The hangover from our Villa drubbing will last longer than most.
Firstly, because the nature of the loss was so emphatic that it is hard to find any positives.
Secondly, because the international football calendar has kindly given us two weeks to stew over it.
There are positives behind the grey veil of misery, but they don’t seem as positive as they did before we were given a rude awakening by a rapidly improving Villa side.
The loss reminds us that while we have a stronger squad than we have done in recent years, and that we have a coach we can get behind – the difference between success and another season of League table ignominy is minute.
Our last two league games are the perfect example of what it takes to get to where we need to be.
The two teams named by Arteta were exactly the same for our win over Man United and the loss to Villa – yet the performances were at both ends of the spectrum.
Our victory at Old Trafford showed our press in full effect. It showed our midfield reclaiming the ball and feeding it to our danger players. It showed our width with Bellerin, Tierney and Saka all taking it in turns to either put a delivery in or take on their opposite number. It showed Lacazette giving value to the team as he was the player who had reclaimed possession more than any other.
And the Villa game?
It showed one thing.
It exhibited exactly what happens when you let your motivation drop.
Villa were first to every loose ball. They created all of the chances, they never let us settle, they were completely in the ascendancy. In the last ten minutes when we were losing emphatically – only one side should have been pushing for a goal.
And yet it was Villa.
We were completely outgunned and it was the same team who only a week before, had done the same to United.
That is something Arteta must investigate. If he has players who aren’t giving their all to the project, there can only be one result – the exit door.
No more warnings.