Hull City are next up, but firstly, we must congratulate Arsene Wenger on his 20th Arsenal anniversary. I don’t want to labour on it for too long, but it’s quite an achievement. He’s seen off many great names, Owen Coyle, Jose Mourinho twice as well as Sir Alex Ferguson.
You can’t argue with that longevity. When he started I was 12 experimenting with hair gel and copper dial up internet porn. Remember that? Spending many hours working out how to clear those history folders… then finding the old mans computer stash. Bad times. I digress.
Well, you could poke holes in the last decade, you could say that his longevity has owed a lot to indebtedness of an owner who loves the consistency of top four. The stale collapse of his tenure isn’t a sight to behold, I’m not clapping him teary eyed wondering how time passed so quickly, I’m bored, wishing away his final season.
It’s a shame that as a fan, I can’t be excited about his AFC birthday, because for me, he’s outstayed his welcome.
But look, we’re stuck with him this season. We just have to hope he pulls a rabbit out the hat again this year… and by that, I mean keep us kicking hard to stay in the top four.
Interestingly, Diego Simeone has taken a two year reduction in his Atletico Madrid contract. He’s signed a reduction. Yeah, I know, weird… even weirder it made me twitch like that 12 year old boy 20 years ago firing up his Intel Pentium 1 desktop when the parents left to go to Tesco.
So Diego’s deal expires at the end of next season. Why would you do such a thing? Madness. A tantalising one. If the club are serious about competing next year, and Wenger does finally decide to do one, you’d think it a pretty crazy notion we wouldn’t consider the Argentine, the best coach not in the Premier League. It’d also be crazy not to consider Allegri and Tuchel. Even Lucian Favre who was a bit unfairly fired from Gladbach.
Anyway, the stars are aligning…
Back onto the Hull game… Wenger has pushed us into CRYING OUT FOR GIROUD. He’s given us Alexis Sanchez up top, which hasn’t really panned out. He’s given us Perez who is very new, very green and likely has a future out wide. Now we’re all praying Giroud lands a start, because at least he’s an outlet.
It’ll be interesting to see what Wenger does tomorrow. Will he stick with Coq and Santi? Likely, when people kick out at his decisions that fail to deliver the goods, it’s customary for him to dig his heels in, in an attempt to make us see the light. He’s also come out with a new idea to quell us thinking his current favoured CM pairing not weird and stupid… and that’s the notion that Xhaka is actually a ball playing DM.
‘I personally prefer him as a box-to-box player, because he has the engine, he has the power, he has the long pass, he likes to come deep and distribute the game’
I am all for experimentation, I really am. But we have an actual issue with Coquelin not being very smart tactically / rubbish on the ball. Which was solved by Xhaka. Now Wenger is pushing the solution further up the pitch, in direct competition with Aaron Ramsey, who now is what? A really good sub? Same happened with Jack. He wanted to play in the deeplying playmaker, a position he was owning for England, but Wenger insisted he was a 10, then shunted him out on loan?
Sell someone if your midfield is so fucking confused.
Jeez, I guess I’m just looking at the decisions Wenger has made with his squad this year… and, well, I don’t know… I’m baffled. Santi taking a starring role when his legs have gone? Coquelin usurping two better centre midfielders? Joel Campbell and Jack Wilshere sent out on loan? Gnabry sold £4.3m? Very strange decisions.
But hey, Wenger is a strange manager.
So, let’s see what happens against Hull. We need to start racking up the points because City are on a lovely run with a manager who sees the game through the lens of the future. It’s always risky to put so much promise on a team and its early form, but this is Pep, not, errr… Claudio Ranieri?
Anyway, see you tomorrow. x