Faith. It’s a beautiful thing. When you’re an Arsenal fan, it’s often the only thing. Last night, post game, in my Gooner Whatsapp group, the crescendo to the evening was…
It made me a bit sad. Not because there was any sincerity in the words, but because the only way we can deal with the situation is faux hope. Aping the predictable words of a manager who has lost his mojo.
Yesterday was a shit show. Play it back to yourself however you want. Take solace in the three points. Do all of the things fans in denial do. Accept this though, our 65 year old manager is well past his sell by date. He doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing these days and the best we can hope for is 4th and to avoid humiliation in the next round of the Champions League.
Ironically, the trophy Wenger treasures over anything, he seems the least equipped to tackle. He’s been getting schooled in what you need for years. Yet he never makes an effort to alter what we see.
Yesterday, we took on a team that deal with a budget lower than most League One teams. We took on an Anderlecht ravaged by injury, filled with average players and children. They were embarrassingly bad. We go out and struggle.
Once again, we hit the pitch one paced and low on everything. I find it mildly amusing that fans out this down to the players not caring when the reality is it’s the manager not having a clue about how to manage players fitness. He’s the one who says it’s easy to motivate millionaires because they’re already motivated to make it in the game… so how do you demotivate them?
The set up was standard. Ineffective, completely ignorant of how Anderlecht play and bereft of any instruction or vision. Our passing was off all night, key players seem to have forgotten their roles and the output was dire. We created almost nothing. Had it not been for the terrible finishing of Anderlecht, we might have found ourselves facing a taller mole hill to climb after we went one down.
The goal we did concede was absolutely embarrassing. A speculative cross into the box. Chambers and Flamini clattered each other, their player headed across goal and took the deserved lead for his side.
Was I livid? No. I expected it.
You also knew that on Wenger’s 65th, his team would bail him out… so I held off the trigger on social media thoughts. Took a while though, the manager sat on his hands until the 72nd minute as usual. I get that maybe you have a routine with style and formation, but to take routine into subs is beyond absurd and counter productive.
Anyway, it didn’t matter, his masterstroke of bringing players on to change the game worked. We started to look a bit more interested, but only marginally. Calum Chambers made amends for his part in their goal by whipping a cross to the back post where Gibbs was on hand to expertly slot home a volley back across the keeper. A really, really well taken goal.
Lukas had also made his way onto the pitch and managed to pivot on a loose ball and slam home a top corner winner late on in the game.
Wenger’s bacon saved… but the breakfast was still ruined.
Pause, suck up that line for a moment.
… and on we go.
Things I like…
3 points. Sanchez.
Things I don’t like…
The team looked sapped as usual. Where is the zip in our play? Why are our players not bullying crap outfits with exceptional mesmeric energy?
I simply refuse to believe Wenger is taking on any advice because if we’re not being blitzed by avoidable injuries, we’re turning up away from home in leagues that are way slower than ours and being given the run around. We brought in a World Cup winner and we’ve never looked so weak. Pretty sure there’s a deeper issue here that, in all likelihood, the club won’t investigate (remember, we’ve performed three internal investigations that seem to have thrown up sweet FA in terms of action points).
Why haven’t we found a flow. Chelsea signed, what, 6 players this summer and brought 2 back off loan and they’re absolutely buzzing. We brought in 4, because, you know, any more and Colney would explode under the pressure. So where is our rhythm? Where is our style? Why do the players look like they’ve been thrown together in a school playground?
Sad thing about the whole set up, is the players know what a joke it is. They’ve played under great managers, they’ve worked with advanced coaches pushing boundaries, they’ll know the reason all their friends are sitting in the medical room isn’t because of ‘accidental injuries’. They’ll also know that the squad recruitment was mismanaged this summer. It all adds up. If you’re not confident in the process, the management or the way you’re set up to play… what does that do to you psychologically? No wonder the output is turgid.
Owner who accepts average and loves the manager. A CEO who can’t make a decision on the manager because his hands are tied. We have all the ingredients for a disgustingly boring period of purgatory. The manager isn’t accountable at all. The people who work at the club will know this. The fans know this. What a terrible environment to have to work in. An environment where you know failure has no consequence. Where under-performance is excused because of nepotism. Where innovation is sneered at.
It’s a joke. It’s not the Arsenal way. It’s not going to end unless the man in charge of it hands his notice in. Which he doesn’t have the self-awareness to do.
Pray it gets better and that we sustain our top 4 mediocrity… which, let’s be honest, as a strategy, is doomed to fail at some point.
Onto an easy run of games now, hopefully we can turn the corner.