When The Management walked into the lounge yesterday at around 4pm and asked “how did they get on?” In reference to Arsenal’s dismal 2-1 defeat away to Brighton, I think she was a little taken aback by my nonchalant “they lost. Meh. Do you fancy watching Blade Runner?” response.
Her response pretty much summed it all up:
“Wow. You really don’t care any more do you?”
I certainly must care because I wouldn’t still be writing this blog if I didn’t, but the love for this current team and certainly the man leading it, has almost entirely been extinguished. This is an Arsenal team that has downed tools and yesterday’s limp performance was just another example of that.
To top all of that off Arsène’s frankly bizarre comments about getting dressed as a metaphor for building the teams confidence just felt odd and like the ramblings of the town drunk. His little metaphors and comments used to draw smiles, now they just draw confused faces and gifs of people kind of just shrugging their shoulders.
He says he’s the man to lead the team out of this current slump. He is the only one on the planet that must think that right now.
But let’s take this back to the match itself and start with that first half, a half in which Arsenal were horrendous from back to front. Quite literally in fact. Even the last line of the defence, our ‘keeper, is now looking like he’s lost his marbles. Yesterday Petr Cech had a shocker. His wandering for the first Brighton goal was ill advised, but even on the second goal he just let a head down into his body squeeze underneath him.
That second goal though, bloody hell, that was the stuff of nightmares. And as per usual with Arsenal at the moment, it was entirely of our own making. Koscielny’s shocking pass out, allowing Gross to put the ball in,, Mustafi giving Murray time, then Cech going down in instalments. It was the type of stuff you see from teams in a relegation dogfight and perhaps it’s no surprise to see the stats about being closer to the bottom than the top.
That first half was an utter disgrace yesterday and every single player went missing from their posts. Chambers I’m at right back was done almost every two minutes, Wilshere and Xhaka were being out-ran in midfield. Mkhitaryan has slotted in perfectly to this Arsenal team because he looks as broken as those players who have been at the club for years.
Auba got a goal which will do him some good, but he was afforded little else and on the other side of the three there was Alex Iwobi. Somebody needs to explain to me how this kid keeps getting picked because he had yet another shocker comprising of mishit passes, holding on to the ball too long and being dispossessed, running down blind alleys and generally offering nothing in a team that is crumbling apart.
Behind those three sat a Mesut Özil who floated around and offered little. There was a stinging shot in the second half but that was pretty much the sum total of our talisman’s contribution yesterday. He looked as forlorn as he’s ever looked; petulantly kicking a ball into an advertising hoarding, arguing with the ref when the ball wasn’t inside the corner lines in the second half and the fact that I can’t recall what else he did pretty much sums up just how appalling he was.
The second half felt just as bad as the first half to me, but not for the same reasons, because Arsenal controlled more of the football and Brighton fell off. They allowed us to have it because our possession these days is sterile. Our speed of passing was just completely laboured and there is clearly no belief left in this Arsenal side.
The players are done for this season. They care, but there is something psychological going on in their minds which is stopping them from performing not just like a top side, but an average Premier League side.
And once again you have to look at the manager who is presiding over this farce. They don’t believe in him or his coaching staff. Any faith has long since evaporated and that was clearly evident.
Change must happen and the sooner we can get this done and dusted the better. Manchester United waited until 22nd April, when there were no more trophies to be won and the season was petering out. If we get knocked out to Milan – which is more than likely – then come 15th March that will be the time to pull the trigger. There will be nothing left and we can just focus on the complete reboot that is needed at the club.
If Arsène himself can’t see it – or is too stubborn and too entrenched in his role though – somebody above him has to wield the axe. That is where the biggest worry comes from. We have a board who do nothing. We have a CEO who is beholden to the wishes of the manager and an owner that pops along twice a season to see if his asset is still there. He cares nothing for the evolution of the football club, just the ticking over of the balance sheet.
From his ranch in the US he won’t be worried about this current situation. He’d keep Arsène in post for as long as he could. The rest of us are powerless.
Somebody needs to act though. Somebody needs to pull the trigger and end this miserable period in the club’s history.
Catch you all tomorrow.