Arsenal defender Sokratis has come out and indicated that his teammates aren’t stupid, but we knew that. That’s never been the problem.
I admire the willingness of Sokratis to come out and speak his mind about his Arsenal team and teammates. It had been a whole lot of silence from everyone until Sokratis came out and said that his teammates aren’t “stupid” and that they know they have to improve.
That’s well and good, but it’s never been a matter of stupidity with these players. In fact, I’d argue we have some of the more intelligent players in the league. Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil are geniuses, for starters, and it trickles down from there.
No, it’s not about intelligence, or not understanding the stakes, or not realizing that they have to do better. It’s about what Sokratis specializes in that so few others do – it’s about spine, fight, determination. Not intelligence.
If anything, it comes down to these players being too smart and getting lost in their own heads when things go poorly. Look at Everton. Look at Wolverhampton. In both instances, the Gunners essentially assumed the fetal position when things started going bad.
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They mustered no fight. No determination. No desire to turn things around. That had nothing to do with them being stupid, but everything to do with them seeing the situation and clearly not believing that they could change it.
And why would they think that?
Because historically, they haven’t been able to change it. When things go bad, they stay bad. It’s just a part of what this club has been lately. At least in terms of individual matches. They surrender that first goal and it’s a massive deflation. Even guys like Xhaka, Sokratis, Sead Kolasinac, who have fight, look defeated.
It’s a hard fate to look at, especially when you know what’s coming, and especially when you know that the players know that it’s coming too. Which, again, isn’t about stupidity. It’s about knowing how things traditionally work out.
Like I said, I admire Sokratis coming out and saying these things, but what does it actually amount to? I mean, he’s right. These guys aren’t stupid. But it’s not intelligence that’s the problem, it’s determination.
It’s bordering on an epidemic. It’s amazing that a club full of talented players such as we have all manage to hit the same level of helplessness when things go poorly. Unai Emery is the guy to fix that though. He has to be.