Greetings mates! I come to you semi-alive and sleep deprived on the nastiest of days: Monday. Any other time, I’d like to rant about the ills of Monday for a few lines and how having a one-day weekend is a desecration of human right, but there’s enough to carp about on the topic of Arsenal. I must apologize for the relatively long lay-off, a combination of literary constipation (others prefer the phrase ‘Writer’s block’) and burn out kept me from hammering out a few lines, but that game proved to be the laxative so I’m back to play the fool, ask awkward questions and create uncomfortable situations, so you can stop sobbing into your sleeves. Wipe your runny noses and tear stained eyes and gather around children.
To say the least I’m obviously not copacetic about our last performance against Blackburn, It was a poor poor poor (did I mention poor) way to crash out of yet another cup tournament. Supporter morale has reached a new low, complaints & abuses are flying thick and fast as gooners turn against one another. The WOBs (Wenger Out Brigade) are vindicated by the result and vociferously screaming for Wenger’s head on a platter. My guess is they would like to mount it on a spike outside the Grove.
The AKBs (Arsene Knows Best [group/gang/brigade whatever]) are being torn to pieces as they are finding it increasingly difficult to defend their knight in not-so-shining armour. Conjuring up reasons for a loss is simple as taking a leak, but implementing any change to return to winning ways is no mean task. With that in mind, taking no action whatsoever is indeed a strange strategy.
The BAGs (Board Are Great) are… well, I’m not sure what this bunch are really thinking or talking about but I can guess that it’s something along the lines of how difficult it is to beat a non-premier-league team and that everyone at the Arsenal should be given a pat on the back and giant wad of cotton candy, a large bonus to buy another super car and be told that they are the bestestest team in the world.
But irrespective of what your views on Wenger are, whether he should stay or leave, do remember that he is a person who has contributed a great deal to the club and so show some respect when due.
Pro-Wengerites have resorted to blaming the board for our failings and a few have bought into the villainous board theory which states that the board are holding back funds from Wenger in spite of telling the public otherwise. It may be a little far fetched, but it was a theory that I was expounding on this very site a while back. The only hole to this theory is Wenger himself. The theory claims that he has held his silence due to loyalty to the club and his personal code of ethics; that he is merely caught between a rock and Ivan’s ugly bald head. True as this may be, Wenger has a moral responsibility to the fans to ‘fess up and expose the board. The fans comprise the club, “Arsenal Holdings Inc.” maybe torn between two obscenely rich creatures but without the fans, all they own are some large pieces of property in London and a few buggers with good ball control. Wenger had a responsibility towards fans (even at the cost of his job) but he has failed it. It truly does pain me to admit this.
With that in mind, I’m not for the renewal or extension of Wenger’s contract. Spending apart, his errors and failings with respect to the motivation & performances of the players on the roster are ample proof that change is required from some end. In an ideal world; Stan, Gazidis and the other clowns on he board wouldn’t exist, but we don’t live in a utopia, so we’ll have to settle for the next best option.
The game in itself was a pathetic spectacle to behold: as per our standard formula, our boys controlled the ball for the most part but chose to waddle around the pitch looking as dangerous as a rubber chicken in a sword fight. The BB goal was peppered with shots, but most were poorly hit or kicked with all the ferocity of a stoned koala. The few shots that were on target merely looked like pious offerings to the opposition’s GK (to be honest, he did pull off a couple of marvelous saves).
The central midfield pairing of Rosicky and Diaby was laughable at best. Diaby moved like a slow ponderous punch drunk camel. His hogged possession for rather long periods but failed to bring any meaningful creativity to the table. More often than not, he was forced back and resorted to passing to the wings and hope for a decent cross (that never came). Rosicky offered more pace and energy but nothing when it came to creativity. He too seemed unable to find the nifty pass or offer any sort of incision down the centre.
Giroud in the centre was crowded out, he was constantly man-marked and I’m all but certain that Orr even followed him to the loo after HT! The Frenchman was crowded out of the game, though he did put a valiant effort to drop deep and tried to indulge in some link up play, the absolute dissonance in the team rendered his efforts to naught.
As I’d mentioned earlier, Diaby and Rosicky were impotent down the middle and seemed happy to levy the creative burden onto the Wingers. Fans all over have resorted to verbally bitch slapping Gervinho for his rather poor performance. He managed a few decent crosses but Olli G was attracting defenders like flies to honey so most crosses were turned into simple clearances. This put the onus on the Ivorian to step up and try to score since the rest of his team mates had pretty much put up their hands and acknowledged that they lacked the male genitalia required to rise to the task. He may have scuffed an easy chance but he was resilient, he chose his himself on the line and at least try to score over and over again instead of hiding like some sort of craven critter (Perhaps Alex COWlade Chambo would be a more apt name?). For that I have immense respect for the man. He may not possess the accuracy of shot or an eye for goal but he TRIES, again and again, the man rarely gives up even when faced with public ridicule. Tirelessly working away while everyone chooses to lounge behind defenders and look helpless, to me Gervinho’s efforts were worth infinitely more than Diaby lackadaisical attitude or Ox’s cowardice.
Nachos (my stomach’s growling again) had a bad day, his crosses were rather poor and he lacked the fluidity and understanding [especially with Gervinho] to gel effectively with his team mates. He too put up a valiant effort, but he is far too new to the squad and the English game to be held culpable.
The responsibility of delivering crosses from the right wing should have fallen to our (supposed) wunderkind Ox, but the former Southampton “star” was reported missing. He crumbled like a giant cookie (ok, I’m really hungry now) and remained content to let the Coq rise (it never get old does it?!) to the occasion. The young Frenchman was at right back and proved precisely why he should be offered a contract and retained at any cost. He zoomed up and down the flanks, not only covering his defensive duties but also compensated for the Ox’s slothful play. He played with a vigor and fire that most of his team mates were oblivious to. The rest of that lot should sit up and take notice.
I’ve been getting much stick from my mates regarding my criticality of the Ox.
“He’s still young. There’s plenty of time!”
“He’s just a kid!! Be reasonable.”
are a few of the ridiculous excuses I hear when I bring up the ‘shitness’ of Ox this season. I have a rather simple response to that: If you want to be paid like an adult (which he does), then you’re expected to play like an adult (which he doesn’t), else piss off to the reserves and accept a 5k/week contract like the rest of the lot.
Arteta sat too deep to really influence the creative play, but did a decent job for the most part. The defenses too were snoozing for large swathes of the game, as Blackburn went with a 9-1-1 formation which largely left Verm and his crew untroubled. But when they did break forward on the rare occasion, they were repulsed with some difficulty, unless that jape of a goal. Scz has a portion of blame to shoulder as he tried to palm the shot forward, instead of holding onto it or sending it wide. The shot fell directly to some clown I can’t be arsed to remember and well, you know the rest.
Now that I’ve blown my load, I’m spent. I’m back to incoherent rage induced spluttering. Let me leave you with a quote that an incredulous friend conjured up after the match:
“First Oil Money, now we can’t even compete with Chicken Money?!”
But in spite of that dystopian performance, I harbor a sliver of faith that Wenger’s howls of anger and frustration in the unedited director’s cut verbal ass-whooping that took place in the dressing room will shame the chaps into turning up and ripping the Germans a new one on Tuesday.