Being an Arsenal fan used to be so easy. I remember days when I couldn’t catch a game on the radio or tv so I would call up my Dad with questions like, ‘how many did we win by?’ ‘Did Henry score?’ Yes that’s right, my only fear back then was if Thierry Henry was going to receive the Golden Boot and perhaps even the Ballon d’Or, a trophy much maligned by our manager in recent weeks. Jealousy? Perhaps. So as the fall out of the weekend’s result filters through social media sites, players’ psyche and Arsene Wenger’s home life, the doubts are growing significantly. Is this squad good enough to get top four? Do we have a board who are willing to back a manager, and if this backing is received, do we have a manager who has any idea of how to spend what is afforded to him? These are worrying times, Wenger’s magic hat seems to have lost its sparkle, and the fans are turning on each other in increasing number (as our chat below goes to show). So if you don’t have any Arsenal fans to talk it out with, go ahead and read a few Gooner thoughts on the situation and the upcoming games to Olmpiakos and West Brom.
If you can manage it. . .
Update: We have now deservedly lost to Olmpiakos, so the West Brom game is even more crucial!
Good evening gents. Now a few weeks back I said I didn’t like being negative and, at that time, it seemed ok to be saying that. A win against our neighbours and it was all rosy. Well, after the last week’s result and 2 points from 9, it’s time to have a rant!
You’ve got Baldy Gazidis talking a great game from the diamond sweet in the directors box and Wenger coming out with ‘the players are tired and mentally not at the races’. It’s just the same old excuses from Wenger! Chatting drivel. Yes he’s been great for the club and has got us to the status we are now, but it’s time for a younger, hungrier manager with fresh ideas to come in. Maybe a Pep Guardiola if we could convince him out of a stress-free sabatical, or Jurgen Klopp of German champions Dortmund. They fit the Arsenal mould and I’m sure would love to be involved in the next gunner’s project. Because as for the current situation, can we see it getting any better? I’m just not convinced. Steve Bould has had a good go at the players if you believe ‘The Sun’ and hopefully some of them have taken note. There is sprinklings of talent within the squad but at the minute it’s just not enough and, for me, the sooner we get to January to buy some quality players the better. At the minute we are a mid table team getting outplayed at home and no disrespect but to teams like Swansea and Fulham!
Tom S 20.08
Yes Nick Saturday was disappointing. The day seemed somewhat cursed though when I opened the first door of my advent calendar and instead of a delicious chocolate treat, was horrified to find nothing more than a picture of three pretty smug looking wise men. Needless to say I slammed the door shut and left a note to my girlfriend saying it was a completely unacceptable performance with a strong suggestion she step her game up. Had I known then that this disappointment would be replicated only a few hours later, I would have photocopied the note and sent it straight to the Emirates! The problem is the team went into the game with everything they needed to put in a season turning performance, but ultimately lacked the focus, concentration and crucially desire to do so. A bit like my girlfriend walking into Tesco!
It’s never been my philosophy to dwell on individual games, especially at this stage of the season where a hectic fixture list simply does not allow the team to lose confidence or indulge in self-pity. However, for me there has been one recurring sight of late which just can not be ignored – the opposition through ball, parting our towering red centre backs with the ease of Moses at a Center Parcs. Between them, Vermaelen and Mertesacker represent two of my favourite Arsenal players; both wear the cannon with pride every time they suit up and both are amongst the very top defenders in the league, but they seem to have all the chemistry of a dodgy ‘my first science’ set. The September headlines – hailing the impact of Steve Bould and the summer transformation of the gunner’s back four – are slipping further and further into history.
At this point I’d like to add that Swansea did play well, with Mr. Michu once again proving his class, and, even though it is nauseatingly frustrating that he can not touch the ball without each and every commentator mentioning his price tag, it is hard to believe he was valued at just 1/17th of ‘can’t score’ Andy Carroll! However, in much the same way that a chocolate-less advent calendar is never acceptable, no matter how well the Swans played, there simply can be no excuse for Arsenal to lose to them, especially at home. Ever.
Well boys, it has indeed been a very tough few weeks for us Arsenal fans. I feel a bit like when I had to get rid of my teddy bears. I loved them, they had spent so many years beside my bed, and yet to be seen with them after a certain point only encouraged ridicule and embarassment. I’m not saying Wenger is a teddy bear (the photo above doing him no favours) but the panache and intelligence with which he approached the Premier League on his debut has finally run out. The players don’t seem fit enough, the creativity has gradually dimished season after season (like staying faithful to all the seasons of Lost) and the tactical nouse which served him so well has been replaced by substitutions the like of which we have seen in recent weeks.
It is the ‘go to’ shot nowadays for cameraman, as we look on at Bould and Wenger on the touchline. If we are trying to inspire commnication between the players they are hardly the model to follow! Wenger’s coat may indeed be getting bigger every season, but if it carries on like this he will need a full body suit to hide from the backlash of his ‘loyal’ fans. It wasn’t pretty at the Emirates. Expensive boos eminating from expensive seats, in an expensive stadium.
Wenger’s selection for Olympiakos tells us how he views that game. I fancy us to get a draw as it goes, but nothing more. West Brom then are the next team to arrive at the Emirates, again playing arguably better football than us! A defeat is unthinkable, a win will pacify things and bring us ever close to that magical January transfer window. If I have to go out and buy a defensive midfielder myself I will. You don’t patch up a leaking boat with a little plaster (Arteta).
Tom S 20.34
Despite being bottom of the group Montpellier are quite capable of holding Schalke to a draw which would put the power of qualifying top of the group straight into Arsenal’s hands. Something which shouldn’t be underestimated. Olympiakos is a hostile place for the best of strikers and without Theo, the Pod or Olly G it’s hard to see where the goals are going to come from. My advice would be whatever odds Mr. Winstone offers you on your tv tonight, it’s unlikely Chamakh will be netting either the ball or a return on your stake! So it looks like Wenger has settled for second and guess what, I think he’s making exactly the right call! The Premier League simply has to be the priority right now, and with West Brom on the weekend the importance of resting key players is paramount.
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