Empty Seats after third goal
Hit the crisis button because Arsenal just started the season with a lacklustre spanking from Villa. As scripts go this one couldn’t have been anymore perfect if you were amongst the people who look at the current squad and a little bit of your Arsenal soul dies. We’ve lost one of our two centre backs for 2 games, we saw injuries to Sagna, Gibbs and Chamberlian which leaves us desparately short and rumours are that Jack took a knock and could be out. Oh, and we lost to a team nearly relegated last year 3-1.
What an utter shambles. Wenger’s men fell to pieces, no organisation, no spirit… a team kept dangerous by a veteran injury prone Czech… Rosicky really was the only player worth the entrance fee. Villa roughed us up… they also had the benefit of favour with a quite awful ref, but let’s not kid ourselves here… we created very little all game. Our lack of class in the final third was frightening.
Giroud opened the day with a nice left footed finish. Rosicky started things in out half with a quick pass to Chamberlain, he bounded down the park, cut a ball back to Giroud who coolly finished. We controlled possession for large parts after that. Villa didn’t really create much in the way of chances. We tend to sit back and play the long game. Possession football to win a game really needs the right personnel which we don’t have. The cutting ruthless edge of yesteryear really isn’t there. So we don’t keep the ball well and we can’t finish. Bad combo.
Well, our failure to capitalise on our possession bite us on the arse when Agbonlohor waltzed through middle of the park unchallenged, Szczesny wiped him out and the ref pointed to the spot. I thought he managed to land a touch on the ball, I was wrong. To be honest, we were lucky to keep 11 men on the pitch at that point. If any moment summed up our lack of defensive midfielder it was that one. No player should ever have the freedom to dance through the middle of the park unchallenged.
Szczesny rattled the bar prior to Benteke taking the kick like a gorilla. The Belgian struck poorly, Chezzer parried back into the dangerzone, Benteke nodded the ball into the net.
Things got even worse when Gibbs split his cheek open on Benteke’s elbow. It took the ref an age to spot this… When it became apparent he was going off, I was half expecting a tannoy announcement of ‘could anyone with left back experience please report to your nearest steward’… Jenks eventually came on and Sagna moved to left back. Not ideal. What did get me was that Gibbs even went off. Not very manly, I hate to say it, but would John Terry have gone off with a cut cheek? No chance…
There was a real cock up when both Sagna and Jenks ended up on the right, nobody had the left covered at all… culminating with Sagna crumpled in a heap injured. What a mess.
Half time was met by boos. Aimed at Wenger. Talk in the bar was dominated by ‘what the f*ck is he doing?’ chat… Thankfully, no one was blaming anyone else other then the manager. The only criticism the club are getting is of allowing this pathetic debacle continue.
The second half was spent mostly pushing my face into my palms along with slamming my plastic seat… and guffawing. It started with us losing Chambo to injury. He’s done something to his knee. It’ll probably be serious. A tired Cazorla replaced him out wide.
We huffed a bit, our crossing from Theo and Jenks was second rate… when they did make the box, Giroud made sure he put every single header wide. He really can’t cut it under pressure.
Jack Wilshere caused us problems when he lost the ball in the middle of the park, Delph had all the space in the world to fire off a shot that hit the inside of the post. Arsenal ran hawkeye past it 20 minutes laters and thankfully the ball hadn’t crossed the line, a true shocker as we were all sure it went in. It was worrying how many hospital passes he and Ramsey were racking up.
Jack played in Cazorla in the middle of the park, the Spaniard didn’t get a ‘MAN ON’, he turned and was dispossessed on the halfway line… Agbonolohor ran into the box, Koscielny slid in and took the ball… but the ref pointed to the spot. A soft penalty and again, only a yellow card. Benteke made no mistake with his second penalty sending the keeper the wrong way. The crowd started getting angry. How was this happening to us… again?
Things went from bad to worse, Arsenal failed to deal with a long ball over the top, Koscielny tried to challenge Wiemann, pulled out and missed him… then Mertesacker made a horrible challenge. The ref blew up, booked Kos and sent him off. What a totally crazy decision. I really felt for Laurent.
After that, things really went down the pan. We lost all composure. We had to drop Rambo into the middle of the defence alongside Per… which was laughable… but we only have two centre backs at the club. Which is also laughable. Especially as we’ve known all summer. Seriously, in the whole of bankrupt Europe, is there not a decent centre back available?
Rosicky was trying to be the one man saviour machine. He played a superb one two with Giroud but blazed his finish over. He combined later with Cazorla, but the Spaniard could only force a superb save from Guzman. An example of the gulf in class between Giroud and Van Persie came when a long ball was fired into the box… Robin would have volleyed it, Giroud barely had the competence to duff it behind him to Wilshere.
Theo won a corner late on. Jenkinson was told by Jack to stay on the halfway line, which he didn’t, he half heartedly moved towards Theo for the short corner… then totally forgot who was in behind him. Villa broke… their left back had a free run on goal, took his time, slotted home. At that point half the stadium emptied. I’ve never seen anything like it. They broke out with a chorus of ‘spend some f*cking money’ that was delivered with a distinctly unArsenal fan like aggression and venom. The fans were disgusted. How was this happening?
