Cesc Fabregas and Robin Van Persie.

This is why Van Persie left.

Contrast his showing at United with what Arsenal bought to Norwich.

Not only did Grant Holt score, he missed a sitter as well. In fact Norwich ended the game convincing winners – they had more chances than Arsenal. 

Chris Hughton was proud, Wenger resigned. 

With just eight games played, Arsenal are already 10 points behind Chelsea and Liverpool despite winning only one at home, just one win behind the Gunners. 

Can goalkeeper Vito Mannone really be blamed?

The Gunners chief admitted: “Norwich defended very well. They were focused and committed.

“I do not blame the keeper. We made many mistakes.” 

Norwich’s central midfielders Alex Tettey and Bradley Johnson showed that without the creative skill of a Santi Cazorla, hard work pays. 

who battled and bullied their opponents.

Consider Robin Van Persie’s game at Manchester United. He scored one, set up two and right at the death, and defended a corner to deny Michael Owen.

Meanwhile at Carrow Road, Gervinho hopelessly wasted a chance as he failed to kick the ball properly and Olivier Giroud collapsed on the ground in a heap when he had his chance.

Arsenal were missing Theo Walcott, both keepers, Laurent Koscielny, Abou Diaby, Tomas Rosicky, Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna. To that list now add Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who took a whack seconds after arriving on the pitch and had to leave with a hip injury that will keep him out of the Champions League clash with Schalke.

Now what, Wenger?


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