It’s Monday and the Arsenal are now – as we expected – six points off a top four place and looking nowhere near close enough to challenging for Champions League football for next season. Leicester showed just how average Palace are and we find ourselves this morning looking at yet more speculation as yesterday there were some mumblings about Xhaka leaving in January and Mourinho being an option for Arsenal if they offload the hapless Emery soon.
I still can’t get my head around just how quickly this Arsenal Team has spiralled into the mess we are now. The Xhaka situation was ugly and unsavoury but offloading in January? Given our pretty poor record in January sales and also the fact that Raul has already admired he’s not a fan, I can’t see how this would be a good thing, but it saddens me even more because we’ve got a captain who clearly has issues with some of his home fans. The result is that he is possibly going to be offloaded. It all leaves a bad taste.
But not as bad as the taste that a Mourinho arrival would provide. And that would be bad. He’s a divisive character who also – from what we saw at Man United – feels like he’s ‘yesterday’s man’. It feels like his approach and style is that of managers ten years ago and the way that he’d set up our football team if he were in charge, well, that would feel even worse. I haven’t even mentioned his character yet.
He’s an odious man. An eye-gouging, fight-picking, irritant. Nothing good would come out of his appointment and I’ve already seen a few people talking about “would you rather keep Emery or have Mourinho” on social media, like it’s some kind of binary decision that has to be made, which of course is absurd. Life doesn’t work like that and football doesn’t work like that.
If / when Unai Emery is thrown to the proverbial wolves, then the Arsenal team responsible for getting a new man in will need to take time and search for that new man. They will need to scour Europe to find the right fit and that will stretch beyond a guy like Mourinho just because he’s available and lives in London.
But as I’ve seen somebody allude to this morning as I scrolled through my social media feed, after the international break and as we hit Christmas, that’s when the games will be very tough. Chelski at home, United at home, City at home, with Everton and Bournemouth away also wedged in there. We could be so far away from Champions League football by the time the new year hits us, that this season becomes a write off, so Emery’s long term history looks extremely bleak right now.
He can’t hold leads. He can’t inspire comebacks. He can’t make difficult decisions on players. He doesn’t get his subs right. He can’t unite the fan base. He doesn’t seem to motivate anyone. This is a mess and the crux of the matter is that he has brought this all upon himself – and is by extension – in the space of the last six months.
And yet what we’re getting from the club is noises that there’ll be no decision made soon. So when? Are we going to wait until it’s mathematically impossible for us to get Champions League, then write off the season, with players like Aubameyang and Lacazette looking at each other as if to say “you sticking around for this bro? Me either”? It’s crazy. Make the decision whilst the situation is still salvageable. Right now you could say, even when we lose to Leicester next weekend, that a new man coming in could have some kind of better impact. But as it stands if we’re looking at keeping Emery on then by Christmas it’ll probably be double figures that we are away from the top four spots.
It simply isn’t good enough and the sooner our ‘committee’ realise that the better. The fans have and that’s why so many have turned on the manager. We see how unlikely it is that we are going to be challenging come May and that’s why the calls for his exit are getting to unanimous right now. I just hope that the club are getting to the same point.
It’s almost as if our history of not having had many managers is counting against us, as if the club feel like they be to stick to the tradition of not making a decision, because it’s never happened before. But the exit of Bruce Rioch has set a precedent and that’s one that we shouldn’t be afraid to cite. If a man isn’t the right man then there’s no shame in admitting it and moving on.
Anyway, I’ve ranted enough for one day, so let’s leave it there. Tomorrow we’ll have build up to the Vitoria game away from home and hopefully that will give us a distraction from the mess that is unfolding right now.
Catch you all tomorrow.