It’s over Arsene. No doubt about it. The Liverpool game means nothing in the grand scheme of things – I’d imagine we’ll still finish in the top four – but yet again, you’ve proven you don’t have what it takes to push this team forward. So do the right thing, and let the club prepare for a future without you.
It’s hard to know where to start with the Liverpool game. It was all so predictable. Arsenal do not deal well with teams that press aggressively. Liverpool specialise in that area. We had no answer. Well, we sort of attempted an answer, but we executed with all the expertise Mike Tyson would demonstrate if he were asked to kickbox.
Wenger opted for a 4-5-1, saying before the game Welbeck and Giroud would provide an outlet for a more direct approach. I thought Wenger might be going 4-4-2, but it didn’t work out that way. The real curve ball, and the worst decision of the day was Wenger leaving Sanchez on the bench. The Chilean clearly let Wenger know he wasn’t sticking around in the summer and Wenger’s reaction was to bench him. Watching Alexis giggle with Gabriel on the sideline with a kind of relaxed body language told you all you needed to know. He’s at peace with his time here and that’s down to us persisting with an average manager.
We lost the first half 2-0. We lined up with a big lad up front, but we didn’t use our width to whip balls into him. We also used Welbeck in a 5 man midfield that didn’t really boast the sort of pace you’d expect against a team that plays a high line. I was very surprised to see Chambo out wide with Perez on the bench. Even more surprised to see Wenger opt for Iwobi again.
The goals we conceded weren’t really down to formation, they were down to shocking defending. Laurent Koscielny made a hash of a long ball into the 5ft11 Firminio of all people, what ensued from there was a mess, Mustafi lunged out of defence, Liverpool played around us and found Firmino at the back post where he fired into a basically open net.
The second goal was an even bigger car crash, I keep watching it and wonder how it happened. Milner started the move after squeezing the ball through Bellerin and Chamberlain. Play somehow made it to the left side of penalty box where Mane was unmarked ready to unleash a low back post shot that beat Petr Cech. Fun fact, our legendary keeper has conceded 20% of his career goals for Arsenal.
The 2nd half saw Sanchez come on for the absolutely criminal Coquelin. A real embarrassing climb down for Wenger. Shockingly, things started to look better when we introduced our best player and most dedicated on field leader. His energy fired a lethargic team up. We chased balls, we looked creative and we pulled one back early.
Chamberalin found Sanchez on the half way line, the Chilean delicately picked out Welbeck. The Englishman raced through on goal and sublimely chipped over Mignolet.
Hope slapped Arsenal fans in the face, Liverpool looks a bit lost, desperately trying run down the clock. Then we brought on Perez and Walcott. Our second half side felt like a plan. We continued to threaten Liverpool and created some great chances. However, Liverpool were cutting us apart at the back as well, our defence looking ragged again. Their closest effort rattling the bar.
We couldn’t keep them at bay, A Sanchez shot rattled out of the area, Xhaka was caught in no man’s land with the pace of a snail trying to catch up with Lllana. The Englishman ghosted him, dropped a very cool pirouetted waiting for Origi to run into an offside position, the lino missed this, the Belgian carried on running and fizzed a wonderful cross into Wijnaldum who finished clinically to kill the game.
We predictably invited Liverpool back into the top 4 trophy race. An average team easily beaten by Leicester. A team that has lost to Hull, Wolves, Southampton twice and drawn to Plymouth in 2017.
Arsenal, turning around teams seasons since 2006.
Points to note:
Players mailing it in:
Remember, when players aren’t motivated, that is down to the manager. It’s only worth mentioning because it really highlights how fucked it is at Arsenal. The players – he’s babied and fattened with contracts so big, plenty of them simply won’t leave when asked – have gone on a silent strike against him. It’s go slow. Tools downed. They’re thinking about Vegas pool parties. They are done with Wenger and it’s painful to watch.
Smart arse fail:
When you go big in business, you have to be calculated. In advertising, if you’re on a pitch with 10 people and you are the person that whips their balls out and says – ‘everything you think you know is wrong, but trust me, I have a plan’ – you better sure as shit hope that plan is fucking smart and delivers, because if it doesn’t, trust evaporates and in my line of work, you’re fired or put on the shitlist.
