Arsenal’s season could be summed up in their 3-3 draw at West Ham United on Saturday, a result that even Arsene Wenger admitted ended the Gunners best chance in a decade to win the title.
It started so well for Arsenal. Some brilliant passing and movement allowed them to race out to a 2-0 lead early in the first half.
But then in the last three minutes of the first half, Arsenal’s soft underbelly was exposed as Andy Carroll scored twice to make it 2-2.
Then seven minutes into the second half, Carroll got his and West Ham’s third to make it 3-2. But when all seemed lost, Laurent Koscielny popped up to make it 3-3.
Once again this season it was Arsenal’s lack of leadership in defense that caused their downfall. The Arsenal backline looked shaky all day and seemed clueless at how to handle long balls and crosses into the box.
Carroll was the scourge of Arsenal and speaking after the game Wenger admitted the Gunners should have handled him better.
“We’ve shown resilience and spirit to come back to 3-3. In the last 20 mins it could have gone both ways.
I’m disappointed we didn’t (have an answer to Andy Carroll),” Wenger said.
“We should have made life a bit more difficult for him.”
“On the first, second and third goal, we were a bit naive defensively.”
How many seasons now have Arsenal fans been pleading with Wenger to do something to strengthen the teams defense? Arsenal have now conceded two or more goals against Swansea City, Manchester United, Tottenham and West Ham in their last six Premier League games.
But it is not just the last six games that are the problem. Arsenal have been poor defensively all season. Only two teams in the top eight, West Ham and Stoke, have conceded more goals than Arsenal’s 33 this season.
Until Wenger buys a dominating defender, and makes an effort of play defensive football when needed, it will be the same old story for the Gunners fans. Close, but not quite good enough.