Well, where do I even start? In all honesty, I have no idea myself.
We went 100 days without The Arsenal, despite this season being one of the worst in recent memory, I still missed them hugely. Since his arrival, Mikel Arteta had given us all a sense of optimism and a glimpse of what the team was capable of under his leadership. I was genuinely excited for the return of not only Arsenal, but for the Premier League in general. However, there's only one thing I had forgotten about over the last couple of months...and that's the heartbreak which comes with it.
I'm not going to even put myself through all of the pain and frustration again by dissecting both games since the resumption of the league, this article is more about me getting things off my chest as a passionate Arsenal fan and writer.
What I've seen in the last week has been nowhere near good enough, and even though I am massively disappointed, am I surprised by what I've witnessed? Sadly not, not at all. It's become a far too familiar sight and it is honestly beyond a joke now, it's not funny, it's just sad.
We used to be a club which others looked up to, we used to be a club which competed at the very top against some of the worlds best, we used to be fearless and unstoppable. Sadly, all of that is no more.
Now, we get laughed at by opposition fans, laid into by the pundits (which isn't always justified) and get embarrassed on the pitch, we have fallen so very drastically low. Do you know what the saddest thing is? Even though I would usually stand up for my club and defend it endlessly, I just can't at the moment. We deserve to be laughed at, we deserve to be criticised, we only have ourselves to blame. Don't get me wrong, I will of course stand by my team, I always will, but i honestly cannot defend them right now.
I will always love Arsenal FC, no matter what, but if the players can't show some heart, grit and determination on the pitch every week, then I have no sympathy whatsoever. I haven't got any doubt that there is a lot of passion amongst the set of players that we have, we've seen it before, but why do we not see that passion 24/7? The consistency of this teams performances is so incredibly poor, although I'm sure some of you would argue that they are consistent....consistently bad!
I said on Twitter at the weekend that I believe there is a problem right at the very core of the club and that the issues run much deeper. You could have the best manager, the best defender, the best midfielder and the best striker here, but the problems will still be there and it feels as if it's getting worse every season.
Now you can agree or disagree with that opinion, but after the last few years, I genuinely can't help but think that. Now I wish i could put my finger on the exact issue, but it could be anything from overall transfer business, general atmosphere/attitude within the club, certain individuals nowhere near good enough or of course the board...maybe it's a bit of everything, I don't know. We just seem to be stuck in this bubble of uncertainty and constant disappointment.
I know some of you will argue that we haven't been a top team since the Highbury days, and to a certain extent I can agree with that. However, towards the end of Arsene Wenger's tenure at the club, something started to go wrong somewhere.
Within the 180 minutes of us playing this week, i saw a team so unbalanced, uncomfortable and mentally weak. I must admit, I actually thought we started fairly well in both games, but in typical Arsenal fashion we just crumbled, same old over and over again. It's simply not good enough, there is just no other way of putting it.
Now what I will say is, and it's only a part of the tiny sympathy I have, the luck we have had with injuries is just hugely unfortunate. It's far from ideal, but in my opinion it was always possible due to the players having a lengthy break from football, they were always going to be a bit more fragile than usual.
Over the last two games, we have lost three first team players to serious injuries. Pablo Mari is set to miss the rest of the season with an ankle ligament injury, Granit Xhaka may return before the end of the season but could be out for a few weeks and now Bernd Leno is also likely to miss the rest of the season with the club fearing he has sustained ligament and cartilage damage to his right knee. Yep, I actually think we are cursed, could this season get any worse? Maybe don't answer that!
The only other bit of sympathy I have lies with Mikel Arteta, he had a huge challenge on his hands when he first arrived, but now he really has got his work cut out. I'm not turning on him, not at all. He was always going to need time to sort this complete and utter mess out. He hasn't even had a pre-season with us yet the poor bloke!
I really hope he can turn it around, because as I mentioned earlier on, we have all seen the potential that he has as a manager, we could all see the change in attitude within the squad when he came in, but now those players must give him something back much more regularly. Mikel can only do so much, he must be strongly backed in the summer because a lot of work has got to be done. All he can do for now, is somehow find a way to spark some inspiration for his players who are lacking optimism and confidence.
One extra bit I want to add before finishing off, is that according to reporter David Ornstein, Arsenal's preparations for the return of the Premier League were "thrown into chaos" when a player tested positive for COVID-19 and two more had been in close contact with that individual. Those players missed 3 days of training before testing negative, which then cleared them to train and play a day before the trip to Manchester City.
I think it's pretty safe to say that our return to football has been far from perfect, and I believe it is only fair to take those off field problems into consideration when talking about how bad the last two games have been. I'm not making excuses, we have been poor, but I'm sure it unsettled both the squad and Arteta's plans.
Oh well, it's a new week and now all of the focus is on the Southampton game this Thursday, but unfortunately I'm just preparing to be left disappointed again. That's the sad situation we find ourselves in at the moment, it's difficult to dig out the positives...probably because there isn't many at all!
Thank goodness the season is nearly over, it has been an absolute disaster.