Arsenal’s return to action has not gone according to plan. Here are three massive surprises, good and bad, from the club’s return to action.
Arsenal fans were probably devasted more than most by the pause in the Premier League. Mikel Arteta had driven his side back into form, they were performing consistently to rank among the best in the Premier League in the calendar year.
That’s gone really sour, really fast. The Gunners can’t seem to put anything remotely positive together, as they’ve now lost two matches in a row since returning to action, a 3-0 soul-sucker against Manchester City and a 2-1 heart-crusher against Brighton. So we’ve had our souls and hearts sucked and crushed, respectively, since returning to action.
It hasn’t looked good, and a lot of things are standing out above the rest as relatively surprising changes that I don’t think we could have expected to see after the pause. Sure, Arsenal wasn’t perfect before the break, but they were earning results.
Arsenal has given us plenty of surprises despite two losses
Still, it hasn’t been all bad in the surprise category, even though the results have absolutely been bad. It still leaves me scratching my head and cursing our luck in more than a few ways.
So let’s talk about the three biggest surprises from the return to action. We start with No. 3.
3. Injury hell
Arsenal fans are no stranger to injury problems. Years of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey prepared us for it. But lately, there has been no such thing as excessive injuries in such a wide array of positions. Sure, we had a leftback problem, but did we really? Bukayo Saka filled in.
Nowadays, the Gunners are truly without a clue in the world how to keep up with all the injuries. And not just injuries, but serious injuries.
It took just eight minutes for Granit Xhaka to get hurt. Our rock in the midfield, out for some time. A mere 20 minutes later, Pablo Mari suffered a season-ending injury. About 90 minutes after that, Bernd Leno suffered an injury that looks like it will keep him out for the year too.
The biggest surprise is that these have nothing to do with match fitness. They’re all just freak occurrences. Nothing more. It’s bad luck. And it sucks.
On to No. 2.