In temperatures that are considered perfectly normal for eskimos, polar bears and penguins, Bate managed to man the barricades and snuff out Arsenal’s advances before administering a decisive blow.
Arsenal literally froze on the Europa league stage, with an unimaginative performance that was just the tip of the iceberg.
I could keep going with this chilly nonsense, simply to make what I am about to write feel marginally better in an artistic sense.
Sadly, Arsenal didn’t provide me with an enthralling display to look back on, just another one dimensional evening where, once again the Arsenal were at best mediocre.
There was no flow, no connection, little in the way of communication and less in terms of understanding.
It’s an Arsenal that I don’t recognise at present. Never mind Chelsea turning into Arsenal, Arsenal are becoming Chelsea.
The 800 or so fans that travelled, have just recovered for re evaluating their teams likely finishing position in the premier league.
On their previous form, 4th seems unlikely but on this form, they may have to concentrate on the premiership, because this performance suggests Arsenal are nowhere near capable of winning this competition.
If there is a plan. It’s not working. Emery is tactically astute but it would appear the players at his disposal aren’t capable of executing his orders.
Just this season, Arsenal’s transformation has had four defined stages.
Stage One, was slowly adapting to a new manager, training regime and tactics.
Stage Two, was an awkward implementation period, that looked as if the players were trying to paint by numbers but with some of the numbers missing.
Stage Three, was the performance metamorphosis, that saw the club achieve impressive wins over Chelsea and Spurs.
Prematurely, fans sang ‘we’ve got our Arsenal back.’
The Forth stage, is the one we are currently witnessing.
Insipid and uninspired performances that are as dull as dish water.
The revolution came after Wenger’s departure, it landed, sniffed around for a spell and then appears to have hitchhiked out of town, without telling anyone.
So, Arsenal went to Belarus and flatlined, the mentality and application was extremely poor, although there was a promising opening spell.
Kolasinac, Iwobi and Mkhitaryan were involved in the rare quality stuff that took place and the first two combined to create an opportunity for the Armenian but Scherbitski soaked it up.
In fact, the Bate keeper who is suspect from set plays and troubled from distance, had a quite game as the visitors decided not to inconvenience him at work.
No one had a twenty yarder and Xhaka who made his return obviously didn’t want to test his suspect groin.
Lacazette looked likely to pull it out of the bag. He teased by going close on occasion and had a goal disallowed before going for an early bath.
Other than that, the team that were once thought to be a second half team, now don’t turn up for either half.
I don’t admit this often but this game actually bored me. I’m not proud to say it, but I drifted off mentally, thinking about real life stuff and even left the lounge for a drink and a snack.
Normally, I return intermittently to see if I’ve missed anything but I felt no compulsion to do that last night, convinced that nothing much was going to happen. Nothing much did.
Maksim Skavysh and Nemanja Milic were the brightest talents on show but unfortunately, they don’t play for Arsenal.
Alexandre Hleb decided to delay his retirement so that he could have an emotional encounter with his former club and he patrolled the middle, showing neat little touches that used to entertain the opposition fans but there were signs of an intact footballing brain and disobedient limbs.
Hleb will hang up his boots soon after the return at the Emirates, where Arsenal will have to rattle in the goals without conceding.
Talking of which, in the 45th minute, Arsenal were slow to react to a dangerous looking free kick out on the right and up popped Stanislav Dragun, to out jump Kolasinac.
The ball rocketed into the net and Petr Cech barely twitched.
The veteran keeper had produced the goods for the gunners and could be pleased with his own personal contribution but Arsenal are not looking good these days and decisions not to play Ozil and keep Suarez on a short leash aren’t exactly helping.
Emery is creating problems for himself. The lineup was good but the performance was shocking.