It’s that time of the year where football fans start to become mathematicians, as they try to calculate the various permutations that could befall their football team.
How many points to be assured of safety?
How many points to get in to the playoff places?
How close are we to the Europa League spots?
What happens if this team wins the FA Cup?
And so on and so fourth. From an Arsenal fan perspective though, our ‘permutations’ leave nothing but a bad taste in the mouth and all of them basically lead to a place we don’t want to be.
Finishing seventh still gets us in the Europa League, but it means cancelling a big chunk of the pre season friendlies and means by the time you get to November you’re probably going to be looking at an Arsenal team that have played 948 matches.
If Arsène is still at the club then – and I’m becoming more and more resigned to the fact that might happen given there’s nobody who will pull the trigger on him this summer – then it means more excuses and more phrases like ‘fatigue’ and tired. Only this time that’ll happen from before Christmas instead of afterwards.
How far we have fallen, eh? We’re scrambling around for Europa League qualification. I think I wrote about a similar topic a few months ago, but we’ve basically swapped places with Liverpool and the worst thing about that is that we all know how that set them back for about four to five years before they found where they are now.
But what’s more frustrating above all is that we know that they at least tried to change the way the team is coached. As we slowly drag our way towards the end of this wretched season, I’m becoming more and more resigned to our fate of another season in stasis under Arsène.
Another season of a structurally inadequate team.
Another season of players playing in positions that are baffling to the outside world.
Another season of steady decline.
Another season of excuses.
Another season of home fans mocking us with “Arsène Wenger, we want you to stay”.
That last point is the most galling of all. Our consistency of manager has become a wisecrack for opponents of Arsenal. It’s become a hilarious stick with which to poke at Arsenal fans because they know that nobody wants him to stay in our fan base. Not that I speak to anyway. It doesn’t matter what he wins come the end of the summer. We are festering right now and whilst we’ve tried for a few year’s to change the playing staff around, there’s only one other change that we haven’t tried, which is the coaching set up.
And that’s more important to me than anything else when it comes to stressing the desire for Arsène to leave; it’s the team structure and his whole ‘team’ that needs to be freshened up as well as him. I hold no major anger at the man. Sure, he angers and frustrates me with his decision making at times and at the weekend that team he picked was just a bit weird, but he loves Arsenal and for that reason, it’s impossible for me to use words as strong as ‘hate’.
How can you ‘hate’ anyone who hasn’t delivered you or your family any personal grievance directly? Arsène has only ever wanted the best for the club but the ignorance that was once such a strong attribute in driving him to success, has been replaced by an ignorance of not being able to see what he is overseeing.
Every other top club in the same position as us sacks it’s manager after a season we’ve had. We’re in to Brendan Rodgers, David Moyes, Andre Villas-Boas territory here. Yet we all know the inability of our board may yet result in the manager keeping his job for another year. That is simply unthinkable anywhere else in the English game.
And so we look towards these permutations as the only thing that may make the end of this season watchable. If only to find out if we have to come back to the Emirates earlier this summer and use up an additional cup credit.