Arsenal‘s defeat to Manchester City underlined exactly how far behind the rest of the competition they are.
They were decidedly poor , lacked intensity , ingenuity and resilience. None of their players gave a decent account of themselves , many doing the exact opposite by performing so poorly , that one can only assume their Arsenal careers are on the brink.
Apart from Jack Wilshere flapping his arms around in frustration across the midfield and involving himself in the inevitable pushing and shoving of other players , passion and desire was at a premium.
If that’s the best you can document on a team that were comprehensively undone by the eventual premier league champions , then you know how poor the performance actually was.
Arsenal plodded around the field with no intent , lost the ball far too easily and wanted it back even less.
There was no ambition and apart from the much maligned Xhaka’s 30 yard bullet, they fashioned little.
Aubameyang found opportunities few and far between and apart from an early opportunity , never looked like being the threat fans wanted him to be.( Wilshere against City in Carabao Cup / Getty)
Arsene Wenger needs to clear out the ranks , so poor was the display to a half engaged City. The Manchester side never needed to go through the gears , they just performed their intricate passing whilst dominating possession and Arsenal did the rest.
Wenger must have a list on his desk the length of an Asda till receipt and I warn you in advance , that the summer may see a large amount of those involved in yesterday’s disaster heading towards the exit door.
The first goal saw Shkodran Mustafi get sold out by Agüero in an embarrassing masterclass of how to make defenders look like spare parts on a football pitch.
The second and third saw Arsenal players strung across their box with no desire to defend.
They were standing by as the ball was delivered to feet with speed or propelled perfectly into the air , just waiting for the right connection.
There was no meaningful challenge on either and Arsenal players looked constantly behind them at he ball or at each other for the solution to a problem that they couldn’t meet or match.
Arsenal are in need of a new central defence partnership , Kochelny and Mustafi are dreadful together , with no understanding or combined strength.
Wenger will also need a new keeper for two reasons , Ospina is likely to opt out at the end of the season in search of regular first team football and Cech has become inconsistent and unreliable .
He will then need to find a replacements for both Monreal and Bellerin.
Monreal is in his advancing years , whilst Bellerin has expressed a desire to leave for Spain on the summer.
Ramsey , so often Arsenal‘s saviour was either unfit or has resigned himself to playing less of a role in the Arsenal ranks in the future and put in a performance that reflected that frame of mind.
There are others that could or should go . Welbeck , Xhaka and Elneny are not performing to the desired standard but Welbeck in particular serves no purpose.
A winger or a striker ? Well he’s neither . He needs ten chances to score a goal and when coming in from the wing , he lacks the ability to make that final killer pass to an advancing striker or midfielder.
Gary Neville, who like the rest of us was incensed by the tame nature of Arsenal‘s performance found it difficult to contain his anger.
“Ramsey’s walking. They’re walking. Xhaka’s walking. Ozil’s walking. Don’t walk at Wembley. You’re 2-0 down. Run.”
He went further and became more scathing in his assessment
” I’ve not really liked their defending for a longtime ,I’ve not really like their leadership , their character for a longtime and the spirit on the pitch but you’ve always liked the football. I don’t even like the football anymore , the last bastion has gone. It’s a dark, dark day.”( Ramsey against City in Carabao Cup Final / Getty)
He then added.
“A lot of these Arsenal players have had far too many chances for far too many years, they proved to us and everybody they aren’t good enough. ”
Anyone watching the match will agree with the majority of his comments , all be it with a degree of reluctance.
Wenger staying or going will not have any baring on the scale of the rebuilding task. George Graham once said that you have to build a team from the back but Wenger has managed to go in the opposite direction.
Arsenal are top heavy in terms of attacking intent but light in protecting any advantage they may afford themselves.
They are brittle , without leadership or inspiration , a team of individuals occasionally getting a decent result but never against the big teams in the crucial games.
It’s going to be an inevitable but painful end to a season . One where optimism quickly gave way to realism ,like Arsenal’s performance in the Carabao cup.