Regression To The Mean

In what is becoming the most repetitive narrative in the BPL, it seems that Arsenal are looking at another season of what-ifs. I know, it’s early, we’re only three weeks in, but it really looks like this year, we’re gonna get the same old Arsenal.

I’d love to be wrong, honestly. I’d love for Arsenal and manager Arsene Wenger to vary it up a little, if only because making the same old jokes at the Gunners’ expense is getting boring.

Take yesterday, for example. Prior to their showdown with Liverpool, Real Madrid forward and rumored Arsenal target (it really should be reversed) Karim Benzema posted on Instagram that he was NOT going to Arsenal, decrying the “clowns” who continued to link him with the Emirates in the process. It was, quite frankly, a move that surprised no one. (Well, maybe some Twitter in-the-knows.)

So, the guy that Arsenal was going to sign all of a sudden wasn’t coming, again to the surprise of absolutely no one. What was surprising, and is seriously downright dumb in my opinion, is that Arsenal never even put in one bid for the forward. Not even one.

Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board never even gave Florentino Perez a reason to consider selling Benzema. Sure, there was Twitter talk of bids and reports that Karim wanted to come, but that was just talk. In the words of Benzy, the people who spun those rumors were clowns.

But, no matter, there was a game to play, and Arsenal do have a French forward of their own. Benzema is overrated, anyway.

In the lead up to the game, it was reported that Arsenal’s two starting centerbacks, Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, were missing through injury and illness, and that Gabriel Paulista and Calum Chambers were going to start. The number of minutes those two have played together prior to yesterday is the same as the number of official bids Arsenal submitted for Benzema (zero).

And boy did it show. Chambers and Gabriel were abysmal in the first half, and a combination of poor Liverpool finishing and brilliant Cech saves (and the crossbar) was the only reason Arsenal weren’t down two within ten minutes. That they had a legit goal disallowed against the run of play would be so tragic if it wasn’t so Arsenal.

Gradually, Arsenal exerted control over the match and were even the better side in the second half. Unfortunately, they were once again undone by the finishing of their striker, Olivier Giroud, who really is the best backup Arsenal never had. Again, this would be so cruel if it wasn’t so Arsenal.

The game ended in a scoreless draw, starting frantically and full of excitement before descending into an ocean of meh.

This would be so disappointing if it wasn’t so Arsenal.

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