I know for the last few days I’ve been talking about wanting change and the predictability of Arsenal’s latest season petering out, but I feel like I’ve noticed something that’s a little different from the press, which is the increased volume of ‘who replaces Wenger?’ articles that appear to be swilling around. I don’t know whether that’s an indication on the changing of fan sentiment, but I must have read at least four or five different variations, all with similar tone about them.
It’s the same with ex-footballers. Yesterday, of all people, I saw William Gallas wheeled out to suggest its time for a change. I mean, William-Frigging-Gallas. The king of on-pitch tantrums himself. The guy who didn’t exactly leave Arsenal fans with a litany of great memories after four years at the club and a fella who has hardly been short of an opinion. Brought out to talk about Arsène. That was after Sol said there were no leaders in the team. And hey, I agree with both to an extent, but I just find it a little odd that these people are all so quick to appear after Arsenal have essentially folded on their title hopes.
Out of the woodwork all the ex-players come. It’s almost as if they want somebody to listen to them or something.
Perhaps it’s as standard an operating procedure for various assorted media to have some Arsenal players and people formerly linked to the club in some way, on standby from January, ready to be contacted for a soundbite as soon as the penny drops and the world realises once again that Arsenal will fall short after Christmas? After all, you hardly have to be Nostradamus to make that kind of assumption. We’ve been doing it for years.
What we haven’t had is current players questioning the team selection before, certainly not in the press. But whilst there is potentially something that is true about what Kos said, I can’t think that he’s intended to say what he’s said in the way it’s been said. I suspect the meaning of his comments are a little bit lost in translation. Koscielny is a player who has always been a little more quiet than others in the press, he is an Arsène Wenger man through and through and I can’t see him rounding on the manager at all if I’m honest, especially in public.
No doubt the Arsenal boss will have had a few words with him to work out what he means and although I suspect Arsène will be asked about it when he does his press conference this week ahead of the visit to Hull, I expect him to bat it away and sweep it under the carpet quicker than you can say ‘mental strength’.
I think it’ll be a fiery presser though. After all of the talking of this week, I don’t think there’ll be a journo present who’s organisation hasn’t made suggestions on who should replace him, whether his time is up, etc, etc. So I suspect it might be a frosty one this week.
Changing the subject away from the manager though, at least the official site had something nice to sink our teeth in to yesterday, as Lucas Perez talked about playing in a competition he’d always dreamed about. What’s funny about the story – well, funny to me as an English person – was how I read the headline and wondered if he was talking about the FA Cup!
I think that mindset I had, even thinking about it like that, just shows how differently we think over here in this country. There’s a touch of arrogance in our thinking. My mind immediately thought to the FA Cup not because I see it valued higher than the Champions League, but rather because I’ve been conditioned to think of it as such a massive competition through the constant media stories. You read about English player after player talking about their dream to play in the FA Cup, but for someone like Lucas Perez, it’s a competition that has a lot of history, but it pales in comparison to the Champions League. That is his dream and the same is the dream for every player.
Which I guess is why our team is so adept at getting in to it. Whilst you and I are licking our wounds because mentally the team doesn’t seem to have the drive to go that next step in the league, what you can’t say about Arsenal players is that they don’t avoid the fear of not getting in to the Champions League. Which is why it kicks in as soon as our season is over from a league title perspective, as we kick in to gear and get our results moving.
Of course it could be all so different this season. We’re not guaranteed to finish in the top four and the competition this season suggests we could certainly miss out. But much like those journalists who can probably say that Arsenal are bankers to fold after Christmas for the league, those same people will tell us that we’re probably most likely to finish fourth.
Should we be pleased about that? Of course not. But it is who we are and it is what we do.
Anyway, I’m rambling, so I’ll stop. It’s all a bit incoherent at the moment. Probably because my mind has been beaten in to acceptance. So I’ll take my leave for another day.