Even for Arsenal’s standards, Wednesday night’s Europa League final defeat was pretty special in terms of how disastrous it was.
In a game where the Gunners simply had to win, the north London side suffered one of the club’s most embarrassing results in their history with a 4-1 defeat to a Chelsea side seemingly at war with its own manager, their star player already with his mind somewhere else, and a transfer ban looming over their shoulders.
Chelsea, who also already finished in a Champions League spot in the Premier League, looked like a team who wanted to win, whilst Arsenal, yet again, just keeled over and died before our very eyes.
It was an all too familiar story. Strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette were isolated and failed to do a thing, Sead Kolasinac tried to bomb forward but couldn’t manage one successful pass into the penalty area, and Mesut Ozil once again vanished as he floated around the pitch.
It wasn’t until Alex Iwobi, and a player who most fans have written off, and Joe Willock came on in the second half that the Gunners finally started showing some fight, but by then it was too late, and the damage has already been done.
The loss in Baku will remain a black scar on Arsenal until a return Champions League happens, whenever that will be, but the defeat also proved what many had speculated, the club have a mentality problem.
Pound-for-pound, Arsenal had the best XI out there at the Olympic Stadium, but because Chelsea’s mentality of always wanting to win silverware despite the ‘disastrous’ season they have had proved to be the difference maker, and in doing so set the Gunners back to square one in their long-term plan to return to the top.
Arsenal could have made it a night to remember, but instead, fans saw the same club that capitulated against Crystal Palace and Brighton, and if changes aren’t made this summer, there is a genuine fear the Gunners will never return to the former glories their fans want so desperately.
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