Morning Gooners and welcome to Monday. It’s all very well having a laugh and a joke at the Tiny Totts’ expense yesterday, as I’m sure we all did as their ‘title challenge’ is starting to fade away, but with United winning and drawing level with us on points with their De Gea inspired victory, it just goes to show how quickly things can change in football and also just how out of form we presently are.
But it seems to be isolated to away performances, as I mentioned yesterday when referencing the fact we’ve only picked up a couple of points in our last four or five away days. The worry for everyone, I think, is that we’d hoped for something very different from last seasons malaise under Arsène Wenger and what I think our recent form has shown is that Unai Emery hasn’t waved a magic wand and had the instant impact that we were all really hoping for.
I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I hoped he would at least have us around the top four spot and possibly better. I know were only six points away from Chelski but right now it feels like the top four is miles away because of the way we are playing away from home. And that is what it felt like last season. At home we had a very good record, but we dropped points after points away and it saw a pretty dire slump in which Arsène rightly paid the price in the end.
I don’t think the same fate should – or will – befall Emery, but I do think that we’re heading in the same direction i.e. sixth, maybe a cup run, but that’s about it. And if that is what happens to us this season, then I guess we have to accept it, but what will give me more optimism for the new season is if Emery can demonstrate a better understanding of the type of team we are and the style we have. And perhaps he needs to go back to what was working in September, October and November? Perhaps we need to move back to the four at the back and acknowledge that the team is no more defensively sound with an extra defender wedged in to the middle? At least that way we get an additional creative player added in to the mix and after witnessing that appalling performance on Saturday lunchtime, it kind of feels like an obvious move.
Another obvious move is to buy/loan players who will play his way in the formation he wants, but it doesn’t really sound like it’s happening this January and we find ourselves in desperate need for an injection of something in to what feels like an ailing team, without any real hope that there is anything special on the horizon.
Welcome to the world of Stan Kroenke. An owner who will not invest and will look at the fact his input and investment has basically doubled and he doesn’t have to realistically do anything to maintain its market value other than ensure that we don’t get relegated out of the Premier League. He doesn’t need us to be competitive. He doesn’t need us to be in Europe and as Arseblog mentioned a couple of weeks back in relation to an email they’d seen circulating the club all he needs to do if there’s a little less money coming in is squeeze what we do operationally a bit more. “Let’s make this club as lean as possible” will be the mantra at Arsenal until we’re basically on our knees. There’s enough money in the Premier League for him to be happy with mid table mediocrity and this is what we’ll be moving towards if you have a manager not backed.
Of course I could be wrong. I am so often when it comes to The Arsenal! We could just be in a difficult period in our history brought on by the previous regime, but it does feel like this is the way of the Arsenal world under Kroenke and we’ve seen steady decline in our competitiveness ever since he took over. Sure, there have been some highs, some trophy wins that will live long in my – and I’m sure your – memory. But competing at the top table for the top trophies has not been something we’ve ever been capable of whilst he’s been the man man in charge. Under his stewardship we have regressed.
Because he doesn’t care. Not about anything other than money that is. Simple as that.
So we remain in stasis, hoping that a few of his employees at the club can do the improbable against other teams who have invested heavily to try and dine at the top table, whilst doing it with far fewer resources than others made available to them.
It’s not fun at the moment. Football rarely is when your team isn’t winning consistently.
Catch you guys tomorrow.