Wenger dropped his biggest name against a major rival competing for our #TOP4TROPHY (I suspect he also dropped Ozil). He changed the formation. He went with Giroud up front (16 touches in the first half / injured most of the half). He asked the players to trust him and he f*cked it up. Players will be gossiping about that after the game, another black mark against a manager they know is dead at elite level.
That was a massive, massive gamble that was not baked in anything strategic or smart. He made the team look stupid. He desperately needed a victory and he f*cked that result all by himself by not giving his team the best chance. No way those players believed they were winning today. You could see it in their lack of intensity.
The death knell is ringing:
Wenger can’t come back from this season. 4th shouldn’t save him here. He is the problem and everyone can see it. I think he must know it by now, so there’s hope he’ll do the right thing. I can hear you say, ‘Wenger is the Rasputin of football, he’ll never die’, well, I’d not be so sure. We’re going to get spanked at home by Bayern Munich. It is highly likely Spurs away is going to be a disaster. The final hammer blow will likely be Mourinho in late May. If he pips us to 4th with a last minute Zlatan winner, it’s over for him.
I really don’t see how Wenger can continue. The fans are done with him. The players are totally done with him, there’s no belief. The exec board that matter know it’s over. The only person who hasn’t woken up to the reality is Wenger, and probably Stan who doesn’t really care.
Ozil leaving. Sanchez leaving. Players downing tools. Fans protesting. Top 4 genuinely under threat.
He has to see it. The vultures are circling. Allegri reportedly verbally agreeing to takeover if Wenger drops the mic. Could the perfect storm finally be brewing? It’s certainly cloudy.
Leave now and let the planning begin (POSITIVE, put the noose down):
This selfish ‘will he / won’t he’ has to stop. Wenger should do the honorable thing, admit it’s over and let the club start planning for a brighter future. Do exactly what Luis Enrique did. You can’t possible get a more negative reaction than the one you’re recieving now. Let the fans say goodbye with smiles over little red bits of mean paper.
Then Ivan can show us he’s the real deal.
We can wipe out the Wenger enablers. Bin off Steve Rowley, a man who seems to have no clue what he’s scouting these days. Bin off Priromac, Peyton and Colbert who add zero value to the club bar world class banter.
Hire a coach who can work with the players and make them better. We need someone who can motivate, make players accountable and teach them how to play a number of systems so we can work in a tactically fluid way. This is a plum job, there is so much low hanging fruit for a great manager to eat. Not just that, the salary is immense, we’re sleeping giant there is so much room to make history. If we finish 6th, they’d have the chance to work their ideas through the squad. If we finish 4th, they have Champions League money to play with.
Hire a Director of Football. Someone who can set the vision for the club for the next ten years. Someone who can implement a transfer strategy, so we’re always renewing and upgrading our players in a way that represents who we want to be as a club. Let him assess the talent in the coaching staff we have, plug the gaps we all see, bring in new ideas we’ve never seen, bring in suppliers who can make us smarter and make the right connections in the game so we are always pushing the boundaries of what is possible.
The future of Arsenal is f*cking golden. Do not let any of the naysayers tell you any different. We are the greatest club in London. We have a full stadium week in week out. We have world class training facilities. We have a huge wage bill to play with. We have big cash surplus. We are prestigious. You can bet your bottom dollar our next shirt deal will dwarf where we are now. This club can and will become one of the greatest. I would stake my signed 1998 Everton program on it.
It just needs one of two things to happen, Stan to revoke the contract he has on the table, or the only real hope… Arsene needs to do the right thing. The revolution needs to happen now, the work needed to begin yesterday, so fingers crossed Wenger has the awareness and humility to call it a day.
P.S. Well played Jake Humphrey. When your job is hold football managers accountable to the fans, this is how you do it in a respectable ways. Best interview I’ve seen in a while. Amazing how many similarities Wenger has to a certain political star in the media at the moment. As soon as he’s challenged he falls apart, his pithy one-liners that mean nothing can’t handle any sort of scrutiny under the context of his behavior of the last ten years. The media that cover him at Colney should be ashamed at their carry on and learn a lesson from this 3minute video.
Telling how it ends…
SEE YOU IN THE COMMENTS x
A chat with Arsenal Wenger… https://t.co/GlUDeNKRJg
— Jake Humphrey (@mrjakehumphrey) March 4, 2017