“We look at Arsenal now and think: ‘We can beat you’. They’ve got no aura, no fear.”
Weird to start a blog with a Troy Deeney quote, but none sum up the problem with Arsenal under the guidance of Arsene Wenger more perfectly today. We kind of thought we’d make it to the Manchester City game before we started writing out the season’s eulogy, but here we are, in October, having lost 3 games from 8 and drawn 1.
Arsenal weren’t shocking by any standard yesterday, they were just very average. We missed Alexis and the energy of Aaron Ramsey, but we still boasted a huge amount of talent regardless, and we should have buried Watford.
Instead, the narrative couldn’t have been more aptly set by a player who has come to set the tone for Wenger’s failed Project Decadence. £43m Mesut Ozil came on for Danny Welbeck and we fell to pieces. The German fluffed his lines really badly when put in front of goal by Alex Iwobi, Watford went down the other end and won a dubious penalty that Troy Deeney easily converted. The wind was firmly in the sails of Watford and you knew what was coming, a goalmouth scramble, with Tom Cleverley on hand to make it count with a cool finish through a sea of bodies.
So very Arsenal, so very Arsene.
Now, I will say, Watford are going to be a pain in the arse this season for the big teams. They have a very good manager who is continuing the exceptional job he ‘nearly’ did turning around the worst Premier League side of all time. He has a team packed full of power and pace, he’s added a tough work ethic and some tactical nous. Exactly Wenger’s nightmare. This additional quote from Deeney is one that could have been applied to Wenger through the ages.
‘I’ve heard Wenger’s already blaming that [the penalty] as the reason they lost,’ Deeney said on BT Sport .
‘Well, I’m not one to tell Mr. Wenger about himself, but the reason they lost wasn’t due to one penalty.
‘Having a bit of cojones, I think the word is. Whenever I play against Arsenal – and this is just a personal thing – I go up and think “let me whack the first one, then we will see who wants it,’
Oh god, the dreaded, ‘they don’t like it up ’em’, line of attack.
It’s true though. Our squad has no character whatsoever. Wenger doesn’t sign big personalities, he signs players he can control… and worse, he tends to have to sign players who can’t do any better. We’re not winning any beauty contests these days. Our two best players want to leave, a whole bunch are out of contract next summer, and there’s no doubt there’s another batch of stars waiting met out the same short shrift to Wenger next summer.
There’s no spirit because there’s no vision for Arsenal. Wenger runs the club like a personal indulgence, and Stan Kroenke ensures his main man is given all the support he needs to make sure his every whim is catered for. We’re so broken as a outfit, that when the manager lost the dressing room, the club sold the dressing room.
New contracts for his clueless backroom team he’s not changed in 20+ years. New deals for shite players at above market rate so it’s extra hard to move them on when they fall out of favour. Wenger even has a say on who comes in to support him in a backroom revolution designed for fan placation, not the good of the football club.
What you saw out there yesterday is the real Arsenal this season, not a nightmare blip we can pass off as an aberration. We are an above average squad of players who can sometimes be brilliant, but will mostly be average, and will often disappoint you with embarrassing displays of ineptitude. We’re a top 6 side this year, and you just have to deal with that. Well, until the manager leaves because fan venom gets too much, or the owner grows a pair and steps in to make a stand.
Until then, Arsenal are autopiloting deeper into stale mediocrity, navigating its way into beige football purgatory greenlit by a club that has no sporting values, just a deeply unpleasant dedication to an old man who is so painfully out of his depth, he’s being trolled by Troy Deeney.
Are you even angry? No. Nor me. I’m just flatlined, drained into zombie-like indifference. Can someone wake me up when this nightmare is over and the board want to opt-in to being a real football club again?
P.S. Take a read about Napoli who are top of Serie A with 8 wins in 8 playing some of the best football in the world right now. Sarri should be right up the top when it comes to our next manager.