First day at a new job today (Big up McDonalds Walthamstow!). So this is going to be quicker than a Phil Bardsley living room knock out blow. It’s been penned on a mobile.
Last night. What can you say other than a predictable taste of glorious Failure.
‘I’m proud of the lads. Proud of the club’
‘So close. It was the third goal. Maybe next year’
‘Reckon we’re one player short from winning the lot’
Look, here are the cold hard facts. In 18 attempts, we’ve failed to creep past the last sixteen a huge 9 times which is 50% of the time (yeah, maths baby!). We’ve made one final. Appeared in two semi finals. Qualification 18 times is great but never winning it and rarely qualifying past the dross round tells you all you need to know about Arsene and elite level football. He doesn’t cut it.
Tactically, we weren’t naive, we were arrogant. Jardim said as much post game when he claimed Arsenal lacked respect for an ‘easy’ Monaco side. We’ve managed to shift the mindset in big games tactically, but we still believe expression and trust will pull us through games against weaker teams. Last night, Wenger nailed the line up, he nailed his subs, his players had the right mindset and we delivered a very good result.
Where was that focus in the first leg? What were the players thinking when Chambo gave us late hope? Where were the captains? Where was the collective experience of a squad with a median age of 26?
We need to be smarter. The manager needs to invest the same energy into every game. There needs to be an intensity of thought that runs through every preparation session leading up to a game big or small. The Champions League doesn’t allow you to be lax. There’s too much money involved. Too many good players. Too many smart up and coming managers. You can’t get away with arrogance. If you do, you’ll get killed.
Arsenal have progressed as a team this season. Players like Giroud, Coq and Monreal have moved up a level. Ozil, Cazorla and Sanchez have given us an exciting world class edge we’ve lacked. Our major fall down is preparation, an area we’ve improved on, but an area we’ve yet to see a full transition in.
Now this is the bit that gets you and keeps you hanging on for next seasons episode. Have we seen enough change this year maybe suggest times really are changing? Did arsenal show enough last money to show that with the right focus, we can mix it with the best? Has Arsene’s slow but clever squad rebuilding process convinced you things could be on the precipice of greatness?
… and that’s it. It’s the hope that kills you. The love that keeps you coming back. The excitement dreaming that makes you a supporter of Arsenal.
I’ve bought into the glorious failure. I’m proud of last night. I loved every minute. That’s because I’m a football lover at heart. If I put my performance review hat on, I’d say that the only way we’ll progress to where we want to be is when we make a painful change to a manager of this time.
Glorious failure is a tag that has a danger of sticking if we don’t start learning from our consistent failings. The only way we lose it is if we fail harder or the manager undertakes some serious soul searching.