April 6, 2014

Stop The Bleeding

I like to think that I'm somewhat of an optimist when it comes to Arsenal's bad results. What I mean is that I at least attempt to find some of the positives when we lose and don't jump off the deep end immediately after games. But this shit is really starting to piss me off. I think everyone that has anything to do with football knew that this was a huge game for both Arsenal and Everton today.... except Arsene Wenger and the players he picked to play.

We were out-played, out-classed and most importantly out-hustled by Everton and deserved every bit of our 3-0 loss on Merseyside (again). Every single game this season that's had any sort of importance attached to it has seen us come out like a bunch of whimpering children. Before I get too carried away I'd like to show a couple of interesting stats I found;

- February 7th: Arsenal top of the Premiership by two points.... 9 games later... April 6th: 1 point away from 5th.

- Half of our goals conceded this season have come against Liverpool, Man City, Chelski and Everton.

-Arsenal have not won against any of the top six teams in the Premiership this season, while only recording three wins against the top ten.

I think we, as fans, have more class than to have a plane fly over the Emirates with a banner reading; "Wenger out!" but you've really got to start asking, (if you haven't been already) is the epic Arsenal/Wenger relationship working any more? Sure, we've got a great chance to win a trophy this year, albeit the FA Cup, but it's more than that now.

Most Arsenal fans perhaps gave Arsene Wenger the benefit of the doubt over the last few seasons, citing that financially we were a team that didn't have the resources of our rivals. However, now it's not about money, we've re-worked sponsorship deals, paid off some debt and Gazidis has publicly stated that Arsenal Football Club can now compete financially with the Manchester United's of the footballing world. So what does Wenger hide behind now? 

I have a hard time writing these words and calling out Wenger because of what he's done for our club over the past 20 years, but when is enough enough? At what point does a man realize that he's not getting the best out of himself and his players? It's becoming quite a sad state of affairs I'm afraid. Perhaps, if we get our hands on the FA Cup (clearly not a given at this point) he'll take a seat upstairs, overseeing the inner workings of the club and finish his coaching career on somewhat of a high. That would honestly be best case scenario at this point. I don't want to see Wenger in charge at Barcelona or Real Madrid. For all his recent failings, he's Arsenal through and through, more so than a large percentage of Arsenal fans that were either born after he took charge or jumped on board when we began our success under the Frenchman.

That Arsenal fan base that have been supporting this great club for less than 20 years haven't seen anything other than a Wenger-ran Arsenal, so to an extent they've been spoiled. Nine years without a trophy, in the big picture of Arsenal Football Club history is not devastating. But, I understand the frustration and can't help but feel it myself at the moment. 

We have the resources to bring in top quality players, and to compete financially with our top rivals. So when will we start to see the results? Everything is peachy when we're top of the league for three months, but I think we were all nervous about how thin our squad was and now it's starting to show. Not only that, but it's clear that Wenger is having a problem motivating his players and applying the appropriate tactics when we face top teams.

Our schedule in the Premier League is, on paper a relatively 'easy' run in to the end of the season, but our backs really are up against the wall if we are to secure Arsene Wenger's favorite "trophy" of fourth place. Perhaps too much focus was on the FA Cup, but without Champions League football it needed to be on both the FA and the Premiership.

Unfortunately this entire blog was about Wenger, instead of our performance, but I'd rather avoid ripping players apart for their lame attempts today. It seemed, for most of the game, as if we were running in molasses. An exhausted squad, clearly, but once again the blame must be placed firmly on Wenger's shoulders for not strengthening when it was blatantly obvious we needed squad depth. If we had got past Bayern by some magical force, I shudder to think how our squad would have coped in three competitions instead of two. 

So now the attention will be split between the FA Cup and Wenger's contract situation. Wigan next weekend in the semi-final, and a still un-signed contract sitting on Wenger's desk. As I said in a recent blog, if the boss is going to leave, how about a little notice so we can start looking for a replacement? Let's get our Arsenal back to winning ways, with or without Arsene Wenger.

Let's hope our trip to Wembley on Saturday and the chance at a cup final will spark a little bit more interest form the team than they showed at Everton. All credit goes to Martinez and his lads today, and all Arsenal will get over the next week is questions. Let's just hope we get some answers before Wigan.