If you ask footballers if they’ve got any pre-match rituals or any superstitions that they heed to, it’s a good chance that a fair share of them will answer yes. Most of these are born out of habit, some out of chance, and the rest have more of a personal reason behind it.
Be it wearing your cleats in a particular order or being the last person to enter the field before kick-off, and countless more practices, superstitions and rituals are truly a part of the game.
Speaking of rituals, we introduce you to one that came to light recently at Arsenal – thanks to an article by journalist John Cross on Mirror‘s official site.
After working wonders with a few key buys in the summer and making the best out of the squad left behind by Wenger, Unai Emery has made Arsenal a force to be reckoned with this season.
With the capacity to outplay big teams with fluidic football and exhilarate fans, Arsenal’s home form was the one of the best in the league, with 10 wins on the trot leading up to the game against Palace.
All that changed when Palace registered a 3-2 win at the Emirates, which then cascaded into three back-to-back defeats for the Arsenal.
Arsenal’s home record in their last 11 Premier League games:
— Tom Bridges (@bridges_tom) April 21, 2019
Incidentally, it was at this home game that the bizarre “ritual” came under flak. So it goes like this: Before the game, Emery asks a member of the club staff to conduct a pre-match huddle to pump the boys up. And the motivator does not stay the same, as Emery has rotated this role as well along with his squad.
The idea behind this is to make everyone at the club to be involved in the footballing aspect.
The ritual hasn’t worked in the last three games, as Arsenal suffered defeat at home to Palace(2-3) and away defeats at Wolves(3-1) and Leicester(3-0).
Arsenal’s mesmerizing home run was marred, their away form hasn’t been inspiring, and the ritual does not seem to be working. Additionally, it’s the first time that Arsenal have conceded 3 goals in 3 league games for the first time in the history. Dark arts at play here?
Arsenal have conceded three goals in three consecutive Premier League games for the first time in the club's history:
🔴 2-3 vs. Palace
🔴 1-3 vs. Wolves
🔴 0-3 vs. Leicester
A record-breaking first season under Unai Emery. 🙃 pic.twitter.com/DGYYKmTBws
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 28, 2019
Having a club member conduct the pre-match pep talk is bizarre, and hasn’t been working wonders of late, as Arsenal compete with Chelsea Spurs and United for top 4.
Was Arsenal’s poor run of results just a coincidence with their odd ritual, or were there other forces at play here? Regardless, the Gunners will be hoping for better things to come as the season comes to a close and the race for top 4 intensifying.