Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta
You know what they say about old habits, "they die hard". Arsenal was at their usual self-destructive mode when they dropped 2 crucial points in the London derby in a race to close the gap on the top 4, reminiscent of their habit of letting themselves down when the stakes are high.
While most of the post-match talk from the London derby was how a spirited Arsenal rescued a point from 3 goals down against West Ham, it should be noted that it was their sloppiness that got them into the difficult corner in the first place.
It is almost absurd to think that Arsenal are among the English premiership big 6 clubs. How they capitulate in matches they are supposed to be in cruise control is unspeakable. Their performances in recent years are characterised by blunders, mostly unforced errors. It's no surprise they have failed to make the league's top 4 for quite a while.
Calum Chambers after the weekend draw with West Ham
Sloppiness in defence and errors leading to a conceded goal has now become a reoccurring trait in Arsenal play/performances. The 1-all draw against Burnley a couple of weeks ago, followed by both legs of the UEFA Europa League against Olympiacos were just a few of Arsenal's self-destructive play.
"The first goal we conceded is their quality. The other two goals were the chance that we gave to them, I can not accept it" - Arteta after West Ham draw.
"We were nowhere near the level that we have set for ourselves..." - Arteta after a home loss to Olympiacos
"...it's the principles that you apply, the urgency that you have and the decision making you take in relation to what the opponent is doing.." - Arteta trying to justify the goal conceded against Burnley.
Arteta's post-match interviews these days is mostly disapproval of his team's one-two many mistakes. He's certainly worried his team often time put themselves in a tight corner and often needed to re battle it out the hard way. The Gaffer constantly reiterate that his team is far from where he wants them, admittedly, however, most of the errors are schoolboy errors that should not be committed by players donning Arsenal jerseys.
They were let off the hook against West Ham with such a horrendous first 32 minutes on that occasion, a more sophisticated side like the leagues current top 4 would successfully close up shop having led 3 nil.
The season is gradually winding down with only a mere 9 matches left and Arsenal still languishing in mid-table, some way off the top 4. Arsenal needs to find consistency and cut out the blunders or next season is going to be the same old same old.