If we’ve learnt anything about Arsenal over the last few months it’s that bogging yourself down in the details of a game doesn’t really get you anywhere productive. Yesterday, Arsenal weren’t just beaten, they were humiliated for the 3rd time in a row against Bayern Munich conceding 15 goals in the process.
Sure, we can talk about that Theo Walcott penalty shout, but in your heart of hearts, what do you think it was changing?
We can talk about the rough way Lewa dropped when Koscielny clattered him for the penalty. We can gripe over whether it was a red card. But really, what was any of this changing?
The ref didn’t change the game. Arsene Wenger is the man that shaped that tie. He’s the man who presided over the worst ever defeat of an English club in the last 16 of the Champions League. He is the man, who has made us the Sunderland of the Champions League.
Yesterday was so bad for so many reasons, but maybe we can take a moment to extract some joy from the game?
The set up looked like our most interesting starting 11. The only thing I would have changed is Giroud. He’d have sat on the bench, where he was until Danny W picked up an early injury. Our starting 11 had balance, it had pace surrounding Xhaka with Rambo and Chamberlain. It had outlets either side of the striker in Theo and Sanchez. It opened Bayern up countless times in the first half.
Theo Walcott looked like someone had pinched his Nespresso and the only way he could have it safely returned was to put in an angry performance. What a player he looked. I think part of his success in big games comes down to foreign teams giving him space versus the deep block treatment, but regardless, he looked up for it and super mean when he had a pop at Martinez.
Xhaka has a good game dictating play where he should be, at the base of midfield. Chamberlain looked really f*cking solid again. He has a superb range of passing, he has explosive pace to break the lines with his dribbling and he is a constant threat in the final third.
However, the lack of spirit when it comes to adversity was on full show again. If you’re fair, even with our great teams we could never deal with a setback. We’re too fragile, built too heavily on motherly love and baby head strokes. As soon as one thing goes wrong, the pyramid of cards collapses. There is no plan B. We don’t scenario plan. That’s what happened last night.
Laurent K, a player we constantly forgive for making massive errors in big games, clattered over Lewa in the box and took a red card. Wenger dropped Xhaka into defence over bringing Gabriel on, which really tells you what a shit show the Brazilian is, then we went into full on meltdown. I can’t give you the run down of all the goals because it was simply too depressing, but at the heart of the problem was this… the players gave up on Arsene Wenger for the second time in 5 days. It is over for him. The man is buried.
There was a time when we played better with 10 men. Remember that Chelsea game all those years ago? We were the sort of outfit that would deal with a sending off by throwing on another striker. We were fighters. Yesterday? No chance. There is absolutely no mitigating circumstance here, no team worth their salt would collapse in that way. Utter humiliation.
The players gave up, they had no belief in the manager, they had no faith in their skills. Which is a real shame, because for me, that team doesn’t need a complete overhaul. It needs a managerial refresh. Xhaka is one of the most promising registas in Europe, Ramsey and Chamberlain could be a powerhouse force in our midfield if they were coached. Sanchez and Ozil could be sublime with a manager that could control their egos. Our defence needs some work, for sure, but it’s not end of days level.
I can’t tolerate discipline issues like smirking on the bench. Sure, it’s fatalistic, I get it, but Stan and Ivan can’t watch that sort of disrespect going off in front of the world and let it pass. It made the back pages. The manager was humiliated by the result. He was humiliated by the noisy protest before the game that received huge coverage in the pregame media. He was humiliated by Carlo, a man who according to his book, doesn’t like showboating when his teams are spanking opposition.
How much harder can we prosecute the ‘Wenger is done’ argument? We’re not even comforting ourselves with glorious failure these days, this is full on shame. This is being marched through the school yard with no underwear on as the bullies throw tar and feathers at us. It actually can’t get any worse.
Ivan and Stan need to step in here, this is yer dah taking a beating in a pub by a pack of teenagers. Someone needs to put Wenger out of his misery. Someone needs to start thinking about the reputation of the club. Someone needs to make a fucking stand as soon as possible.
This is a car crash the world of football has been watching for 10 years. Finally, the dated Ford Mondeo has stopped rolling. The big question is this, will Wenger unbuckle himself, walk out the wreckage and call it a day. Or will he dust himself off, find himself a Lincoln, and carry on because he thinks he’s the man that invented the engine of Arsenal and thinks he has the right to destroy it?
We’ll see. But yesterday was a humiliation too far for me. I just wish the people that mattered could agree and make the right decision.
Wenger, you need to go.