It’s Monday morning, I’m sat on a Met Line train heading towards London in a three piece suit, and it’s muggy and uncomfortable as you like.
I’m tired. I feel bedraggled and already I feel like this day is going south.
Feels a bit like Arsenal at the moment, eh? We look a little bedraggled as a squad already. There are players who are looking knackered come the end of the game based on the two performances we’ve seen so far, and already we all feel like this season is going south.
I saw the news about Joel Campbell yesterday and, whilst I’ll admit he certainly surprised last season, I can’t say I’m too heartbroken. The guy worked hard, got us a few decent goals, but a) it was clear Wenger never truly fancied him, and b) he always looked technically limited to me anyway.
Joel Campbell kind of typifies where we’re at as a fanbase now though. There are some who can’t believe that he’s been shipped out, where as others like me, we’re not too fussed either way. Those who despair are, I think, doing so on the basis that he’s a body and Theo is a body and he contributed much more than Theo did last season. There’s also the whole ‘Theo’s paid a sh*t-tonnes of cash’ issue. But even as frustrating as Walcott is, even as maddening as he makes us, he is still a better player than Campbell. He still can offer more than Campbell. I’m not saying I want him front and centre of our team all season, but if you’re going to make a one-v-one comparison, Walcott can do what he did against Liverpool for the first goal. Campbell doesn’t. In my head – and feel free to chastise here – if that same scenario plays out again but with Campbell on the end of a ball from Iwobi, he checks back and looks for the pass. So I can kind of see why Wenger has chosen him over Campbell to stick around.
It does effectively mean the end of Campbell’s Arsenal career though. I can’t see him back in an Arsenal shirt now. He’ll get a season at Sporting and then I suspect he’ll earn a move somewhere else. Hey, good luck to the guy, because he always put in a shift for us.
As for Arsenal, well, I’d love to say that one has gone out so we’re sure to replace, but we all know that Campbell wasn’t even making the match day squad, so it’s hardly like Arsène will be forced in to making a move. And if this summer has taught us anything, it’s that it doesn’t even matter if we’re desperate, we still don’t want to, or have the negotiating skills for, doing the right business to make sure the squad is fully stocked and ready for the challenges ahead.
Do you know what the best thing about this week is though? It’s the last week of having to say “what if”.
What if we get somebody in this week? Could we still turn our season around?
What if Arsène does ‘the madness’ as everyone has been talking about?
What if we can just get through this Watford game and then see what our squad looks like?
Yes folks, just one more week of refreshing your browser to check for any transfer updates, then we can just focus on the football. In theory. The reality is that when that window has slammed shut and we just have Mustafi in on deadline day, we’ll all be looking in disbelief that despite promises and supposed action to the contrary (Vardy & Lacazette bids), we’ve yet again failed to land the attacking players we need. We’ve sat on our hands until the end of the transfer window, hoping that the footballing planets will align, to create the perfect syncronisation of a player joining Arsenal from one of the other clubs.
It’ll be toxic every time we go a goal down. It’ll be mutinous at the final whistle of every defeat or disappointing draw. And this will all be because as a fanbase we’ve been spun one too many yarns. From Arsène, from Ivan, from the official site.
No true Arsenal fan wants that. We just want to see the team win. We just want to believe in the squad. To me it’s not about signings, it’s about what happens on the pitch, but what we’ve been served for the first two games of the season, is a lukewarm bit of sloppy porridge that looks a little grey and lifeless.
If we’d have beaten Liverpool 4-0, then gone to Leicester and banged a couple of goals in, then I’d probably see if I can argue the case for giving the squad a go with what we have. I’d be talking up the need for the Ox to have a big season and staying fit. The same for Jack and Santi. I’d be hoping Theo can at least get in to double figures as a squad player. I’d be asking the question about whether the combinations of Xhaka and Özil might see us create more chances for the forward line.
But instead I, like our fanbase, am left wondering whether we’ve done what we always do and fail to sort ourselves out. And I’ll keep questioning that every time we drop points. Because who knows what impact <new player x> would have had? Nobody. Because the club hasn’t even looked like they’re sniffing in the right direction. We just seem to be sniffing round the bins at the back of a Tesco Metro hoping that an in-date Finest paella will expose itself for us to take home.
That’s me for one day I think. Feeling a little ranty and sometimes it’s better to just stop, say nothing at all and look forward.