Happy Valentines day melts. I hope you’ve messed it up big time. That bargain aisle you picked up a bottle of half price Echo Falls, a teddy bear and a bar of limited edition Galaxy in… yeah, doesn’t feel so smart now eh? I’m glad you’re all in the dog house. You can come out and drink with me… all. Night. Long. What a spectacular night we’ll have.
Anyway, in the wake of yesterday’s post, and considering Jesus would have wanted love to be spread on his second fave birthday, I’ve decided to switch those blinkers on and deal with the season we have ahead of us.
Even when you know something is coming, it doesn’t make the pain of sitting in a stadium with 55,000 others who have the same understanding any easier. Last night wasn’t as destructive as it could have been from a points perspective, but from a high level view, it felt like the team had accepted that they didn’t feel they could be part of the final push for the league.
Way back when, Wenger would have taken on that diabolical backline with 4 strikers. He’d have sniffed blood and he’d have gone for the jugular. Last night, we pushed for the draw… Arsene Wenger used to be the manager who’d take on the 190 yard dog leg shot over the lake, last night, it felt like he opted to lay up from 120 yards on a downhill par three at the local pitch and putt.
Usually the Arsenal United game is one you look forward too, but you don’t. Do you get me? You look forward to the occasion, but the end result is usually a bit disappointing. A bit like a Justin Bieber gig. Am a right? Am I right?
Anyway, United come to the Grove fresh off the back of a disappointing game draw against Fulham. They’ve been absolutely terrible all season. There is no ‘Moyes factor’. He’ll come to Arsenal armed with his book of genius tactics.
Welcome to the Tuesday post. I had the worst nights sleep. If I could cancel anything out of my life, it’d be sleep. The human mind is a bastard, it needs a switch off button for procrastination. I wish we had more in common with dolphins, always awake… 8 hours on, 8 hours off on a split brain operation. Wouldn’t that be great. An AKB side of the brain / A realist side of the brain. You’d have to much fun… especially if your brain shared the same Twitter account.
Anyway, you don’t want to know my thoughts on split brain social media, you want to know what I did last night. Right? Oh I see… well tough.
Manchester United provided the post sex cigarette after our Shawshank Redemption style mauling against Liverpool, and oh my, how satisfying was it? Are you sure it was just tobacco? United over turned an unfair one goal deficit only to be hit with a Darren Bent sucker punch at the death. That’s like David Brent stealing in to nick your girlfriend at closing time. Hilariously bad defending from United matched by incredible scenes in the stands. Mick Hucknall was not pleased at all.
That makes our match against them on Wednesday even more important. We literally can’t lose against United. They’re flat out of luck, flat out of faith in their manager and on the verge of total implosion. We can either kill their season or we can reignite it for 2 games. We know how they’ll play… press us hard and whip the ball into the box (84 crosses against Fulham!). We have to be alert to that and I hope we’re practicing to combat this tactic.
I had the fear about yesterday, but oh my days, did I not expect to see that happen. I don’t really want to dig too heavily into the goals, mainly because sifting through 5 terrible defensive errors really doesn’t feel like a good use of time, so I’ll go through the key points as I see them.
Good morning from me, I hope all is well in the sunshine of this February day. Arsenal vs Liverpool. It’s going to be massive. So dust off that hangover and start getting excited.
First up though, Ray Parlour was in the press talking about Arsenal’s finances. He dropped this little pearler into his Daily Mail column.
‘I understand why supporters are frustrated at the lack of trophies, but there has been an awful lot going on inside the club during that time. I know for a fact Arsene didn’t have a lot of money to spend. It all went into the stadium, trying to pay it off as quickly as they can.’
Now there Ray, this looks like a bit of creative revisionism going on here. Sure, when we moved, Arsenal were broke. We had to defer the Robin Van Persie transfer because we were strapped for cash. However, reading Ray rewriting history feels a bit PR to me.
Firstly, Arsenal are tied into a long term mortgage. So we can’t pay off the stadium early. That’s a total nonsense statement from the off. Secondly, we didn’t have to play the skint card through that period. Stan could have invested some of his billions in the club to give us a cash boost, but he didn’t. Why? Because it didn’t suit him to. The sustainable model simply meant that his investment was worth more when the new commercials dropped.
We’ve also always had a pretty large wage bill. Wages correlate to league position in the main. So while Wenger has done a good job over the years, he hasn’t exactly performed miracles. He’s spent less on transfers, but he’s spent a shedload of cash on wages. So much so, he cleared £500k a week off our books last summer by shifting deadwood that didn’t play.
Someone made an interesting point about transfers. Whilst the manager hasn’t had cash like City, he has had funds, he just hasn’t spent it particularly well. The summer we missed out on Chelsea, Arsene opted instead to spend £24m on a teenager from league one and Gervinho. One went on to be twice player of the year for Chelsea, the other two… well, one is in Italy after being a total flop, the other is still trying to make his mark.
Point is, Arsenal can’t plead poverty. We’ve just been impoverished compared to Chelsea and City. During that same time, Ferguson, using sustainable funds, more than matched them. So whilst money is important, it’s not the only factor that drives success.
Onto today. Liverpool. It’s going to be a tough game. I’m not hugely confident if I’m honest. Their two strikers are going to be a nightmare and I fear that away from home, they might turn it on.
Still, we’ve both had a week off. Both teams will be energised and well drilled. So the encounter doesn’t have any excuses wrapped around it. The better team will win. On paper, that’s us. How that plays out in reality is another story. Brendan Rodgers has injected a new belief into that Liverpool side. Today is a cup final for his boys. If they lose, they’re out of the title race. If they win, they close the gap and they’ll get a boost of momentum.
For Arsenal, a loss and the next 3 weeks start to look depressing. Win and it could be the start of something glorious. It’s a massive game for both side and the game has epic written all over it!