Saturday 27 October 2012

What a difference a week makes...

Let me begin by quoting from my last post, exactly seven days ago: "There is a good vibe around the side at the moment". It didn't take long for that to change, did it? Two dire performances on the pitch and another antsy AGM later and the mood is very different.

Did we misread the positive displays in the early part of the season, when the team appeared to have learned the mysterious concept of 'organisation'? I don't think we did, it's just that whatever good habits they had picked up were lost over the international break. We have suffered injuries, Diaby's absence being felt most acutely, but that doesn't explain the sudden loss of shape and cohesion.

I can't see a reason why, given time on the training ground, they can't re-learn those good habits but what makes things harder is the atmosphere off the pitch, among supporters. The familiar frustration endured at some point every season (but usually around spring when false hopes have truly been dashed) has come to the boil in double-quick time this year. It sets everyone in the club on edge and doubtless makes it harder for players to perform on the pitch. I don't blame us for our response - it just makes it harder for squad members who are suddenly struggling with form to improve.

The lack of any kind of vision from Stan Kroenke about what he wants to achieve - either outlined at the AGM or elsewhere - fuels the concerns. What he perceives as a hands-off approach, we end up seeing as disinterest. The ethos and attitude of the club needs to flow from the top down - perhaps Kroenke has shared his ambitions within the club behind closed doors but I doubt it. Either way, if supporters aren't given even a morsel of information worth hearing, it only feeds the 'in it for the money' conspiracy theories.

Anyway, our most immediate problems are on the pitch. Everyone, including Wenger, highlighted our terrible start to last season and what a 'miracle' it was to recover from it. Well, if we take just a point against QPR today we'll be in exactly the same position after nine games, with a trip to Man U next up.

No matter how much more encouraging the start to this season has been compared to last, it will be another daunting task to recover and gain the fabled fourth spot. Europe's fifth richest club shouldn't continue to suffer the same problems and cause the same frustrations for supporters season after season.

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