By Avenell Dave
Results like Saturday's are reason enough to hate international weeks - our flow and rythmn are disrupted and injuries always shore us of key players.
When I saw the team line-up against Sunderland on Saturday, I was delighted.
At last, Arsene Wenger had resisted the chance to go for a conservative line-up with players like Denilson and Manu Eboue and gone for an attacking line-up that would produce chances against a Sunderland team shorn of their target man and biggest threat, Kenwyne Jones.
Tomas Rosicky is a class player and with Samir Nasri able to pull the strings as well, it all looked good.
Eduardo has been scoring goals of late (Wolves and for Croatia) and is undoubtedly a world class finisher.
But Wenger was right to chastise the players - this was not down to personnel, it was down to application.
We cannot blame the absence of RvP or the intensity of the opposition - the fact is, Sunderland had chances and we did little to show we cared.
It's not the first time - AZ Alkmaar away and West Ham have shown a lack of mental toughness that will make us also-rans again.
Is Carlos Vela really the answer, as Wenger ahs hinted?
Certainly with a few games I can see the Mexican doing a job for us and if the referees had been a bit more lively, he would have won us penalties at Aklmaar and Sunderland.
But we have no Plan B. When things get desperate, we have no variation to our style - and perhaps the absence of Nick Bendtner has played a part in that because he would ahve made a real nuisance of himself on Saturday.
The defence is solid enough but we still lack someone really capable of putting their boot or head in no matter what - and we need a lump who cares only of clearing the ball. Our record at set piece defending is abysmal.
I met a Gooner on Saturday night who summed it all up: "People have seen Vermaelen scoring goals and making the odd tackle and forgotten that, good player that he is, he has been at fault for a fair few goals this season."
As was the case on Saturday. he is not to blame, but the mix is just not right for the long haul.
You just had to look at how Ch*vski destroyed Wolves to see the difference between thealso rans like us and Liverpool and the real contenders.
The Ch*vs can be without Fat Frank and Diver Dr*gba and still saunter to victory - we lose a player or two and we simply cannot cope.
That's the economic reality of having a young team and stadium debt rather than a sugar daddy loaning the club hundreds of millions and buying players at their peak.
Tomorrow night can't come soon enough.
Give Aaron Ramsey, who disappointed on Saturday, Vela, Theo Walcott and others a game where they can build up match fitness, confidence and get back into their rythmn.
Anything less than three points against the Ch*vs on Sunday would be a disaster and we need to find form and determination quickly.