Funny how quickly the media are to declare the title over in December. Especially considering how inconsistent most teams have been this year / how open the league is to everyone beating each other. Have to say though, it looks bleak for Arsenal. Away days at most of the top half of the table clubs. Players looking heavy legged. A manager and our two star players not committing. In game management desperately missing. It’s a recipe for a finish that sits outside the top 4.
That would be a farewell to forget. But look, it’s no more than we deserve based on our timid approach to developing the club. You know it’s bad when we have to bring in an All Blacks sports psychologist to motivate players to win. I mean, I’m sure the guy is immense, but managing the psyche of a nation that are born to destroy seems an easy job compared to convincing Ozil to give a rats backside about chasing down players.
This season is all on the manager. He has the resource to win the league. Make no mistake, he has great players at his disposal. He hasn’t used it properly, but more importantly, it feels like he’s not running it with an aggressive winning mentality. Our players coast. No one is coasting under Conte. The difference a manager can make is so apparent at Chelsea, look at Costa and Hazard and how they’ve turned around. Look at Victor Moses, one of the most devastating players in the league this year. They’re motivated properly, they’re given very specific jobs and they’re held accountable. When players aren’t running for you, and there seems to be no vision, it’s one person who takes ownership of that.
Would Ozil be playing the next game after what he did against City under any other manager? Would he have lasted the half? No way. He’d not have been picked based on his nonsense performance against Everton. Supreme talent, but if it doesn’t show up when it’s called upon, it’s a luxury you can’t afford unless you’re Madrid.
Also, the talk that Sanchez and Ozil will only stay if Wenger stays actually makes me even more concerned, what sort of elite player would want to stay for more of the same also rans under Wenger? You’re not staying for the right reasons if that’s your schtick. Judging from the Sanchez comments, he’s leaning towards seeing if this season is a car crash. Ozil? Who’d take him based on this season? Especially if he’s asking for £290k pw. You can land a lot of hungry talent for that salary.
We’ll see though. I personally think our squad, though solid, is stale at its core. Any new manager coming in needs to rip out a chunk of he malaise and reinvision what Arsenal are all about. Sell a couple of big names and start again. A bit like Tuchel last summer. If you’re a good manager, and you have good support, you can hit some major surgery and make it work. My fear is, that despite reports he’s signed a new deal, is that he hasn’t and we won’t get an answer until the last minute. Then the new man won’t have time to build a squad. Still, at this point I’d take a year in the wilderness if it was driving towards something special.
Kind of hoping Wenger’s retrospective talk in recent weeks coupled with confirmed reports we’ve spoken to the Leipzig and Bournemouth coach mean it’s coming to an end. There are a lot of great coaches around at the moment. Tuchel, Sarri, Favre, Allegri and Sampiola all fit the Arsenal bill and would all bring much needed new thinking to the club.
Let’s hope we don’t let tired sentimentalism steer the decision. Fingers crossed Stan K sees greater riches in new blood… fingers crossed Ivan can persuade him of a brighter future… fingers crossed Wenger has tired of the rat race.