|Dat Boy Welbz|
Boom, Danny Welbeck, 95thminute winner.
In the most dramatic fashion, we had beaten Leicester – who didn’t have a Championship side’s chance in the Premiership of sustaining their form – and were now only two points off the top spot.
It didn’t matter that we had only signed one outfield player in the summer (I’ll come back to that …), we had the best squad, the most experienced manager and a relatively easy run in.The class of 2015/6 was beginning to behave for Le Professeur, and I am afraid I did say it…
“This is going to be our year.”
We all know the rest…
For purely selfish cathartic reasons, let’s discuss what is happening at Arsenal.
First and foremost, I have a great deal of respect for Arsene Wenger. What he has done for Arsenal, in a wide range of capacities will never be accomplished again.
The Invincibles, three Premier Leagues, six FA Cups, twenty two consecutive Champions League Group Stages – including two runners up, a new world class stadium, and unearthing some of the best talent to have ever graced a football pitch. He is a dying breed of football manager that commands respect because of his accomplishments, and I will always love him for that.
|His oldest adversary… His puffer jacket|
However, do his accomplishments mean that he can choose when he hangs his over-sized, trickily-zipped jacket up for good?
My first reaction, is that it doesn’t matter what I think. Wenger will leave when he wants because he is synonymous with Arsenal Football Club. He is so intertwined with the fabric of the place that Wenger is his own Judge, Jury, Executioner, Referee, Linesman and 4th official.
However, as is so often with Arsenal, my heart says one thing and my head says quite the opposite.
I wanted him so badly to win the League this year so that he could retire gracefully, with the gratitude of the fans he was adored by a decade ago. However, logic stands fast behind football being a results business (is there anything better than a football cliché?).
|It is as if they wanted to
get injured all along…
Only signing Petr Cech in the summer was very bold of Wenger, especially as his frugality is the transfer window is
well over documented, and he knew it. However, when injuries to Sanchez, Welbeck, Walcott, Wilshere, Cazorla, Ramsey, Coquelin, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Flamini, Koscielny, and Arteta – it’s just absurd really – did inevitably happen, this was horribly exposed.
Mohamed Elneny came in January (why not the summer?) and did an excellent job, with an especially memorable performance at the Nou Camp. However, we can only speculate about the difference that a William Carvalho, Geoffrey Kondogbia or Morgan Schneiderlein could have made if signed early in the summer of 2015.
The metaphor of bringing on Mathieu Flamini to do a job against Barcelona in the Champions League is just perfect of the situation at AFC. Wenger knows it, Arsenal fans know it, and Lionel Messi certainly knew it.
|Flamini + Messi = Brain Fart|
Sub on Flamini.
47 seconds waltz by.
Flamini tackles Messi.
Thanks very much.
Players like Kevin De Bruyne get you into Champions League semi-finals by performing in big games. Apart from Sanchez, Ozil and Cech, I dare to name anyone in our squad within twelve parsecs (that’s a lot) of that class of player.
Ironically, despite the lambasting above, my biggest worry about the club is not Arsene Wenger.
My biggest worry is the Owner; Stan Kroenke.
|“You should see my new ranch…
It’s f*cking massive”
With Arsenal simply being another £2 billion line on his balance sheet, Silent Stan’s apparent apathy for winning trophies is rubbing arsenal fans the wrong way quite considerably.
Arsene Wenger provides Kroenke with certainty of Champions League football, and therefore profitability. No shrewd businessman would change the manager when the club is the fifth most wealthy in the world. Arsenal doesn’t need a businessman however, it needs an owner.
Therefore, when Wenger does find the hanger for his over-sized, trickily-zipped jacket, the void will be so large, that even Manuel Almunia would still be able to miss it.
It will not just be a case of a new manager coming in, there will have to be a complete restructuring of the Club. Scouts, Fitness Staff, Coaches, Club Management, and numerous roles at Director Level will all have to be drastically changed as Wenger’s indelible ethos will be removed.
There is a stalemate at the top of the club. Wenger will not leave until this time next year at the earliest, as “I always honour my contracts”. The fans are so disillusioned with ‘only’ a top four finish that they are prepared to throw caution to the baby out with the wind and the bath water, and happy to try a new manager in the hope of instant success.
Maybe I should take a leaf out of Stan Kroenke’s book by simply not giving a monkeys.
|“I believe that we produced a performance
of top, top quality. In the second half we
had a little bit handbrake, and dropped a bit
physcially. But overall we showed
excellent mental strength.”
So I was right, it really doesn’t matter what I think.
This time next year I will be just as frustrated about not winning the title, after being top in January, and injuries were the reason why.
Or maybe it is going to be our year…?!