By Dan Ferguson
Arsenal 4-2 Vorskla
This Europa League game felt pointless.
Similar to a pre-season match : it felt like the Emirates Cup.
The first half was so uneventful that I was glazed over and didn’t actually notice that Auba might have a chance to score with our first shot on target late in the half.
Half time 1-0 and the best moment for me was a Torreira sliding challenge with his head.I’ve seen a few brave nutters do this before, and it never ceases to amaze.
The second half began with a blitz and didn’t really let up. Welbeck scored a goal on 48, and Auba again on 56, both nicely taken. Ozil made it 4-0 on 74 and then Arsenal pretty much began to take their foot off the pedal and become a little complacent.
Guendouzi, Smith-Rowe, Torreira all look like genuine prospects in a good team. Even Iwobi played well at times.
But Arsenal is not a good team because the defence is weak and the same old mentality allowed Vorskla to score two good goals because Arsenal didn’t do their jobs in defence. Both goals we very well taken but should never have existed had the team played as a unit.
This is the first of four home games in ten days.
Chalk this one up and leave it for your kids to read about in a programme or online in twenty years. There is very little else to learn from this game.
I think Guendouzi could do well with Torreira and Ramsey if they get the chance to play together. He plays like Wilshere in Petit’s body. So much more open and zippy than Jack, and with a great range of passing. Unlike Jack he doesn’t want to slow the game down.
I think Arsenal is still waiting to click.
We have some outstanding players, but no one is trusting Cech, Mustafi, Sokratis, Xhaka and Ozil.
Everton will probably expect these players to sink back within themselves and even though we have won four in a row, Everton won’t come to park the bus. Watford will also be a decent test because the defence won’t be able to cope with the pressure plays from the opposition forwards.
If Arsenal can win both those games, I will have a better impression of our top four chances.
After all, Spurs were never going to improve with no signings, and more Wembley. They are in turmoil but no one wants to touch that story yet. But both Poch and Levy’s jobs will be at risk if they fall away. They have lost their automatic, and are in a position to be leapfrogged with such a stretched squad. Arsenal could grind it out yet.
But the Premier League is all we can learn from. Maybe the latter stages of the Europa Cup if we get that far. But games like this are a hollow reminder of how much work remains to be done to elevate Arsenal to contender status.
Watch this space.
PS.Dan’s wife Clare has a short film on the FT.com home page :