Arsenal are stuck in a cycle of mediocrity – clinical Chelsea are everything they are not.

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One over-exuberant Arsenal fan thought it was a good idea to throw their drink at Reece James as the Chelsea goalscorer celebrated firing the European champions 2-0 ahead. Even that missed. Arsenal in nutshell.

It could get better, of course. But it probably won’t.

Arsenal are stuck in a cycle of mediocrity – they have been for as long as their supporters care to remember.

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When James doubled Chelsea’s lead, droves of Arsenal supporters left their seats to head back to the concourse – many of them not returning until the start of the second half.

And frankly, who could blame them?

It took 15 minutes for that giddy start of the season feeling to dissipate here at the Emirates.

Romelu Lukaku saw to that with a debut goal following his £97.5million return to west London.

Indeed, Lukaku’s colossal performance typified the difference between these two clubs. Men against boys.

Not even the most blinkered Arsenal fan would have held much hope going into the first home game of the season.

Chelsea are everything Arsenal are not. Cohesive, efficient and clinical.

Thomas Tuchel has got his team singing to his tune. Mikel Arteta is struggling to get his players to hum, let alone sing.

But for Gooners, that doesn’t make it hurt any less. Their team have fallen so far adrift of the Premier League’s elite.

Not so long ago, this club was the example. Not any more. They aren’t anywhere near.

Over 18 months into his reign it’s still not abundantly clear exactly how Arteta wants Arsenal to play.

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The lack of pressure on the ball when out of possession, particularly in the first half, was alarming.

Having spent over £130m in the transfer market over the summer, there should be a marked improvement from Arsenal over the course of the season.

The early signs, however, aren’t promising. Zero points. Zero goals. The only positive? Well, surely it can’t get any worse than this.

Their two main summer signings: Ben White and Martin Odegaard missed this defeat, while captain and main goalscorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was only well enough for a 29-minute cameo after recovering from a bout of Covid.

We should, perhaps, reserve total judgement until Arteta can field his strongest team.

But some fans have already made their minds up. The boos that echoed round the Emirates at half-time and full-time sums up the mood pretty accurately.

’That was s***, Mikel,’ roared one apoplectic fan at full-time. If things don’t improve, the language – and feeling towards the head coach – will only get worse.

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