Happy Easter Saturday. I spent my Good Friday playing Monopoly with no beer, rum or wine, so I am certainly ready for a little tipple later. And on Sunday. And most definitely on Monday, the day in which Arsenal are at Middlesbrough, who everyone is saying won’t give us any problems on their own patch. What I would like to say to those people is:
Have you actually been watching Arsenal lately?
Arsène did his pre match presser as usual and as usual the only real interesting thing about what he had to say was in the form of the team news. We have Koscielny back in to the beleaguered defence and at least that will strengthen us on paper. He’s been as poor as the rest of them of late so I’m not going to hold out too much hope that one player will make all the difference to our woes. But he is our best defender and hopefully whilst he’s been out he’s been able to recharge himself and we see the Kos that we all know and love.
Cech is also back, although his form has hardly been that of somebody who is saving us our 12 to 15 points a season, although I still think he’ll return instead of Emi Martinez. Because that’s what Arsène does – hierarchies. It’s why we’ll still see Theo start even though he hasn’t deserved a starting place since November. It’s why Nacho will be given the nod despite the fact he was turned more times than a pancake last Monday. It’s why Özil will be given the nod despite having one of the worst games I’ve seen him play in an Arsenal shirt last week. Because Arsène doesn’t put them under pressure for their place and they have no real urgency or drive to retain it.
Anyway, Arsène was asked the usual stuff about his contract and his relationship between the owner and the board. He said it was the same as it’s always been and then confirmed that there’s no news on his contract. So we have another week of waiting, having been told that we’ll know ‘soon’, which clearly means ‘the end of the season’. But when that comes, I just hope it’s relief and not dismay that we’re all feeling. One things for sure, there’ll be plenty of availability from season ticket holders who will rent out theirs next season if he’s still around, I’ve already heard half a dozen people talking about it that I know. I hope it doesn’t come to that though. Let’s hope the club do realise the sentiment of most of us now and end this. I can’t say with dignity because nothing of what is happening at the moment is dignified – from anyone – fans, manager, players, board, etc. There is no graceful exit happening here like it did with Pellegrini at City last season. This is becoming an acrimonious divorce. Or at least we hope so.
It was interesting that no sooner had the Alexis rumours of a megabucks deal – which I think was just media briefing and a new spin on a ‘war chest’ story – than we had more noises that Arsène had told Alexis’ camp that he didn’t want a player on that kind of money destabilising the camp. Jeez…like the camp isn’t already as destabilised and creaking as it is. We’re like the Jenga tower after somebodies wonky hand had a go at the base – all over the place. If Arsenal truly want to make him stay they have to make him the leagues highest paid player because quite frankly, he’s too good to be playing in a team that is most likely to finish sixth or seventh. So if you’re in his shoes you stay for megabucks, because trophies look unlikely at the moment. That’s the reality we have to face. We might have scoffed at the megabucks that United had to spent in the post Fergie era, but the reality is that our team are in a similar position, perhaps. Or perhaps we just need a new man to get the best out of a smaller collective of them. Alexis would be one you’d put on that list so keeping him means chucking extra cash his way. Especially if Arsène remains in charge, because if he does, there is no new ‘project’ for him to get excited about. There no new ‘exciting times’ for the next two years so the only motivator to stay at Arsenal would be to line his pockets.
Anyway enough about money. It’s a horrible part but of the game and has far too much influence. It has turned a game in which I used to get so excited about in the 90s – even when we weren’t winning trophies I might add – in to this horrible juggernaught that acts so much bigger than everyone and everything else.
Right, I’m off to ignore that football exists for another day, so make sure you have a good one. The great thing about a couple of weekends without football is that it’s given me the pleasure of not having to have it ruin my weekends. So I can spend more time with the family and realise there are more important things.
Laters peeps. Y’all be good now!