So after Pedro posted about his Dortmund exploits – including some pretty racey pictures of German sausage – I’m back to have another go after Wednesday’s post (meltdown).
Now that the pain of Tuesday night is a little less fresh in the memory and the wound that is Arsenal’s season has started to scab, I was going to try and offer some perspective.
At least that was the case until I read that we are in for Lassana Diarra. And here is exactly why being an Arsenal fan is such a headfuck:
1. I’d be delighted if we signed Diarra because we desperately need a player like him at DM;
2. I’d be furious with the manager because it’s something he could and should have sorted in the summer rather than waiting until it has cost us points in the league and CL;
3. I kind of hope this is just paper talk because if true it absolutely beggars belief.
So there you have it – delight and fury from the same piece of news, while simultaneously hoping that it is and isn’t true. It’s Kaiser Soze levels of banter from Arsenal there’s no other way of looking at it.
In other news the div brigade have been on at Pedro for exactly what I highlighted in my post on Wednesday:
‘U SAID WE SHOULD GET MOYES OR COYLE TO REPLACE VENGA. U NO NUFFINK’
Well yeah but he also said Klopp, LVG or Guardiola would do a better job and that Moyes and Coyle were ‘curve balls’ who at the time were pretty much universally regarded as promising young managers. And lest we forget it IS possible for people to make mistakes in football.
Arsene thought Almunia, Traore, Squillaci. Silvestre, Santos, Bischoff, Denilson, Diawara, Chamakh and Park were all good enough to play for Arsenal. That’s a whole team of wrong right there.
What’s so offensive about highlighting errors in exactly the way I have just done is it’s an argument against taking a risk, against the unknown. It’s saying don’t imagine that things could ever be better, just be happy with things as they are – and don’t EVER question it. It’s all a bit 1984 to be honest (not to massively overdramatise football or anything).
Certainly when you encounter some of the überpositives online (I’ve never met one in the stadium) they always seem one or two tweets away from drinking the kool-aid.
But slowly, as the piss-poor performances continue to rack up, their excuses are becoming more and more feeble.
First it was stadium debt, then it was competing with oil-rich clubs, then it was treacherous players who left us in the lurch, now it’s about showing respect to a man who has done so much for the club.
While there’s an element if truth in all these points, there’s always a reason not to criticise – and demanding someone be beyond criticism out of ‘respect’ is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
I do respect Arsene Wenger but I don’t think he can cut it with the very best anymore which is what we should demand for a club of our stature.
Another fun thing I tried to do yesterday is recount all the maulings and ridiculous comebacks we’ve suffered as a club over the last few years (since 2008 when things really started to go wrong). Here’s my list, let me know if I’ve missed any:
Chelsea (prem) 6-0
Everton (prem) 3-0
City (prem) 6-3
Liverpool (prem) 5-1
United (prem) 8-2
Milan (CL) 4-0
Barcelona (CL) 4-1
United (CL) 3-1
Tottenham (CC) 5-1
West Brom (prem) 3-2
Tottenham (prem) 3-2
Newcastle (prem) 4-4
Tottenham (prem) 4-4
Birmingham (prem) 2-2
Now ask yourself which other top teams have racked up as many shalackings or hilarious collapses as Arsenal have in recent years? Every team will have one or two but none with a list as impressive as ours.
What’s the point I’m trying to make here? I don’t know really, probably that we are just not as good as we think we are. And out of all those results listed above, players have changed, formations have changed and backroom staff have changed. The one thing that has remained constant is the manager.
But you know that’s where we are at at the moment, it can’t be changed. Let’s look at what can be changed ahead of Villa on Saturday.
First and foremost the formation. I read a great article that said the reason we have moved to 4-1-4-1 is to accommodate Wilshere. Rather than a double pivot of Ramsey and Arteta with Özil at number 10, we now have a single pivot of Arteta (ie more ground for him to cover) with Ramsey and Wilshere both helping out in defence and attack (box to box), without either seeming to know who is the defendy one and who is the attacky one. Meanwhile our best no10, Özil, is shunted out wide.
So the problem with this formation is that it doesn’t suit Özil, Ramsey, Arteta or Wilshere himself. I’d advocate going back to the old formation but who knows, maybe it will click soon.
In terms of the opposition, Villa seem to be better this season but I don’t know or really care why. We just have to start winning games and quickly.
Before I go huge congratulations to Scotland for voting No last night. I had serious concerns about what it would mean for Scottish players like Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey and our imports of bagpipes and Iron Bru but I get the feeling everything is going to be alright.
I’ll be back tomorrow with a better preview of the Villa game. Let me know your thoughts in the comments – and also can someone explain who Oswald is?
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