Today is Friday and today is Arsène’s press conference, which starts at 9am and will probably be followed by a trip to Luton Airport, where the flight to Liverpool will take us to the City where some former glories have happened. But I don’t think that we will be seeing a repeat of what happened in 1989 this season. I just don’t think the team have the mental fortitude for it.
The press conference is usually something I’ll watch/listen to on a Friday evening as I prepare my dinner, but such is the deflation that I feel with Arsenal right now, that it does have me questioning why I should bother. After all, we’ll just get the same rhetoric from the manager, won’t we? It’ll be talk of preparing ourselves to ‘give all’ to try to win the league, to be fully focused and determined and an assurance that he won’t quit.
Of course he won’t quit. He’s never broken a managerial contract, so why change the habit now, even if we do end up with our usual fight for fourth?
I haven’t been checking the official site as much as I usually do. The last thing I wanted to see was somebody like Mertesacker, Arteta or Flamini talking about how we’ve ‘learned lessons’ from our recent poor form. We haven’t. We clearly don’t. However, when I checked this morning I saw that it was Mesut talking to the cameras. It’s funny, right now, he’s the only guy I would read comments from in the team at the moment. He’s so far a cut above the rest, if our dire form continues this season it will feel like the final season in which That Dutch Bloke left the club. Sure we hate him now, but during that season he was a shining light of goalscorery goodness. It was patently clear that he was a couple of levels above the rest of the team and that’s what it feels like with Özil now. He’s the only one who’s words can soothe me right now. I don’t even care if this feels like an Özil love-in, because he is that good, every time he steps on the pitch. Even when people say he hasn’t had a good game, like Steve Mcmanaman suggested in midweek, you can just tell his class by the way he moves. The way he glides across the surface, the spaces he finds, the players he can pick out; if you’re watching closely enough even when he is having a bad game he still just looks another level from everyone else.
If we fall apart on Saturday lunchtime, it won’t be because he hasn’t performed, that’s for sure.
If you’re reading this after 9am then Le Boss’ press conference has already started or finished, so you can make a better judgement on what you think he’ll do tomorrow, but I hope he has some sort of Churchillian speech for the players. Because unless we see some fire in the play then it will be hard to believe they really want to compete in this league. Remember when Beckham had that game against Greece in 2001 to see us get to the World Cup? That is the kind of display we want to see. Players running their arses off, fighting for every ball with the same desperation that we had for the last 15 minutes of last Sunday’s game. Only from the start. Everton will be massively up for this game and I expect they’ll want to put us to bed given our shocking form and confidence, so the players simply have to show the right level of determination.
It’s not just about that though. As Tim Stillman pointed out in his Arseblog column yesterday, there has to be a style and approach to the game that clicks, with the players needing to work within whatever system we currently have cobbled together. At the moment our square pegs seem to be so mis-matched for the round holes, that it doesn’t seem worth even trying to smash a mallet on them. We don’t seem to have a plan. To quote Phoebe from Friends, we don’t even seem to have a ‘pleh’.
There’s only one way to reverse my current malaise with the club and that’s the most simple formula of all. Win football matches. The confidence is low in everyone, we’re not looking like a team anywhere close to clicking and nobody seems to know what type of game we’re trying to adopt, but if there’s some way in which we can bundle over the line having won at Goodison, at least that will keep the dream alive – albeit only a flicker – for another week. Or at least until Leicester beat Palace later on that day.
I suspect that’s all you can stomach from me for one day, so I’ll take my leave, which you and yours a good one and catch you all tomorrow.