I think we’re here. The moment Le Grove readers have been waiting 10 years for. fanbase has finally united behind the movement that Arsene Wenger as an idea is finished.
Odd that many seem to think what we’re seeing now is any different to what’s come before. Last year, our new years dive started a bit later, but saw 6 losses in 10 games. 2 of the wins were against non-league teams in the FA Cup, 1 win was against Hull and the other was a City draw. The year before, no different. Quick exit from the Champions League. Losses to top 6 teams. Pitiful draws.
Both times, Arsenal fans wiped their tears away with FA Cup wins. Readers from this site, and many fans were keen to point out that FA Cups are not elite trophies and didn’t paper over the shocking form in the CL, the terrible record against top 6 teams and the slow decline of our wonderful brand of early 2000s football.
What you saw yesterday wasn’t a tipping point, it was our typical turn of the year decline. Don’t kid yourself things have only just reached this nadir. Wenger has been in full-on regression for ten years, this result was just particularly stinging because it was against the backdrop of Ozil and Sanchez being out of the squad. The amplified pain is because it’s tough to see a way out this time. But may I remind you, Ozil and Sanchez were there last year and we still finished 5th.
I could go into the game, but I’m sure others will pick apart the performance better than I can. Needless to say, I think the below image tells you all you need to know about the levels we achieved in a carpark stadium.
Aside from the lack of spatial awareness, where is the leadership here? How can 4 players be dragged like that? When the ball made it through, what was Petr Cech thinking?
More to the point, Arsenal were 1-0 up against a team that would be sitting 17th. A team that’s conceded 35 goals. A team that we should be able to eat up. Yet still, we gave up the lead and proceeded to collapse.
Ivan Gazidis has made two very good signings in Raul Sahnelli and Sven Mislintat. However, those two can’t save us alone. My big concern is some of the absolute stinkers we have at the club still.
Firstly, Dave Priestly is the clubs sports psychologist. This guy was poached from Saracens (who were a client of mine) when they were the richest team in the UK but kept on choking at the final hurdle (watch this). Can someone tell me how he’s still at the club? If we’re about elite performance, and you look at his record, what has he achieved? Are we stronger mentally? Are we winning big games? Are we able to hold onto leads? How has he moved the needle in 3 years?
Moving on. Gerry Payton is still at the club. His greatest hits include Almunia, Fabianski, Chezzer and Petr Cech. Our current keeper has conceded more than 20% of his career goals with us and he’s 36. Szczęsny left us and now he’s #1 a Juve. Fabianski is a better keeper than Cech despite being at Swansea (coached by exArsenal coach Tony Roberts). Almunia was an abomination. Why is this guy still at the club? What is he doing?
Darren Burgess is our new fitness guru. How’s he getting on with Lacazette who Wenger said is fatigued? How has Ramsey’s fitness been? Where are our three first team defenders? How is Giroud? What improvements have come from this hire? If anything, we’ve regressed fitness wise this year.
Andries Joncker was a disaster, totally humiliated as soon as he left. Hendrik Almstadt who was Ivan’s right-hand man overseeing the dismal STATDNA went to Villa and tanked. Steve Rowley has been allowed to hang despite transfer hits such as Kim Kallstrom, Park Chu Young, Chamakh and Gervinho. Wenger’s inner circle is still at the club despite having nothing to show for their salary.
Anyway, my point here is two-fold. What are all these people doing at Arsenal to stop the rot? Why is Ivan allowing so many people at Arsenal totally mail it in? It’s shocking.
Now the big question, what are Arsenal going to do to stop the rot? Any other manager would be fired after the run Wenger’s just gone on. His record against the bottom 8 is laughable. He went out of the FA Cup 3rd round to a bunch of kids. He just gave up another lead away from home to a shit side. Not Arsenal though. All the noise I’m hearing is it’s highly unlikely he’ll leave this summer, and very likely he’ll be here next season.
His departure date will be 2019.
Arsenal ‘could’ bring in a new man. There’s enough names available to pick up the slack. The biggest name and most obvious is Carlo, but be real, we’re Arsenal, we could pull in anyone we wanted. We have the money, but we won’t do the smart thing and make a change to try and salvage 4th and get someone in early to get the lie of the land for next year (like Liverpool did, and City kind of).
So what can we do that doesn’t involve proper decisions? Maybe we should do what all the other elite teams are doing, head out to the sunshine for a few days. Get the players who want to stay to work through the problems as a group. Reassert the vision, give young players some responsibility to shine, give them a break from the winter and the bad news. United, Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool have all done so. Why aren’t Arsenal? Because we don’t think like that. It’s the Wenger show.
Also, on the contract issues we’re going through, as much as I want to blame Wenger on this, what the hell was Ivan thinking? He should have offered Ozil and Sanchez £200k a week 2 years ago when they were asking. The CEO knew we could afford it, he knew TV money increases were going to inflate the value of contracts and transfer fees. Absurd that he let Wenger decide the money on offer was too much.
Look at how Spurs operate. They offer the best talent the right money that’ll get them to sign with the future in mind, and then pay the extra to have 1 yr extension option. That means if the player fails, they let the him go at the end of the deal. If they’re in a Sanchez situation, they trigger the clause when they know the players want out and get big money. Deli Alli is on a 7 year deal at £60k a week. Harry Kane is on a 6 year deal at £100k a week. Smart.
Arsenal should know about this sort of deal because we let Johann D enact that type of clause against us. Madness, and again, where some of my doubts about the future come from.
Anyway, some good news. Arsenal are going to try and exchange a player in the Sanchez/United deal. I’d take Martial or Mikki. Both would add value to the squad. I’d really like Mikki, I think the Mourinho burn will drive him to better things, but to be honest, same with Martial. He’ll want to impress and he’s young enough to be part of the next managers thinking.
Finally, Kike Marin reckons we’re in for Auba of Dortmund. I really like him. Some say he’s the Ghanaian Lacazette, but for me, he’s absolutely not. He’s lightning quick, can play all across the front line, he’s 6ft1, good in the air and he’s lethal. Sure, there are better options. Timo Werner or Icardi would be unreal, but we’re not making buys like that right now. But I’d take the Gabonese Lukaku over the French Kevin Phillips.
Finally, Chamberlain did us all a favour and killed City the invincibles story. He dropped an assist and scored their opener. Good for him. He’s going to be a good player, I liked him at Arsenal, he just needed an actual coach. Did you notice he’s not injured every other week? I hope Rambo isn’t paying attention.
Right, see you in the comments. Check out our podcast, and OUR FACEBOOK LIVE VIDEO SO ELITE WOW. 👇