Hello Goonerists! I’ve been away on a mini-sabbatical; a short trip back home to attend a cousin’s wedding meant some quality time with the family and also provided an opportunity to guzzle some ale with a few good friends. But the fall-out from all the ale-drinking and incessant traveling in unhygienic (I’m being very very diplomatic here) buses was not so fun, I spent the past few in bed swathed in my quilt looking like a mutated polar bear (leaking snot and other fluids that could be considered “yucky” in the immortal words of my sister). But never fear, as your favorite full-time super-hero part-time blogger is here to rescue you from the clutches of ennui. Take my hand and we shall roam the post-apocalyptic waste land that is life after an Arsenal defeat.
Those 120minutes against the Bantams has left even the most hardened Arsenal supporter distraught. We were woeful in a million different ways and needless to say the usual checklist of screwed-up-ness was followed religiously:
- Gervinho missed 2 or 3 sitters – Check
- Ramsey was ineffectual and clue-less about wing-play – Check
- Santi and Jack continued to hustle in the midfield while the forward line was catching a few z’s – Check
- Defensive error due to *insert random reason* (ex: flying cow/dust in eye) resulting in opposition’s goal – Check
Coquelin was a given a shot in the mid field but he too was underwhelming. The faith I had previously shown the lad is slowly eroding as he farts away the chances given to him. Cathola moved deeper into the midfield to make up his substitution and the Spaniard still managed to impress.
It was particularly painful to watch three players that I have vehemently defended in this blog continue to stumble and fall repeatedly. But a small excuse is that both Ramsey and Gervinho are being asked to operate in positions relatively alien to them, but even any player let alone a winger should be able to direct a ball into an *CENSORED* (Removed by AIS legal team) OPEN goal. After spending many an hour there, Ramsey should have found a way to make himself useful in the wings in a Mata-ish way or at least have the “stones” to take up the issue with Wenger and put an end to his idiotic experiment.
Wenger’s insistence on buying a quality for the sake of quality itself rather than requirement has come to bite us all in our collective posteriors.
- Wenger! What went wrong??!
Need a Right winger? Buy a Right-winger! Buying CM or an AM and hoping that he can operate on the wing because of his ‘inherent talent’ will result in nothing but a veritable shit-storm. Inherent talent is indubitably important but when fatigue sets in or form starts to dip, players tend to be more comfortable in roles that they are accustomed to or the positions that they are experienced in. Certain players are more than capable of adapting to new positions late in the careers or are versatile enough to play a range of positions (Arteta and Cazorla are obvious examples but even they will eventually grow frustrated), certain other players may evolve or grow from a certain role into another role (Henry’s & RVP’s transformations from winger to striker) but MOST players will invariably feel the need to operate in a position that they have trained in especially after playing in the position alien to them starts to fail. This explains why Andrei Arshavin and Aaron Ramsey among others have puttered off into obscurity in spite of their obvious talent. Arshavin was on a high when he first arrived at the Grove and could operate anywhere in the forward line, but eventually the stress & fatigue that comes with playing for an English team caught up with him and he would have preferred to have moved back into his usual position behind the striker (with a license to roam) which is what he was known for at Zenit St. Petersburg and the Russia national team. Instead the gaffer forced him onto the wings, an understandable move as the midfield was far more potent back then with the presence of trio: consisting of a home-sick Spaniard, an avaricious Frenchman and a confused Cameroonian. But four years on, the midfield is no longer as deep as it once was and Shava could very well be substitute for an over-played Cathola. (If there is any doubt about his creative ability as an AM, one only has to look at the now-inconsequential 7-5 victory against Reading where the Russian was involved in almost every goal) But NOOOOO! Instead Arsene continues to bench him or play him on the wings which renders the bulk of his creative skills useless and Cathola continues to plays matches like there’s no tomorrow.
Ramsey and Poldi too are faced with similar problems operating in roles that they clearly not comfortable with. Taking a player and molding him into what you want can work some times but such a gamble is far too risky in today’s world of high-stakes and big money football, the fact that Wenger is forced to resort to such strange measures, proves that there is something inherently wrong with the club.
Some opine that it’s all Wenger’s fault and that axing him, and replacing him with *insert name* (Pep, Ancelotti, Jurgen Klopp, Boer, Adams, Bergkamp blah blah) would be a panacea to all our problems. But I feel even that the problem runs far deeper than the manager.
Wenger: Some Many of his methods are antiquated, his views on all things football rigid as stone; he tends to be tactically inadequate and possess a bull-headed attitude towards criticism constructive or otherwise.
In spite of all his short-comings, he is a manager of pedigree and vision, which is not something that can be lost over time. I firmly believe that the inner workings of the club need to be examined, the Arsenal claim to be one of he best run clubs in the world and our financial records are so clean that we could eat off them. The club seems to be performing on every front except the one that it was founded to do which is “play winning football”. The board claims that transfer funds are at Wenger’s disposal, but the manager’s actions prove otherwise. The wage structure too is far from perfect which is something I have addressed in times past.
The club is starting to reek of a stench of failure and hints at something truly amiss; it is akin to a dead bandicoot in your car, you can smell the god-awful stench but you won’t know the source until you hold your nose and go on a rat-hunt to locate and dispose the rotting carcass.
Something similar needs to be done with the club, the creatures behind these failures need to be ferreted (pun intended) out and disposed off. If closer investigations prove that Arsene is the culprit, then we will know that it is time to convince the man to hang up his boots, thank him for all he has done and start looking for a successor to fill the aforementioned pair of Arsene’s-sweat-smelling boots. BUT if the problem turns out to be the board that are intent on conning the supporters, far more drastic measures will be required if we are to see Arsenal succeed in our life-times. But of course, all this is easier said than done especially for fans who are located in various corners of the world and have no direct contact with the club.
Now, for a second, consider the alternative: Assume that fans achieve what was once considered an impossible task and get Wenger fired (by constant pressure, boycotts and more BSM marches I assume) without looking into whose fault our decline could be attributed to. The board will simply hire a new scapegoat, preferably one that has vast experience of getting the most out of teams that are made with made from little or no funds. Moyes (Everton) or Martinez (Wigan) would be prime targets for the board if they aspired only to increase the size of the “asset” that is Arsenal. At least that is what Arsenal is to the vociferous Mr. Kroenke.
Now if this comes to pass, what would fans say about Arsene? Would you lot rather be left in this situation?
I doubt it.
So that’s why I recommend that we fans take a look around at the situation before running our mouths. Opinions should be based on facts and logic, not on assumptions and hallucinations of prophetic chimpanzees riding unicycles that you “saw” after you partook copious amount of psilocybin into the blood stream. Until “facts” and the truth is uncovered, both parties (Arsene and the board) stand innocent until proven guilty while the club slowly moves to the event horizon of failure.
Agree? Disagree? Bored? Angry? Indifferent? Blast out your opinion in the comments section….. or reach me on twitter @varchand_