Well, there we have it. Another season, another predictable disappointment.
You know what made it sadder? This was the first game since the ten-year anniversary of David Rocastle’s death and the players couldn’t motivate themselves to do the great man proud.
It’s hard writing these match reports because I’ve said everything so many times already. Since our Carling Cup loss in late February we’ve beaten Orient in a replay, lost in the FA Cup to United and drawn 3 games on the bounce. That’s three games against teams currently sitting 11th, 12th and 14th in the league table.
Sure we can make excuses. That’s the easiest thing in the world to do. We can talk about goalkeepers always doing well against us… for me, that’s like jailed burglars complaining that the police are too good for them. The simple and hard to stomach fact of the matter is that Arsenal are simply not good enough to win the league. Wenger has assembled a team of chokers who don’t know how to win. Looking at the performance yesterday, I wondered if they even wanted to win?
Almunia shouldn’t be on the pitch. He looks like he’s been told he must play or shameful pictures of his yorkshire terrier will be leaked to the Daily Mail. Sure we didn’t lose yesterday, but I think it’s worth pointing out that Arsene Wenger knew a player wasn’t fit to the wear the Jersey in August, yet somehow, he’s our number one for the crunch run in.
That tells me we have a coach who has lost his touch. He puts his personal affections for players over winning and for me, that’s half the problem with his management style these days. If he’s not buying in the cream of the crap from the bargain bins of Europe, he’s fattening up average players with huge contracts for extended loyalty. Wenger is the over lord at Arsenal and the group of players he’s been fostering for 5 years have totally let him down again.
I’ve said on numerous occasions that achieving in life is all about the fight. If everything is handed to you on plate, why would you work for it? There’s got to be some sort of incentive as a player. That’s the problem with Arsenal football club these days. We’re paying 16 year olds 35 times what they’d get at Barcelona as youth players. We’re giving them everything they want before they’ve even had the chance to show their value and then we’re scratching our heads as to why they don’t show the needed desire on the pitch.
I mean seriously, look at our youth policy. If we’ve been stealing the best teenagers from around Europe for the past 8 years, why aren’t we getting a far superior hit rate to other clubs bringing through players? I think it’s two-fold. Number 1, these kids know they’ll get a chance regardless and I think it’s because money corrupts. I mean look at United. They keep a player out on loan until they’re ready to play in the first team. If they’re not good enough, they’re pulled and replaced. Danny Wellbeck looks a top player, he’s an England international and he’s still out on loan at Sunderland. If he was at Arsenal, he’d have been in the first team struggling away for the past 3 years…
That is the difference…
We had plenty of chances out there yesterday to win the game but we didn’t take them. We were kept out of the game by a goalkeeper who did his job properly, our strikers were kept quiet by a defender many in the blogosphere stated was average. If he’s so average, how come a team as good as Arsenal couldn’t work out a way around him? How could a Blackburn defender who everyone stated wasn’t good enough to play football also give us problems going forward?!
Why are our options up front so blunt? Did Wenger really think bringing on the Ego and Chamakh was going to change things for the better? How many times do those two prove that we blundered by not signing top class back up. Why did he take Andrey Arshavin off when he’s one of the few who can produce something out of nothing? Why take Theo off who is the only example of proper pace we have in the team?
How flat were we out on the pitch again? Where was out leader in such an important game? Who was out there driving the team forward? Who was out there saying, ‘Boys, stop cutting the ball back and have a f*cking rip!’, who was out there saying, ‘boys, this is the f*cking Premiership we’re playing for, show some urgency!’
No one as far as I could see. We opened well, and we finished well… did very little in between. A familiar pattern this year.
It’s sad. I’ve watched our manager put out team after team over the past few years that can’t defend, can’t pick themselves up when the chips are down and can’t get over a set back. In the last three years, I’ve watched the manager ignore huge transfer budgets, fail to address glaring deficiencies in the squad and worst of all… fail to motivate players.
We’ve been saying for a while the dead wood needs clearing out, I guess the question hot on everyone’s lips will be whether the manager comes under that category. His poor squad planning, his inept tactics and weak substitutions combined with his lack of achievement lately all leave me wondering if he’s as dynamic as he used to be?
He’s 6 years into a project that has failed all the major tests. He’s worked hard to create a culture of utopic friendliness that doesn’t equate to results on the pitch. His idea of getting players to love the club by indoctrinating them young has bombed and he’s shown time and time again he’s incapable of changing his ways, so I wonder where we go from here? He won’t leave, he won’t be pushed… so what does the future hold?
I’m not one for booing… but that chorus from the fans at the end told you everything you need to know how the fans are feeling at the moment. Some people who don’t pay to attend will speak out, claiming it’s outrageous, but the simple fact is, you’re not facing a 6.5% price increase to watch crap like that… if you do speak to someone who has a pop about it stating they’d do anything to get a season ticket and that the home fans are a disgrace, call their bluff, ask them to drop me an e-mail, send me £5k and they can have mine and Geoff’s… we’ll be downgrading to normal seats next year and we’d be happy to sell them ours.
You know what though? None of the online big shots will take them… they’re full of more excuses than Wenger.
I’ll leave you on this… David Rocastle once said,
‘Remember who you are, what you are and who you represent’
Who thinks the current crop are paying attention?
See you in the comments.
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