Morning all. It’s not a great one if you’re a gooner.
I’ve tried not to be too melodramatic with the title of today’s blog, but I fear I might have failed, so apologies if what you read on from now seems very despondent. But the problem is, I am very despondent after last nights 1-3 defeat at home to Bayern Munich.
Firstly, the congratulations to Bayern. They were an accomplished and efficient attacking unit with a solid defence that, other than a lapse of concentration on our goal, looked like they had all the confidence in the world. They pressed Arsenal all of the park and had quality throughout the team. They fully deserved their victory.
Now, on to Arsenal, time to dissect this team unfortunately. We simply aren’t good enough to win this competition. If we’re all frank with ourselves, we never have been. We had hope – sure – but it was never really anything else and now to all intents and purposes our time in this competition is over. Sometimes in football, miracles happen, but that rarely seems to occur at Arsenal. Unless we’re dishing out lifelines to other teams.
Yesterday I saw a top eight team from the English Premier League get dealt a hammer blow by the best of Germany. But what was more irksome than anything was the way in which we conceded goals two and three – both of which were entirely avoidable. Szczesny has been superb for us over the last couple of weeks, but he showed that he still has mistakes in his game when he parried a ball into the grateful Muller’s path who stabbed home from two yards. For the second, Lahm put in a good cross but Mertesacker made a hash of dealing with the ball and Sagna was nowhere to be seen as Mandzukic scrambled the ball in. It was vintage calamity Arsenal.
Nothing really went right for the team yesterday. Even Jack was having an off day. Some of the performances from individuals left a lot to be desired and I am now coming to the realisation that there is no way Theo Walcott can play as a striker in our current formation. It simply didn’t work yesterday and he found himself isolated and absent in the first half.
It was a sad thing for me to watch Bayern yesterday and think ‘we used to be like them. We used to confidently pop the ball around and play teams off the park on Champions League nights like this’. It was a stark reminder of how far we have fallen from the top footballing table. We simply don’t have the players to eat there any more. We have sold family china after family china and now that we’re eating from Tuppaware plates we still want to be invited to sit with the elite. In sorry Arsenal, but that just doesn’t happen. You need to have the quality silver in you’re cupboards to done with the finest. Plastic knives and forks may fool the local people, but on a world stage you’ll get nowhere.
There are people that have said they want us to lose this tie because it will force the board to act and possibly sack Arsene. There are other people who have said that us going out would force Arsene into the transfer market in the summer. But I don’t care about any of that. I don’t care about signings. I don’t care who takes to the field for Arsenal. As long as they win. As long as they show passion, desire and a will to win. Right now, from this current crop of players and the management team, I’m just not seeing it. And I don’t think we’ve seen it for a while.
I hope nobody that professes to support Arsenal is taking pleasure in defeat this morning. I hope everyone is hurting as much as me. Because I don’t want to see Arsene like this and I don’t want to see Arsenal like this. The man has done so much for Arsenal. He has bought us so much success and overseen an essential transition period in the clubs history. But unfortunately he just doesn’t look like he has all of the answers any more. At times he had the air of a man that doesn’t have any answers at all. And that is heartbreaking to see from a fan like me. His faith in his players isn’t being rewarded and he has failed to act on that by augmenting the existing playing staff to the detriment of the team and possibly our hopes of Champions League football next year.
The Emirates has a resigned feeling to it. A feeling that the end is near. An end of an era: Arsene’s era. I always knew Arsene would one day leave the club, but if you’d have told me that it would most likely Peter out like his reign is doing at the moment, I’d have called you mad. And if you’d have told me that an increasing number of fans would be happy with his exit, I’d have called you doubly mad.
I am clinging on to the hope that there is fight in the old dog. That Arsene and this Arsenal team comes out swinging and give us a swashbuckling end to the season that sees us secure Champions League football for next year and look to reassess the squad capability in the summer. But given all that has come before us this season so far, I am skeptical that we will see that. All I can see right now is a fizzling out to the season that results in the clearest indication that this is the poorest squad under Arsene’s reign: fifth place finish and an eighth year without a trophy.
Sorry guys, I’m sure I’ve depressed you all by now – assuming you’ve read this far – but today is a dark and low day for Arsene’s Arsenal. It’s probably compounded by the lifeless display against Blackburn at the weekend, but the fact still remains that we’ve effectively been knocked out of two competitions in less than a week. It simply isn’t good enough from The Arsenal.
That’ll do for me today. Try to have a good one people.