After the game yesterday I felt angry for about four minutes. I was angry and upset about that performance and I was feeling a little ranty. But by five minutes after the game, I was back to myself and I got on with the rest of my day. I didn’t bother looking at Sky Sports to see what other matches were going on, I didn’t watch Match of the Day and today I certainly won’t be watching any football at all.
If you were to ask The Management about whether her husband was obsessed with football, I think she would give you an emphatic ‘yes’, but watching Arsenal at the moment is changing me. I am becoming apathetic towards Arsenal. I’m 34 years old. I started supporting Arsenal when I was seven. That’s 27 years of tears and joys. And hopefully I’ll have many more in the future. But right now, i feel numb about this Arsenal team, unable to muster the necessary anger to aim in the players and manager’s direction.
Perhaps that is a mirror of the players themselves. They aren’t performing and they aren’t performing because they don’t believe in Arsène Wenger any more. It’s like a parent who tells you not to go out and play football in your school uniform, but your mates have already started a match and you don’t want to miss five minutes getting changed, so you go out there and get muddy anyway in your school stuff. The players are hearing the words of the manager, but they’re just not listening, because they don’t believe him any more.
We all know this must be true, because Wenger spoke before the game about the importance of dealing with the aerial threat from set pieces, yet what we witnessed from the players was a complete dereliction of duty. They knew what West Brom would do, they just didn’t bother executing any kind of marking because quite frankly, they don’t believe in the manager.
Defensively it was a complete omnishambles. From Bellerin getting turned by McClean a few times, to Mustafi getting caught under the flight of the ball, to Ospina’s weak block on the second goal. All of the goals we conceded were so bad it looked like a team playing Sunday league football. It was disjointed and disorganised.
In the first half I thought the midfield three controlled possession, but in the second half we just fell apart all over the pitch. In midfield you have to defend, attack and dictate the rythmn of the game. Ramsey’s defending for goals one and three should have him watching corners from teams for a whole week with his head in a vice and his eyelids forced open by matchsticks.
Every time West Brom – mid-table West Brom with nothing to play for this season – went forward, I felt terrified, because they looked dangerous and up for it. But our players just sideways passed their way through the game.
But for all of our defensive horror stories, there was an offensive no show, as both Welbeck and Walcott did their best impressions of statues that I could see. There was a couple of occasions when Alexis jinked inside, looked up to spread the ball wide, and saw Theo just standing still. It was criminal. His game is based on runs in behind defenders, but if he’s not trying that, what is the point in him being on the pitch? I’m guessing Arsène went for mobility up top in not picking Giroud. Once again, one of his decisions based on tactics failed miserably, because Welbeck and Walcott gave absolutely no movement to the front three whatsoever. I know Lucas was ‘injured’ this week, but you wonder how he doesn’t get in to this team at the moment, because at least he will offer more drive than Walcott.
The manager and his staff are getting everything wrong at the moment. They are not preparing the players, they are picking the wrong players, they aren’t making any effective in-game changes. This is reaching a sh*t climax and the only way to change it is to change the structure at the club. That’s beyond Wenger. It has to be a whole new set up we need because he is presiding over a spiral that will see us out of this fabled top four he always craves, as well as out of the FA Cup at the semis.
The interlull is welcome. I can’t really be arsed with Arsenal right now.