The dust hasn’t even begun to settle and the fallout is certainly continuing from one of the worst nights I have witnessed as an Arsenal fan. There are “reports” of Wenger’s foul mouthed fury at the players in an emergency meeting yesterday at the London Colney. There are “reports” of Wenger looking to change his ways and rid us of all our deadwood and giving up on pathetic excuses for players. Not in any of these reports was there any citation or any sources but that is not much of a surprise, such is the journalism in this country. I suppose it doesn’t need to be any good as nobody will question it, they just love the headlines and buy the shit. If Robbie Savage is allowed to have his nonsense published in a national newspaper, then it is clear that there is something gravely wrong however that is for another day.
Even the most optimistic of Arsenal fans will be unable to deny that things have hit new lows this season. Instead of pushing on and improving on a team that last year beat the best team in the world we have regressed to a point where we were unrecognisable.
All Arsenal fans at the end of last season were unanimous in our hope for investment and improvement into a team deemed by us as essentially not good enough. Instead we see a team this year far inferior to any of the teams that have come out in any of the seasons since our trophy barren spell started. They have been awful this season with disappointment after disappointment being handed out. The worst thing is I don’t think the team is as bad as has been made out. The very team that was annihilated by Milan has played well in patches this season and have had far better performances against far better sides.
That makes Wednesday night all the more unforgivable. There was not a point in the match where I saw anyone take any initiative or do anything to change the course of the match. Is that due to the player’s mentality? Complacency? Or is it that they just do not care?
All three reasons seem more than plausible after watching that “performance”. It was a joke. A shambles. It was utterly embarrassing and at the same time in many ways was fully avoidable.
We can go down memory lane and look as far back as the move to the Emirates stadium, we can look at the recruitment over the past few seasons or we can look at the abomination that was the summer where we mismanaged almost all major decisions that came our way. However that would give the players an excuse and as much as I think Wenger and The Board have caused many of our problems the players must take accountability too. They were awful and could have done much better and should have done better. Wenger for all his apparent faults has every right to expect his team to play much better than they did. Had they even played to half of their ability they would not have got battered in such a way.
People talk about how a shakeup is needed, whether it be managerial, the playing staff or even some rumblings about an ownership battle. How about we pull our socks up and everyone at the club tries to do what is expected of them as at the moment there is nobody at the club that can hand on heart say they are doing right by the club. (Well with the exception of the grounds man.)
Whether we are in crisis, on the verge of crisis or just plain shit needs to be addressed and like it or not that is down to all the people at the club at the moment. We have no real choice until the summer so instead of clamouring for change lets as fans continue to demand answers from a reluctant board.
Instead of cancelling press conferences and media outings let’s face the music, come out with a strong positive message and fucking get on with it. I would like the board, preferably the owner to come out and state what the expectations are from the team and how we are to achieve our aims. It needs a clear message as otherwise there are lots of questions and doubt which like it or not the players are not immune to and without giving them excuses will affect their performances I am sure.
This takes us into tomorrows tie where we will face Sunderland away, again on a pitch that is less than desirable. I think any temptation to rest players will have subsided. I understand how an exit from the FA cup will be perceived, but personally I am of the opinion that winning the FA cup and failing to get into the Champions League will be a catastrophic failure. Silverware or no silverware, the way football is, anything less that Champions League football means we will not be able to attract top footballers and the dwindling number that are with us will be manufacturing moves elsewhere. This would lead to a downward spiral and a far more difficult job for Wenger or any new manager.
We are now at a crossroads where we can choose to either fall apart and go by the wayside or grab the bull by the horns and sort our shit out. So here is a message to you Arsenal: Sort your fucking shit out!