Arsenal finally found a win after back to back defeats when they beat Hull by 2 goals in a less than thrilling encounter at The Emirates. Alexis Sanchez broke the deadlock with an accidental karate chop for the first gaol, later on, he finished the tie when he buried a penalty after, ironically, a Hull player handled the ball on the line and was spotted.
The game wasn’t overly one-sided possession wise. Hull actually pipped us in the first half with 51%. We had all the chances though. True of the whole game really, that said Petr Cech had a good day, making two very slick saves, one early on from a high bullet header N’Diaye and one early in the second half from the same man when a rasping shot was tipped wide.
The biggest talking point was Wenger after the match. He must have felt how dead it was inside the stadium and he must have seen the masses of empty seats. But he still weighed in on his future. Firstly he took on Ian Wright, saying that basically, it wasn’t the two of them, so nothing exclusive going on there.
“We had a little dinner before but we were not the two of us,” the manager was eager to point out. “We were four, five.”
“We were four, five.”
Then he took on the tired comments, and to give it to Wrighty, Wenger has the ashen face of a man who’s expecting a knock on the door for a shoplifting offence from 1998.
“I could be tired because I get up early in the morning and I finish late at night so sometimes I am tired, yes, but I didn’t give any indication [to Wright] about my future,” “Did he misinterpret me? Yes. I appreciate very much you want me to rest [in retirement] but I am not ready for that.”
“Did he misinterpret me? Yes. I appreciate very much you want me to rest [in retirement] but I am not ready for that.”
I’m not sure how to take those comments. Do they mean he’s going to stay on? Or does it mean that he’s not going to make the same mistake Fergie made. I’d say the latter, he’s not giving away anything, because if he tells his squad he’s leaving, Ozil might actually sit down and play computer games for 90mintes on the half way line, and the rest of the squad will take their holidays early.
Wenger needs to motivate a group that switches off pretty easy. He has to traverse the upcoming Bayern game on Wednesday in Munich. He still has an FA Cup to play for. He still has 2nd to play for, up for grabs after Spurs fell to Mane’s Liverpool. He’ll want to go out with the biggest bang he can muster.
I’d say it’s far from decided. You know that because Arsenal have been talking to talent all around Europe. You can see it in Wenger’s eyes that this is all weighing heavily on him. So it should. He’s holding onto power he doesn’t deserve.
That’s what you always have to remember when the Ian Wright stories about him being broken drop… he doesn’t deserve the job, that’s why he’s down. He knows deep down the club has been taken to a glass ceiling he can’t break.
It’s not the fans fault. I’ll tell you this as well Mr Wright, this is not the players fault either. They aren’t prepared properly, there’s no discipline, they’re sent out to play with minimal instruction, they are not given the tools they need to express themselves in the most effective and smart way.
Conte has his players training against mannequins so they know exactly what to do all time. Everyone has a role. Everyone knows their job. So when it goes to shit, they have that technique to fall back on. Allegri, Pep and Nagelsmann of Hoffenheim believe in tactical fluidity. If you can master 8 different formations, and it can’t be predicted, you can flex in and out of shapes like an NFL team, which helps you become difficult to play against.
Wenger doesn’t nail one system. He can’t master many. He’s broken, stuck on 2002 repeat. It’s sad to watch. Someone should put him out his misery, but let’s hope he has the guts to do it himself. Hand over power to someone who knows what it takes to win a Champions League… or at least offer a system exciting enough to attempt that challenge.
Back to Hull. Wenger still opted to start Coquelin. It was interesting watching him pair up with Chambo in the middle. The Englishman made 9 ball recoveries, using his pace to get the better of Hull. He also took players on successfully 5 times, more than anyone else on the pitch. He had a blend of defence splitting passes, combined with breaking the lines with his explosive pace. It was Hull, but you can really see a player there. If you play Xhaka as the deepest midfielder, then use Ox to do his box to box donkey work, you could have quite a pairing. Ox links the defence and midfield in a way Coquelin just can’t.
Ozil was very off his game, looking mightily uninterested at times and rather impotent. Only one of his 6 crosses found anyone, 1 of his 3 corners found a red shirt and he only created two chances. 5 players made more than his passes than his 35 good ones, versus 10 bad ones. A staggeringly poor return for a man who normally drops 60+ against average teams. I just wouldn’t offer him a new deal if PSG are circling. He switches off and clearly doesn’t have the character you want from your likely biggest earner. Rumours about players being baffled about his consistent inclusion looking pretty on point.
Anyway, a win is a win. Unbelievably, there are 2 points between 2nd and 6th. Unbelievable. It worries me a little if I’m honest. Our European adventures over the next two weeks panic me a little and I don’t like Jose when he’s bearing down on an objective. It’s not often he doesn’t get the better of Wenger and there are a lot of games for him to make things happen. Pep can push City to 2nd on Monday if they beat a tricky Bournemouth away.
It’s going to be a tight finish this year… hold onto your hats.
Right, that’s me tapping out. LOL at The Mirror linking us with Rafa Benetiz. JOKERS.