I remember a few seasons ago when Arsenal played Sunderland away. We went ahead with a bizarre goal which deflected in off Cesc’s leg. Despite playing poorly, we held on until the dying minutes when Sunderland equalised through Darren Bent.
I remember feeling sick for the whole weekend. I didn’t go out, didn’t talk to anyone, just moped around the house like some brain dead football zombie.
Yesterday when we went behind to Hull, I laughed incredulously and went and bought a bovril. As Hull cynically time wasted for the final 30 minutes of the game I didn’t get angry. And when we equalised in the dying minutes I didn’t feel especially happy.
Why? Well because celebrating scraping a point at home to Hull should be the reserve of Macclesfield Town fans (no offence Macclesfield).
But also because it’s all just become so boring. Arsenal used to be a team that would dazzle and excite you, even when they weren’t winning trophies. Now, outside of a few brilliant individual performances from Sanchez, Welbeck, Bellerin and Campbell, there is nothing exciting about this team.
Pretty much everyone where I sit has resigned themselves to no silverware this season, the real kick in the teeth is we don’t even get to watch good football as a consolation.
What is Wenger’s vision with this team? What kind of football does he want us to play? How is he going to tighten up our defence? How will he get the best out of his best players?
These are questions I genuinely don’t think he knows the answer to anymore and more fool me because I’m going to have to shell out at least another £2,000 hoping that he does.
As I said there were some very encouraging individual displays yesterday, and the first 20 minutes was the best I’ve seen us play all season. But then I’m drawn back to the same questions: why can’t we sustain that performance for longer than the opening 20 minutes; why do we concede from their first shot on target; why do we look so vulnerable from counter attacks from our own corners; why does all our attacking play occur in a very narrow 12 yard strip on the edge of the opposition penalty area; and why is there no urgency about our play until the last 10 minutes.
Yesterday people were quick to blame Flamini for the first goal. I haven’t seen any replays, I’m sure they are right, however I’m bored of blaming personnel. It’s a straw man argument. We have a squad loaded with talent, but we don’t have a manager that can motivate them or set them up tactically to win.
You don’t need a world class player in every position (United won successive titles with Wes Brown and John O’shea). You just need a plan and every player to understand their role in the team. Ask Kieron Gibbs what his instructions were for yesterday, I’m not sure the answer would be clear.
So here we are; our worst start to a season under Arsene, an injury crisis in October and all the furore is directed at a journalist for asking the manager a challenging question.
Only two more years. My advice is to start following another sport, like rowing, that never hurt anybody.
Have a lovely Sunday you can follow me on twitter