Arsenal has always been considered a team with a soft centre. Apply a little bit of pressure and they tend to fold more often than not. This argument came up after the game against Stoke. We barely had a shot on target then and Nzonzi was quick to write us off. Who can ever forget Patrice Evra of Manchester United taunting Arsenal season in season out?
We are usually known as the team that plays sumptuous football but we are also known as the team that can capitulate just as easily. I don’t think there is any team in this world other than Arsenal who can draw a game after leading 4-0. It is definitely never over until the fat lady sings.
Even the team of invincibles was known to slip up time and time again. Their brand of football only seemed to paper the cracks that existed. Teams like Bolton Wanderers with Allardyce at the helm always seemed to relish playing against them. Park the bus and players like Henry and Pires did not have any answers. I have to admit it was very effective and Mourinho not only perfected the art but also learnt how to catch us on the break. We had no answer until now.
This season we are not playing the type of football that has become synonymous with us. We are grinding out results and defending well. I do not think I have seen so many clean sheets in one season. Our defensive centre back pairing of course deserve special praise but it has been the collective team as a whole that has ensured we come out with the win even when not playing with the fluidity expected of us.
So where am I going with this? After the game against Tottenham, people stood up and took notice. We are back in the title race but most people think that Liverpool have a better chance of winning it. Why? Because they are playing the entertaining football most neutrals crave for. They are a joy to watch and are cutting teams open at will. Arsenal on the other hand is not playing boring football per se but the team is a pale shadow from the invincibles. Words like tenacious and resilient have been used to describe Arsenal recently.
Basically Arsenal has learnt to win ugly the way every one wanted them to win yet now that is described as their Achilles heel. Arsenal won’t care so long as they win the league at the end of the season and prove all the doubters wrong.