Been thinking about change today. Change at Arsenal and when the inevitable change of manager comes. Many of us are hoping for the end of the season, some of us are suspecting that Arsène will cling on until the end of his current contract, but I’m sure few are thinking that change will be any longer than that.
I used to fear change of manager. Not in recent years, obviously, but about five or six years ago, it gave me enough cause for fear that I preferred to keep what we had, rather than roll the dice. It started to wane a bit but when the Moyes situation unfolded at United the fear returned and I suspect that is where the ‘be careful what you wish for’ narrative began to creep through the internet. The thought was that Arsène wouldn’t be a man to leave an Arsenal team in such a state and with a manager who clearly isn’t big enough to deal with a club of Arsenal’s size. But fast forward to today and you realise that perhaps he is. In fact, it’s probably worse because we’ve effectively walked into a similar situation that Moyes oversaw at United. The players there simply weren’t good enough and Moyes couldn’t squeeze any more out of the empty packet because Ferguson had.
That’s where we’re at now. Arsène is overseeing a team in which we have players that probably aren’t good enough to be at the club. But he doesn’t have the self imposed ‘austerity era’ that we had from 2006. Simply put, Arsène has no mitigating factors he can point towards to explain this decline.
And as a result we all want change. But beyond that I think we’re all ready for change and, despite the current plight of the team and how uncomfortable it is watching Arsenal right now, I do feel a slight sense of liberation because I know I don’t fear the unknown any more. I don’t fear a life without Wenger. I don’t worry about being careful what I wished for. Some of the players in our football team aren’t good enough, but some really are, and teams with players like Aubameyang, Özil, Ramsey, Wilshere and Monreal don’t plum the depths of the Premier League.
It just doesn’t happen. So in terms of being ‘careful what I wish for’ I would say that actually I have already been given that ‘grass isn’t always greener’ outlook. We’ve already been shown what life is like on this side of the meadow and it’s starting to all look a little mossy. We have no means of treating it and hoping that the moss and weeds just decide to retreat is folly. It is time we skipped over to the other field and played a game or two on the lush grass.
How much worse could it get? Well, we could have already been knocked out of the League Cup by Norwich, had Eddie’s late heroics not salvaged a cup run for us. Or we could finish so far down the league last season that we’re not even in European competition at all. Now we’ve got the chance to win the Europa I of course want us to win it, but had we not been in the competition would it have scarred me that much? I’m not sure. So far the only moderately entertaining match up has been the Köln home game but as their domestic form shows they are hardly a giant of European football. Should we navigate Östersund FK then we might well get a decent opponent in the quarter finals, but we’ll be talking by March that we finally see a big European game for The Arsenal.
Is that what we must be careful what we wish for? For waiting until the season is three quarters done before we get a big European night?
That doesn’t really sound to me like we’d all be massively missing out.
My point is that generally speaking, it already feels like we got what we were supposed to be careful wishing for, so now that we’re in this situation why not roll the dice? Other teams have done it and whilst some have failed, others have succeeded, and I do understand about the apprehension about the board being cowardice and unable to pick a proper man being why we still have Wenger, but it does look like we’ve got some people in the infrastructure who are real football people and who will have an input into who the next coach should be.
Perhaps six months ago the argument that our board couldn’t find a world class boss if he was sitting on the steps of Highbury House and gift wrapped with a big bow on carried some weight, but I just wonder if the movements in developing the football infrastructure with Mislintat and Sanelli in place, at least give us a decent chance through their football connections.
So ultimately what I’m saying is yes, we need to roll the dice but more than that I am saying 100%, I’m not afraid of it any more.
Catch you all tomorrow.