It was again another opportunity for Arsenal to stamp their authority on the Premier League season and move up into fourth on the table, but as has happened far too often, chances were missed and we were made to pay for them.
The 1-0 loss to Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium had shades of a tale we have seen all too frequently over the last couple of seasons.
For the first 20 minutes, we looked every bit of a side that would go on to win this match. Now say what you want about the disallowed goal in the first half, we should have put the game to bed in the first 30 minutes.
However, we did not take our chances and with ten minutes to go, Jamie Vardy was on the end of a sweeping move to head his side in front and they held on to steal all three points.
I am not one for absolutely tearing strips off players as it simply provides no purpose for future performances, rather it just gives us that initial release of anger that has been building up over the 90 minutes.
It was a hard thing to do as somehow Alexandre Lacazette missed a header from point-blank range and it should have been 1-0 to the Arsenal. Leicester offered practically nothing for the whole first half and yet again the creative issues that have plagued the season showed up again.
On social media there were numerous comments, tweets, and everything in between about Mesut Ozil not being in the side and that this game would have suited him perfectly. I feel we simply need to stop with this as the decision has already been made, it is not going to change, and creating a hostile section of our fan-base will not be good for anything.
While yes it is feasible that Ozil could have unlocked the Leicester City defence, truth be told we had no problems with that in the first 30 minutes and if Lacazette had headed home, then it would be a completely different story and it most likely would not be mentioned.
Let us talk about Mikel Arteta for a moment. I for one am still struggling with the idea as to why Pierre Emerick Aubameyang is being deployed out wide instead of centrally.
The second half against Sheffield United was some of the best football we have played and that was with Aubameyang through the middle. Arteta has his reasons but surely, we are better going forward with him playing through the middle than out wide.
For me, his recent goal drought is not solely on him. Being played out of position and not having the creative force in midfield to make chances for him are things to consider too, but a player of his calibre will be finding the net soon enough.
Then there is the William Saliba situation. Another one I do not fully understand. When you look at Leicester’s defence in this game, Saliba’s partner when at Saint Etienne, Wesley Fofana, is starting in the Premier League, and yet Saliba can not make the bench, instead, Mustafi is being preferred.
Whether he is deemed not ready yet or it is something different, the longer it goes on, the more worried I get about his situation.
Watching the game back is it not unfair to say that Mustafi was at fault for Vardy’s goal as we can see Gabriel motion to him to cover the space to his right. Yet Mustafi completely ignores him and Vardy is left with ample space around him in the box for an easy header.
They are only little things but at this level of football those little mistakes can cost you dearly and so it proved tonight. I would hope that there will be a reshuffle of players for the Europa League tie midweek, perhaps Reiss Nelson could get a start along with Emile Smith Rowe as we need a spark of some description.
Unfortunately, it was the same old Arsenal, dominate the game, and somehow find a way to lose. It is a stark reminder of how far we still must go in terms of our development and the size of the job Mikel has in front of him.
Lately, it seems like one step forward, two steps back for us at this stage and that is what is most frustrating as we can see the improvements, but they are not there consistently.
A midweek game against Dundalk at home and then it is Manchester United away at Old Trafford and we must get some creative ideas going forward otherwise our season will be over before it begins.
We must be patient and trust in our manager and players because the first half showed us what we are capable of and if a few of those chances go in, we are looking at this match in a completely different way. The second half shows us how much work we must do to match it with the top teams in the division.
Dundalk midweek is a game we should be winning to regain some confidence and then Man United in the league. It is shaping up as a huge week in our season and worryingly it has only just started.