All Guns Blazing: West Ham defeat showed why Arsenal won’t win the league

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (right) during the 2-0 home defeat to West Ham. Picture: Andrew Matthe

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (right) during the 2-0 home defeat to West Ham. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Layth Yousif sighs loudly about the Gunners’ chances this season.

So, here’s the thing: five wins out of five in pre-season with 15 goals scored. Our 13th outright Community Shield victory, and a psychological lift against a rival London manager.

Our squad is lauded as our strongest since 2006, and hopes are raised – in real life as much as on Twitter – that we can mount a genuine title challenge for the first time since 2008.

We play a West Ham side fresh from being knocked out of Europe – admittedly with a string of youngsters – and the pre-match talk in the sunny Highbury Barn is of a 16-year-old playing in midfield.

What could possibly go wrong?

Two uncharacteristic mistakes from our new goalkeeper, and an impressively cohesive display from the travelling Irons – including young Reece Oxford – saw us fall to an unexpected but thoroughly deserved defeat.

I spent the rest of Sunday drowning my sorrows, and the whole of Monday sighing loudly.

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So distraught did I look, a concerned colleague asked me in all seriousness if I was ok. The look on her face when I said Arsenal had lost said it all. There are bigger things in life, and I felt embarrassed because of the lack of perspective in my emotions. All I could do was repeat one of my favourite quotes: “Football is the most important of least important things.”

But I was – and still am – absolutely gutted.

It’s not the losing per se. Anyone who follows sport understands losing plays an intrinsic part of any game as much as winning does – and coping with losing is part of the deal.

It also explains why sport is so important on so many levels – because it arms you with an understanding of how to lose. Which is a good lesson for life too.

No, what disappointed me was the inconvenient truth that all the promise of pre-season, and of stating confidently “we’re going to challenge for the title”, was blown away in 90 minutes.

Of course it’s only one game. One poor debut doesn’t make Petr Cech a bad player. The squad we have is good enough to ensure a top-four finish and a knockout trophy again.

But Sunday provided the crushing revelation we simply don’t have what it takes to win the Premier League. Again.

And that – more than anything – is what hurts.

Follow me @laythy29