Thursday 22 March 2018 / 02:01 AM


Same old Arsenal, always dominating and still failing to win the match.

Sure, it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as the popular chant, but it’s massively relevant to the way the Gunners toiled to a 1-0 loss away at Stoke on Saturday.

I’ve borrowed a few statistics from BBC Sport to tell the story of the match:

Arsenal had more possession than they’ve had in any game since 2004 – 77.3%.

They attempted 520 more passes than their opposition.

They’ve also only kept one clean sheet in their last nine away games in the Premier League.

In short, they’re the same old Arsenal, and if nothing changes soon, they’ll have yet another season devoid of silverware, and another season of frustration.

You might not have seen it, but the wonderful British sitcom The IT Crowd portrays the perfect caricature for Wenger’s side.

Moss and Roy – the two misfits from a large company’s IT department – unwittingly find themselves at a football match.

Neither have any interest in the game, so they’re forced to feign knowledge through various footballing clichés that they pick up from other fans.

And one such cliché does a marvellous job of explaining Arsenal under Arsene Wenger:

“The trouble with Arsenal is they’re always trying to walk it in”.

A caricature it may be, but like all good caricatures, it’s based on truth.

Wenger’s obsession with the beautiful game and possession football is all very well when his side are up against a team that they are better and stronger than.

It doesn’t work when they play Stoke.

Scrolling through Facebook after Arsenal’s loss made interesting reading and perhaps the most insightful comment I saw was from a guy I used to work with.

“Same old Arsenal. Try shooting, you might score.”

Whilst this was somewhat dramatic given the Gunners’ 18 attempts on goal, there is a valid point there.

Arsenal – in contrast to a Stoke or a West Brom – are not just not route one.

They like to take the scenic route.

To deliberate, to pass until they’re blue in the face, to score the perfect goal.

But sometimes, you’ve just got to get the win.

And that’s something Arsenal don’t seem to get.

When they had probably the best team in the world, they could get away with being pretty first, and functional second. Not anymore.

Unless something changes, Arsenal will finish fourth at best, yet again.

Sure, that’d bring them back to the Champions League, but would Arsenal fans really be happy with another season that ends without any additions to the trophy cabinet?

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About the author

Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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