Things continued to bomb for Arsenal, Sagna fell horribly on the back of his neck, apparently he’s ok… but I’d expect there to be some sort of whip lash, so we’ll see on that one. He was then replaced by a very unhappy Podolski who was miffed that he’d been asked to warm up, only to be told he wasn’t coming on to chase the game.
The game took an age to finish, most stayed to boo the manager and chant that song at him… the only player who showed any balls at the end was Jack Wilshere who clapped the fans when no one else was on the pitch. The conversation leaving the stadium was ‘how long is he going to put up with this?’… good question. Very good question.
Arsene Wenger is an incredibly selfish man. Once again, he’s made this whole transfer window about himself and his vision of what a football team should be. He has scant regards for the fanbase and the realities of what’s needed to compete at the highest level. There is no excuse for yesterday. The football season started then, not on September 3rd. Aston Villa went quietly about their business. They bought 7 players, of which one played yesterday and scored. The did their business early. Lambert had a plan. He only played one new player because he wanted the new guys to soak up the atmosphere of a game rather than deep end them.
That’s a guy with a plan and a vision. Not even an incredible one. Just an idea of what he wants to do.
What did Arsene do yesterday? Turned up under prepared. No dressing room buzz. A deflated stadium of season ticket holders. A squad depleted through sales and injuries.
That game was the nightmare Wenger should have had a month ago.
Wenger’s inaction heaped pressure on everyone. It’s put immense pressure on the players who at the current moment are facing a season in which they know they have little chance of success, and worse, they know they’re going to get run into the ground in a world cup year. He’s also ruined the first game of the season for the fans. Standing in the bar pregame… we had nothing to talk about. Really sad stuff. The pregame build up was flat. Wenger is sucking the joy out of one of the biggest privileges in football… having a season ticket and a stake in the club you love.
This isn’t even a new issue… for the third summer in a row, Wenger has royally ballsed up the summer in exactly the same way. How can a club give a man with a track record like that so much power? It’s embarrassing. We’re embarrassing. I had 22 text messages from fans of opposition clubs when I left the ground all gloating at our situation. What can I say back? There’s no defence at all.
The only player worth anything yesterday was Thomas Rosicky, who was immense all day. He was supposed to play left wing, but he ended up playing in the hole most of the time. Things really ticked along with him sitting there, trouble is, the players around him lacked class in the final third. Theo Walcott was really poor yesterday, back to his best rarely creating anything along with struggling with control. Giroud just isn’t good enough. He’s far too slow and he isn’t incisive in front of goal. Sure he scored a tap in… but outside that, he really was poor.
Aaron Ramsey was irritating. He doesn’t have the passing game to play with the trio of Rosicky, Jack and Cazorla. He should have sat deep and been the outlet for those guys. Instead we had to watch him giving it away and slowing down play. Where was the leader telling him to sit back? In the stands watching. Where is the leader in the team when Arteta is out? Where is the leader from the bench changing things up? As soon as things start to go wrong, the whole team falls apart.
I can’t blame the players though, it’s not really their fault. They need help. They need an injection of quality and depth. We have 13 fit first team players. This has been coming all summer. Things could really get bad this week as well. I don’t want to raise the alarm but we have Fenerbache away this Wednesday, then we have a Fulham on an early kick off on Saturday. Last season, we had Fulham off the back of a busy week and we barely scraped a win in a terrible game. A tired decimated squad could easily lose there. Then we play Fener again on the Tuesday followed by Spurs at him in a massive, massive game against a side who will have a buzz because they’ve bought really well.
This could be an absolute car crash season opener.
#WengerOut was trending on Twitter yesterday. I’m not surprised. It’s totally deserved. This summer so far has been a sackable offence. The worry I have is that Wenger will now go into panic mode and ship in a load of unplanned dross. The Suarez deal is now looking dead, don’t be surprised to see us move for Rooney again.
He sulked during the United game yesterday. United are far more likely to sell to us over Chelsea because obviously, we’re not competitors. Outside that, Gustavo had a blinder for Wolfsburg yesterday, I heard we didn’t even move for him. Crazy. Just crazy.
I’m expecting moves though… regardless of what happens, this summer has been a total failure start to finish. That sits with Arsene, but it also sits with Ivan and Stan Kroenke for allowing a manager to run a football club without accountability. He’s either enjoying this process in the hope he’ll one year be proved right, or he’s lost it. Either way, he shouldn’t be given a new deal at the end of the year. Don’t fear change, there are plenty of ambitious young managers out there who could take us to the next level. I’d be looking at Laudrup, I’d be looking at Klopp and I’d be making contingency plans right now, because this dictatorship has run its course.
Do the people in charge have the balls or the power to make the biggest football decision of their careers?
I just hope Wenger’s legacy isn’t a heap of sh*t panic buys on massive salaries, no cash reserves and a club outside the Champions League.
See you in the comments.