When I penned my ode to Arsene yesterday, I felt quite bad. I thought it’d receive more of a backlash because I wrote it before an important game that could keep us in the title race. I was wrong. Why is that interesting? Because people agreed with what I said passionately. That’s never happened when I post something aggressive at pretty inappropriate time. Things are different now. Something has changed.
What didn’t change was the usual disappointment I feel when there’s a pressure game for Arsenal. I kind of had a feeling that last night would go the way of a disappointment. It always does. Swansea are a weird old bogey team. They always seem to bother us. I hoped they wouldn’t at home, without Montero, but my hope was in vain, we’re not made of the strong stuff and the losses against Barca and a sh*te United side were always going to take their toll on fragile minds.
Sure enough, I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I was barely disappointed. I was laughably defeatist. Like when you lose your front door keys, then you reach for you phone and drop it down the drain… then you turn to shrug at the man on the street and get hit by a bus.
On the face of it, looking at the ninety minutes without the searing emotion that’s running through my body right now, you could say we were unlucky. We created a bunch of chances, we rattled the woodwork 3 times and we were robbed for the first Swansea goal when Ozil was wrestled to the ground.
However, this fuck up we find ourself in now wasn’t made in one night. This has been a series of micro-shockers since Christmas. Score draw at Southampton, a loss at the Chavs, 3-3 at Liverpool, a score draw at Stoke. The gradual build up of weak micro-disappointments has us where we are now. As usual, the toll of a poor summer is now playing out, as bad preparation always does, in the final throws of a season.
Last night isn’t the problem. 12 years of this utter drivel is. This isn’t hot-headed fans losing their minds. This isn’t a financial problem. This a culmination of things Le Grove and many of you have known for years… our manager is past it. Waaaaaay past it.
The Swansea goal last night was a terrible refereeing decision, granted. But bloody hell, one loose ball in the middle and they can walk right through us with absolute ease? That’s not title-winning concentration. Their second goal, we’re fighting it out at the death and that dirty cross evades all our players? Horrendous communication and a complete lack of accountability. Wenger taking off Joel Campbell when he’s looking the most dangerous and motivated? I mean, our manager is world-class at making some of the most bizarre sub decisions… even more baffling he’d go rogue after the Flamini shocker last week.
Arsenal don’t have the guts.
People are blaming the players, but the guts come from the manager… because he buys those players. He molds them in his name. He makes them who they are.
That’s true of any leader. When you work under a douche, you don’t perform. Everyone knows this. When you work under a manager who you know isn’t fussed about perfection, your game slips. When you work under a manager who let’s shit go, you let shit go. Wenger built that team, it is a reflection of him and the reflection has been gutless one for twelve years now.
These players are great players. Look at how many bottlers leave us and win big things. We have one of the best teams in the league, you can’t doubt that. We have the best players in the top three by a long shot. But they’re not firing. World Cup winners, Champions League winners, players doing amazing things for their national teams… not quite up for it, when it’s all on the line.
That’s a Wenger problem. He’s not a good motivator of players. This much is clear. The silent team talk works when you have Tony Adams and Viera managing the clarion call. When you’ve a dressing room of meek middle class darlings, who is taking that role on? Why do we not have powerhouse characters in the dressing room?
Control. Wenger won’t have it. The man doesn’t even believe in a captain.
We’ve won 4 Premier League games since Christmas (1o games). I mean, we were on the cusp of greatness this year. Just 4 games. Can you believe that? How pathetic.
We can’t find the net. We’ve lost our discipline. Our confidence. Our drive.
Where did all that start? Ozil has been feeding Olivier Giroud for 3 years now. Wenger hasn’t found a better option than Giroud in 3 whole years. What does that tell you about his ability to recognise that one of his best pals Steve Rowley is a joke?
How about the defensive midfield role? Flamini and Arteta are our back ups!
How about when Wenger recognised what we all did last summer and bought a replacement DM he can’t use this season because he’s not good enough! I don’t mean to bang on, but we called that as well, because it was so obvious as it’d happened with Gabriel last year! Signing players from slow leagues is so f*cking stupid when you need now players who can contribute. But we let it go.
How about not recognizing that Santi Cazorla is one of our most important players in our setup, 31 years old and in physical decline… and leaving the squad with no direct replacement?
Were there no Santi replacements this summer as well as no strikers? Amazing how dry the well is for Arsene.
These things are so simple to recognise. What we’ve learnt together is that if I can see the gaps, you can see the gaps, pundits can see the gaps… there are probably gaps. The Arsene game of ‘insider secret vision’ died 10 years ago, or like Alex said, when he signed Kos. Which is a real shame if I’m honest.
So back to it, what did Wenger do this summer? He made one signing.
What have our issues since Christmas been? No Santi back-up. No one adequate to compete with Coquelin. A goal drought of epic proportions.
This is madness.
No, it’s not even a madness, because if you put a match (£157m) next to a madman (LVG), he’d light a fucking crazy fire (buy some players). What sort of crazy sits idly by and does nothing?
A man who truly believes doing nothing is the best option for progress. How can anyone tolerate that attitude… especially when it’s pervasive over 6 years!
The tipping point has come. The fans are finished with him. This manager has had plenty of faith. He lies about what he’s going to do. He never really learns his lessons. He continues to use us as his pet project. He shows no signs of giving up.
This resentment feels different… if we lose at the weekend. It could be curtains. If Spurs beat us. I think that could be the straw that breaks his will to carry on.
… but we know how this film plays out. Wenger is the master of never doing badly enough for it to be curtains. We’ll beat Spurs, which is would be an antidote for burning the Union Flag in most AFC fans eyes. Then he’ll string some games together. We’ll finish close. Then Arsenal fans will take solace in the warchest and say, ‘he’s smart enough to know what to do this summer, judge him in September’, and the cycle will begin again.
Someone needs to break the cycle.
It’s over. Even if this season ends in league glory. It’s over. We’re not progressing. Look at how much better Europe is than us. We’re sinking in a season of swirl, when stability should have seen us flourishing. Our players look like they’ve tapped out when they should be fighting. The fans are booing the manager, when they should be cheering him on.
We need a change. A fresh vision. A new direction.
Wenger has to go this summer. Time to move over. There are plenty of names that would jump at the chance to bring something exciting and motivated to the club.
… and look, I couldn’t be more careful about what I wish for. We are a mega club now, in part, thanks to Wenger, we’ll always rise to the top again. He helped build a greater Arsenal, now it’s time to hand it over to the man who can decorate the walls with modern glory.
Names to look out for, because the internet is incapable of thinking anyone else knows football:
Diego Simeone | Atletico
Martin Schmidt | Mainz
Tomas Tuchel | Dortmund
Jorge Sampaoli | Ex Chile
Frank De Boer | Ajax (WITH DB10)
Unai Emery | Sevilla
Laurent Blanc | Paris
Ronald Koeman | Southampton
Steve Bould | Arsenal Assistant
Valverde | Bilbao
Owen Coyle | Some club