Arsenal fell to a damaging 2-1 defeat at the hand of Watford on Saturday as their Premier League challenge took another blow.
The game itself will be remembered for a contentious penalty decision, with Richarlison going down easily and winning a spot-kick, which Troy Deeney used to equalise. Tom Cleverley then smashed home the winner in injury time as Arsenal were undone yet again.
Following a good run of form in which Arsenal had not been beaten since their 4-0 loss to Liverpool on August 27th, this defeat has been alarmingly damaging to the Gunners. Fans and critics alike have lambasted Arsenal who missed the chance to close the gap on Manchester United in second following their draw with Liverpool.
Ultimately, the defeat highlighted key areas in which Arsenal are weak, with Watford punishing their lack of backbone and physicality.
Joey Barton was one that has been vocal since Arsenal’s defeat, and he told TalkSport: “These are worrying times if you’re an Arsenal fan, but if you’re him [Wenger] you think the next good team is just around the corner and he’s building it”.
He continued by saying: “I’m a huge fan of what Wenger has done, but sometimes you can stay at a party too long. Sometimes it’s nice to get off [home] at 12 o’clock, but it’s now about 4am and he’s staggering around absolutely bladdered waiting for someone to eject him – which is only going to be a matter of time, I think”.
Wenger is undoubtedly a fine manager that is coming under criticism that should not be solely directed at him. After all, it is the players that are actually underperforming, with Wenger only able to to do so much from the sidelines.
Arsenal’s next game is a Europa League showdown with Red Star Belgrade. It is the perfect chance for the London side to put their disappointing defeat to Watford behind them and continue their progression in Europe. However, a similar performance against their Europa League opponents could see pressure mount to unbearable levels for Wenger and his team.