It’s really sad not being part of the FA Cup, especially after making it our own trophy over the past few years.
I’ve been writing a lot about the past recently. It struck me that the path of George Graham and Arsene Wenger has more parallels than you think.
The key one being that; though over different timelines, George Graham built a league winning team that played exciting football, then the form started to wobble, then he padded out his final days with cup wins, before being fired for dirty dealings.
Arsene has semi-rescued his latter years with exactly the same trick. What is the skill in winning cups? It’d be quite the achievement if Wenger beats Pep at Wembley this month, especially since he’s never won a league cup. I just don’t understand how you suddenly become a great cup team? Is it an attitude thing? You have good players, but can’t motivate them to do it over 38, but in a winner takes all situation you can get some fire in the belly? Or is it just a fluke?
The other thought I had on the FA Cup. If we’d binned Wenger last summer and brought in a decent manager who could have had this current squad right now, but 7 months ago, we could be sitting much higher up the league table, rocking a very fresh squad, taking rest weeks that could have been used to double down on tactical planning for the remainder of fairly simple games we have coming up.
Then the real kicker of this season hits you. We’ve had the Liverpool (Gerrard slip year)/Leicester/CFC advantage of one game a week this season, and we’re still nowhere near winning the Premier League. In fact, in our freshest legs year, we’re worse off than we’ve ever been. I do hope at the end of the season, when we’re well out of the mix, that it’s noted that this season has been our easiest yet, and we’ve been a disgrace.
I also hope the club is strategising Wenger’s future. We absolutely cannot allow him to head into a season with one year left on his deal. It’d be unreal carnage. The club needs to agree for him to move amicably, or they need to offer him a year extension. For the life of me, I cannot imagine that we’d bother hiring out a succession team if we planned to keep giving Wenger bonus extensions to his deal.
… but this is Arsenal. All it takes for our manager to win a new deal seems to be a phone call to Stan and a bit of the…
‘Stan, I took one for the team when I could have managed Madrid and helped grow your asset by double. The least you can do is look after me now’
… and he gets a pay rise and another year.
I really hope the manoeuvres during this season are signalling that the end is near.
Before I go, two things I want to draw to your attention.
Firstly, Alex Fynn, friend of the blog and author of the excellent The Making of a Modern Superclub, is talking at Birbeck College about the future of Arsenal and Spurs. It’ll be a great talk, it’s on Monday, and you should register yourself a seat here for free. It’ll be educational if you’re into the business of football.
Back onto Hector Bellerin, he made the excellent point yesterday that his chat with Oxford covered many more interesting topics than shit talking a fan website. I wanted to give everyone the chance to watch the impressive young man talk about important items like mental health, racism, and finding the right balance and tone in another language. I mean, not give the chance, but if you’ve only seen the paper hot takes, you might not have known there was a long form version. BRAVO HECTOR.
Also, this was a very good write up on fan authenticity.