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04th Feb 2017

Five things that sum up just how shit Arsenal really are

New year, same story.

Conan Doherty

At least they celebrated that Community Shield back in 2015 because, Christ almighty, it’s going to be a long time before they touch silverware again.

They did enough celebrating to last a lifetime after that pre-season friendly anyway.

But here we are again. February again. Arsenal over-hyped again. Arsenal flattering to deceive again.

In fairness to Arsene Wenger, he is not a master of deception and he’s not done or doing anything differently to what he’s done for a decade now. His deception is not disguised and it is not fooling anyone. In fact, he’s blatantly had no deception whatsoever and he’s admitted and defended that rigid stance time and time again.

For some reason though, people let themselves be fooled by nothing and draw their own conclusions that, despite not one thing changing, this year will be different.

Then it’s the next year. And the year after that. And the year after that.

Honestly, this has been going on for far too long now – you could set your annual calendar to it. Exhibit A from last season:

That’s more like Exhibit G.

On Saturday, Arsenal just began February like they generally do. Blowing any chance in la-la land that they had of the title, losing convincingly to Chelsea. By the end of the month, they’ll be out of the Champions League but maybe ready to end the season on a relative high just in time to convince us all that next year will be different.

The 3-1 defeat to Chelsea just emphasised the very worst of Arsene Wenger’s Gunners though and there were five elements of that loss that really summed up their weaknesses and why they weren’t, aren’t and never will be genuine title contenders. Not until they sort themselves out.

1. Hector Bellerin doesn’t want to win that ball

All the talk that followed was about Alonso’s arms and Bellerin getting knocked to ground.

The fact of the matter is, if he doesn’t win that ball, Chelsea score. He knows that. Marcos Alonso sure as hell knew it and he wanted to win it. Bellerin didn’t. He could’ve gotten away with a lot more than the Blues man did but he wasn’t uncompromising enough.

They never are.

2. Francis Coquelin’s fraudulent tackle

Eden Hazard is surrounded by Arsenal players – no less their steely defensive midfielder. From this position, hanging off the Chelsea man, you’d expect him to do what he’s there to do.

You’d be wrong.

Hazard goes through and scores. From there.

Coquelin is just the latest in a long line of midfielders selected to be the new saviour of North London. He’s just the latest in a long line to prove completely ineffective for Arsenal’s ambitions. They keep bringing in okay players to plug the chronic gaps in the teams. They’re kidding themselves if they think any of them would ever have gotten them nearer to the title.

3. Theo Walcott in general

Almost a micro version of Arsenal’s overall hype. Scores a couple of goals, shows off his pace two or three times and this is it: he’s finally arrived. This time is different – that sort of thing.

Inevitably falls short and disappears into oblivion before the next season of hope comes back around.

He’s been brought off 100 times in the Premier League now. There’s tried and tested and then there’s Theo Walcott.

4. Danny Welbeck for Theo Walcott

Is that the answer when you’re up against it at Chelsea?

Was that really the answer when Arsenal needed to sign a top striker in that transfer window? And every other transfer window.

5. Losing mentality

In the fact that Arsene Wenger has never lost a game and not blamed the ref or some perceived atrocity that was done to his side.

In the fact that some Arsenal fans claim that Mohamed Elneny going to Africa and Jack Wilshere going to Bournemouth has somehow impact on their season and ruined their shot at the Premier League.

Catch up with this week’s episode of 888sport Football Friday Live