They say it’s always darkest before dawn. Well, as Arsenal fans this morning, we’d love to know just how much more darker it’s going to get, because quite frankly it’s pretty bleak at the moment.
Bleak. That sounds like a haven right now. A Mecca. A dream in which there appears to be a modicum of hope. Where we are right now, hope has vanished as quickly as our ability to retain a decent shape in defence. Lord knows how much the bookies odds will spiral with The Arsenal playing like this. The way this Arsenal team is playing right now, 100-1 to win the title sounds like a pound lost if you put it on this team of bottlers.
I feel sad (if you couldn’t tell!). But it’s a sadness which is being born from apathy. Arsenal aren’t a team that excite me any more. Going to the games is about reminiscing over times past. Much like I’d imagine Liverpool or Nottingham Forest fans feel (they won a European Cup don’t you know!). It’s not about the now, for that is fraught with disappointment and resignation, which feels all too familiar. It’s about the future of the club too. Because it feels like we’re stagnating. We have a familiar feeling of a failing team of individuals so woefully out of form that you wonder whether they’re in a title race at all. History repeating itself for the umpteenth time it seems.
I haven’t even gone in to the nuances of the game. Do you need to read it? You know the script. It’s been written so often it’s become clichéd. Arsenal dominate, create chances, fail to take said chances and concede two goals to a team who have had two shots in the entire game.
Embarrassment and fury ensues amongst Arsenal fans. Some fight amongst each other. Some just shrug. They know that the story has been played out enough times. A team who should be lowering their way to glory will soon be in a battle for fourth and a potential cup run. At this rate however, that run will float away as quickly as a dandelions seeds, but those seeds will probably never grow. They’ll probably just smash in to a concrete wall and die away.
Shall we talk about specifics? How about the injury to Cech which means Ospina plays at the weekend. Or how about the injury to Koscielny that will see the calamity that is Gabriel and Mertesacker paired together. Harry Kane, Delli Alli et al must be laughing their little cottons off. They’ll have a field day on Saturday. It’ll be like watching a family member being placed in front of the emperor in the colosseum for the annual games. A brutal bloodbath.
But then to the Emperor himself. The grand high inquisitor himself. Arsène Wenger. The man who has overseen this car crash. The man who has held on to the reins for so long, it looks like somebody will have to prize them from his cold, hard, lifeless fingers. He is overseeing the crumbling of his empire and we are all the witnesses to the downfall.
I phoned my brother after the game. He just said ‘wow’. He’s a West Ham fan. Because of me he holds a soft spot fo Arsenal and he would love them to win the league. But even he’s saying “so, we’re putting all of our eggs in the Leicester basket now, right?”. Sports Betting Dime is giving Leicester 3/1 odds to win the title currently, so we will see.
Of course he’s right. He’s right because there is a person in charge at Arsenal who I no longer feel will ever win the league. He doesn’t have it in him. And when you hear post match conferences like this, you see why.
Arsenal Football Club is broken. It’s broken and the man who is charged with fixing it has ignored all of the calls for new tools and devices to improve it. He’s put his trust in tools because they have some sentimental value to him, despite being largely redundant. As a result, his influence is redundant. His ability to manage a team to the pinnacle of their potential is redundant. His relevance in the modern game is redundant.
I don’t want it to be this way. I don’t want to see him on his knees like this. It’s like a family dog that has so many afflictions that it suffers out of self preservation. But in reality, you know that despite the pain, you need to put it out of its misery. It won’t hold a gun to its own head. You need to do it for it.
That needs to happen now. I don’t have faith that the person managing Arsenal football club, the person I once hoped would stay forever, is capable of taking Arsenal to the next level. He is a relic of a time which no longer exists. We have stagnated and he has presided over this.
I hate saying all of these things. I hate that I even think them. But when you have an eminantly winnable league slapping you square in the face and you still don’t grab it with both hands? That is unforgivable I’m afraid.
Yesterday evening after the game I put the lyrics from the Andrea Bocelli song ‘Time to say goodbye’. In more ways than one – title and the manager – it feels sadly fitting today:
When I’m alone I dream of the horizon and words fail me.
There is no light in a room where there is no sun
and there is no sun if you’re not here with me, with me.
From every window unfurls my heart the heart that you have won.
Into me you’ve poured the light,
the light that you found by the side of the road.
Time to say goodbye.
Places that I’ve never seen or experienced with you.
Now I shall, I’ll sail with you upon ships across the seas,
seas that exist no more,
it’s time to say goodbye.