It feels so good for football to be back.
It feels even better to deliver a hammer blow to Paul Lambert’s Stoke in controversial circumstances. I mean, the penalty we were awarded wasn’t really that controversial, I thought Ozil was crunched in the box and the challenge from behind was certainly reckless.
The cooly slotted penalty reassured me Aubameyang is indeed the absolute man.
The man from Gabon dropped his second shortly after, smashing an outside of the boot low drive across goal. The Ozil corner nodded on from Mustafi at the front post felt like peak George Graham. You know it wasn’t planned, but one can dream.
The final goal gave me all the feels – like a young millennial seeing The Notebook for the first time. The cute story goes like this:
Lacazette who has been injured for months comes on, he plays real good, then he’s felled in the box. Everyone was like, OMG, and so was the ref. He gives a penalty. Aubameyang was on a hattrick, everyone expected him to take the kick, but he said, ‘no damn way babes, you take this.’
Laca steps up, buries it, and the whole world suddenly realises Pedro’s post about looking after those in need actually impacted player behaviour on the pitch. Un-fucking-real. Leftwing snowflake liberalism in full effect. What a moment.
The game played out, the fans left happy, Arsene Wenger racked up a 4th win in a row.
Was it a great game? No. It was utter shite. The first half was one of the flattest I’ve endured in a while. Simply put, we were clueless. Bereft of structure, character and desire. Stoke pressed us a little, and we fell apart. You can say the players were thinking about Thursday, but let’s be honest here, we’re 6th in the league in April, the issue of being predictably susceptible to a press is not new, and managements failure to counter the problem is why we’re so poor. Talent isn’t the issue. It’s the way the coach plans how we play.
Another issue we’ve suffered all season has been that we don’t supply our forwards with service. How can that be? We have Mesut Ozil, a player our fan base seems to think is the greatest creative talent in the world outside Messi. We have Jack Wilshere, the great white hope of English football, the man fans think will save our World Cup. We also have Aaron Ramsey, Roy of the Rovers extraordinaire, a stats god, a man with more untapped potential than a Zizou/Henry genetic engineering project perfectly executed.
How can we have a midfield with so much individual creative talent… yet we can’t pick out two of the most prolific strikers in Europe against a Stoke side so poor they’d conceded 58 goals before today?
Imagine what a good manager could do with the talent we have…
Still, the reality is we’re at the stage of the season Jose’s United was this time last season. Out of the mix for Europa places in the league, no chance of top 4. Our big bet is the next 5 games in the Europa League where we can make the Champions League via the back door. Do games like today even matter? Surely the only point is to survice 6th place and keep everyone fit? If Jose was doing this, the media would be celebrating him as a wily old fox.
A lot of fans dodged the game yesterday, it was brutally apparent on the TV. I saw a prominent AFC journo slate them. A person whose main job perk over the last 30 years has been free tickets, expensed travel, and a complimentary sandwich platter on arrival. A statement of Bill Gates richness when you consider his role as the chief enabler of the ‘careful what you wish for’ narrative that’s once again served the paying fans a shit sandwich so grim, they’d rather stay at home than go to an event they’ve paid for.
Also, highlighting Newcastle fans as a bastion of great fandom? Please, they’re the biggest fucking myth in football. They bully managers out of the club, their fans have been top of the league for the most banning orders 3 seasons in a row, and they engage in all the same bullshit we do online and in the ground that we do (protests/banners). See how banging their attendances would be if they’d been forced to deal with 10 years of Steve Mcclaren.
Arsenal fans spend huge amounts on their season tickets, roughly double what Geordies pay. Factor in the cost of travel, eating, and drinking… well, you have quite the expense. Arsenal offer up a toxic match day experience because they don’t match the effort for fans, yet promise them the world ever year. The club has no ambition. The only person who is important at Arsenal is the manager. He’s failing. Fans have known he’s failing for 5 years (some, 10). But he’s kept on. Who wants to put themselves in financial trouble for a serving of average in a season that’s basically over?
Also, fans are critiqued for protesting, critiqued for being negative online, critiqued for not going to games. We can’t win. Maybe we’re too soft. Maybe we should be a little more like Geordies, who statistically specialise in being aggressive and hounding out managers they don’t like. Funny how when you’re northern, that’s salt of the earth behaviour, but when you’re southern, it’s a different narrative.
Big question I ask myself is this… how long are Sky going to keep playing us live when our ground is so visibly empty? If a fan that spends £2k on a season ticket would rather go fishing than watch Arsenal, why would anyone tune in on TV? All a bit Serie A… not a good look for Stan, who is too wrapped up in making the LA Rams elite. Still, at least Wenger was on point with his excuse.
“It’s just the fact it’s Easter and people have been away.
That’s me done for today.
We made a new podcast. There shall be another coming next Sunday. We are going BIG this month, one or two a week with a rotating cast.
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