I had a very nineties experience of the game yesterday. Stuck out in Guatemala, I woke at 4am, couldn’t sleep, wrote a blog (not so nineties) and found a wireless (radio for millenials) to tune into the game.
The focus on the day was, 1) catching Spurs 2) chatting about the secret messages Wenger was sending with his starting 11.
Well, omissions first. No Rosicky farewell. Shame. I love the guy. He’s rarely moaned, he’s performed when fit and he bailed us out of Spursday night football a few years running. He’s no legend, but he’s felt part of the furniture. Sad he didn’t get a call up. Also, no Flamini. Hey ho.
Arteta made the bench and had some tears for the fans after the game. He was a very important signing during a rough as hell period. My sadness with him is we didn’t have him at the club when he was in his mid-twenties… or even playing as a foil for Cesc. He’d have pushed the 08 campaign over the line.
Also missing, Theo ‘He makes the best runs’ Walcott who was apparently injured. Strong hopes he’d just been chopped for being average.
Ramsey was sent to the bench. Another interesting selection. With Arsenal still heavily linked with Kante, perhaps it could be goodbye to him as well?
There was also a few others I’m not expecting to see next year. Namely JC, Gibbs and possibly the injured Chambo.
That Wenger thinks we’re 3 players away from a title winning side is amazing. But then again, we did just finish the league second? Wenger Logic will no doubt kick in hard as he and his sycophants convince themselves we were close and it were them pesky injuries that killed our chances, not all the other bits so clearly missing every damn year.
Anyway, i listened to the game so can’t comment too hard but it sounded like we mailed it in. Giroud, once again turning up with a hattrick when you least expect it bundled home home his ‘please keep me boss’ end of season birthday card. We weren’t fantastic and at times made Villa sound like something other than the shower of average we know they are… But hey, players are on the beach of mental island at this point, so any form of effort is appreciated.
What made the day so damn special was Spurs. No one expected them to fall to Newcastle. In their greatest season since 91, there was no way they’d fall to Arsenal at the last hurdle. Well, Spurs being Spurs did exactly that. The Newcastle players dropped a beast of a performance to keep Rafa in charge next season going two up. In the second half, it looked like Spurs were on the come back when Lamela pulled one back. But good old Newcastle fired three more past Lloris to deal a killer blow to Spurs hopes of reigning London number one!
Absolutely electric way to the end the season. If you can’t hold onto 2nd in a year you’ve had no cups to worry about / all the good teams being terrible… what hope do you have next season of challenging on two serious fronts? None. Business as usual.
I think the danger here for Arsenal fans as always, is to look at a pretty average achievement from Arsenal and paint it with colours of retrospective under-appreciated excellence.
‘Newcastle are singing the name of a manager who relegated them, Arsenal fans are harassing a man who achieved second’, went one tweeter.
Sure, it feels alien to beast a manager who finished second. But when you add the context that 1) Leicester won the league 2) all our usual rivals were in a state of flux 3) we were top of the league during this terrible season at Christmas 4) we haven’t competed in 2016, a total switch off and meltdown 5) we dropped out of the CL for the 6th year running before the QF 6) we failed to build a squad in the summer 7) our players bottled it 8) injuries were 38% improved 9) we didn’t take it anywhere near the wire… you start to see why most aren’t busting party poppers for Wenger.
You can’t benchmark our success of 2nd against anything. We’ve been the most stable, the most cash rich and we had a pretty damn fine squad (ish / comparably). We ballsed the anomaly year. 71 points, it’s really poor for a team that didn’t play to its potential.
Now we’re heading into a summer with squad full of bullet holes and dripping in limp wristedness and the manager is talking 3 players. It’s farsical. But the acolytes will coo that Wenger was close. They’ll fall inline. Already I’m debating with people who have hoovered up that number without thinking about it. Quite amazing really when you are losing three players to retirement, you didn’t have a striker to begin with, Santi is over, Welbeck is out for the year, then we have the roll of just plain awful like Theo, Gibbs and sorry to say it, JC.
Anyway, Wenger won’t do enough again, ask that we judge him in May and guess what? We’ll be back where we are again next year. Well, with a lot of luck. The league is about to go turbo charged. So maybe nowhere near.
More money. Much better managers. More aggression.
Be pleased that this season flattered to deceive. Just don’t let that number 2 position actually deceive you to what’s going on at Arsenal. We’re a shambles. Europe is the true benchmark. And we are nowhere near being able to compete there. Our aim should be toppling Bayern, not Spurs. We need a more flexible system. A vision. Disciplined players. Accountability. A squad that is smart, technical, robust and talented.
We need to wake up. if you’re not constantly questioning yourself when you’re winning, you’ll find trouble. Lots of businesses run into this mistake. They find a winning formula, then one day, without warning, it’s over and it takes ten years to reverse. I look at Apple these days. They’re winning the balance sheet by taking hammering a winning formula of repurposing the same product in different shapes, colors and sizes. They forgot to innovate. They’re losing their edge, but no one cares because they’re smashing the balance sheet. But if they bodge their next move, they could find themselves in the ‘not relevant’ phase, stuck behind a trailblazer for ten years. Joke of Arsenal is we’re not even repurposing a winning formula. We’re rehashing something we know is broken.
You add three players to a talented title winning wide. You make way deeper improvements to a failing, ageing and quality depleted side. We’re complacent and arrogant in failure. That has to stop this summer. Hopefully Ivan and Stan can see that… Hopefully the fans can to.
BUT, to end on a joyous note. Enjoy the hell out of that win. SPURS BELOW US AGAIN.
BACK IN YOUR BOX BOYS! HAHAHAH!