I find it very interesting how the narrative from Arsène and some of the players, like Petr Cech, are finding time to talk up the brilliance of Man City.
Don’t get me wrong, they are clearly a cut above the rest, they clearly will win the league and clearly, we are nowhere on their level. But in talking up their own superiority we are also dumbing down our ineptitude at the moment. Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelski and United can lose to City, but they don’t fall apart at home like we did.
So I think there’s a bit of deflection going on by the manager and players at the moment. It’s an attempt at not admitting publicly just how bad things are at the moment but at least it appears behind closed doors there is real concern.
That is unless that leaked info to the press is just what they want us to believe. I think it must be the case though. Why would you want to be in a situation like the club are in at the moment? Why would you not want to change things for the club for the better?
But the fact that the players now appear to be looking at the coaching staff speaks absolutely volumes in my mind. Time is up for the main man and perhaps for his coaches too. The players no longer believe in the methods. That much is clear.
What is also clear is that almost to a man, all of the media seem to also have been talking up the need for Wenger to go now. There are the click baiters who have wanted it for some time and have talked up the demise of the managers, but even the more conservative of journalists are saying that there is a need for change. The noises have become universal. This isn’t angry, raging, Arsenal fans on social media any more. This is mainstream and almost unanimous.
And as somebody pointed out on my Twitter feed yesterday, whilst Arsene probably doesn’t read a single written word on social media, I bet he is under no illusions when it comes to the written media and the journalists. He’ll be well aware by now of the volume of calls for him to move on and the suggestions will be very clear and very present to him.
And here’s the thing folks. Here’s where we learn about the man. I am in no doubt he is a man who loves Arsenal. I am in no doubt that he is intelligent, articulate, has achieved great things and when gone will be referred to as a legend when time has past and I do think he is a man of great integrity. But he has always maintained that if he feels that he is no longer wanted, or can no longer deliver to Arsenal, then he would move on. You don’t have to Google too hard to find quotes from him saying as much.
We’re now at the stage where it is fairly obvious his methods aren’t working. The empty stadium for a category A game showed that the fans are not with him and you only have to hear the noises from Josh Kroenke, the back room appointments this season, to see that the club is taking away power from Arsene. Everything is moving in a direction towards life with out Arsene Wenger and all that has really happened is that this all seems to have been accelerated. Now we find out if Arsene is a man true to his words. If he is a man with the cognisance to be able to admit that he needs to step away now that the time is right.
Or we find out if whilst he speaks about loyalty on his side to the 21 years he’s been at the club, what we actually see has happened is a man with so much reliance on being the Arsenal manager, that he simply cannot be prized away. Within the next three to four months we will know if Arsene’s historical comments of stepping away if he no longer felt he adds value to the club are true. Or we find out if these comments have been as hollow in gesture as the last two performances have been in confidence in the team.
I am still retaining an element of faith in Arsene. I am hoping that he is leading the plans to make an exit and I am praying that within the next few weeks – certainly if Milan dump us out – we see an announcement and a period of celebration of a man who has given us so much, towards the end of the season. That’s my real hope and I’m so, so desperate to see both a light at the end of the tunnel for us, but also a period of realisation that he has been such a great servant to the club.
I’ve even spoken to staunch ‘Wenger Out’ Arsenal fans that they’ve not even been going this season and even those who have cursed the mans name at times, have said they would return to thank him and see him off if we knew it was the end. To me that shows that even the angriest of fans can be united and I hope that it’s what we can see. Soon.
We’re in a holding pattern now.
More tomorrow by way of a pre-match build up.