Have you ever felt so ‘Meh’ about a game in your life?
Probably. There’s games towards the end of the season when there’s nothing left to play for that feel very pointless and although this match tonight has something riding on it – Europa League qualification to the k computer phase – it’s hard to find myself getting overly excited about it.
I’m more looking forward to the fact I’ve got six of my old school mates together for our annual ‘get together at a Footie match before Christmas’ shindig if I’m honest. That’s what going to the football has become; the pre and post match camaraderie, because the football has been so dire.
And the atmosphere at games has been muted too. In fact, describing it as ‘muted’ is probably an understatement, because at times it’s felt like apathy is infesting every corner. And that’s what I think we’ll get the most striking visual display of because by the sounds of it there won’t be too many of us rocking up at The Emirates tonight. There certainly won’t be anybody in the away end, which will feel weird, but I know plenty of people who are just not bothering with their season ticket tonight and instead will watch the match from home.
It’s a damming indictment of Arsenal under Emery and shows just how far we’ve fallen in terms of the relationship ship between fans and coach. We all know he’s done and by the looks of his press conference yesterday he knows he’s done for as well. I wouldn’t even call it borrowed time. It feels even beyond that.
Could this be his final game in charge? Possibly. The closeness between this game and Norwich might give him one more match, but what’s the point? Might as well chuck Freddie in for the weekend. The players aren’t playing for him so maybe Freddie can get a tune out of them away to Norwich.
But let’s focus on tonight and what he might do tonight and by the rumours circling the socials yesterday and the training ground pictures there are some rumours that he might name a stronger squad than we’d have expected. I’d be surprised to see the whole first team involved, but I suspect we’ll line up something like:
Leno, Chambers, Mustafi, Holding, Tierney, Torreira, Maitland-Niles, Willock, Saka, Martinelli, Pepe.
It’s a mixture of first and young players and with no away support to spur them on you’d hope that an average Frankfurt Team will succumb to a changed Arsenal side.
But this is Emery’s Arsenal. This is confidence-shot Arsenal. This is unpredictable Arsenal. So I have absolutely no idea what will happen this evening.
I’d like to see Martinelli keep up his good goalscoring run. The more he can and the greater confidence he can get, the more we can cross our fingers that we have a striker ready to step in next season, because with Aubameyang and Lacazette both stalling on deals, it feels like it could be a very real discussion in the summer. My how our stock has fallen, eh?
But back to tonight’s game and it’s one that Arsenal should really win. Frankfurt lost to ten-man Wolfsburg at the weekend and in the last month have also lost to Freiburg and Standard Liege. They’re 10th in the Bundesliga, have scored 21 and conceded 18 and so should be able to be ‘got at’. They will try to get the ball out wide quickly and with longer balls if they can and will look to exploit the likes of Chambers if he starts at right back, I’d imagine. They’re no mugs, but this shouldn’t even be a discussion point tonight in terms of securing qualification. A win or a draw does that, but we should be looking for Arsenal to lay down a marker.
And I’d so love that. I don’t believe it will happen but wouldn’t it just be nice to see lots of goals for Arsenal, for a change, this season? Screw people who think it will keep Emery in a job. It shouldn’t and I don’t think it will make much difference. But at least it’ll be a home game in which we could have some fun.
That feels like a bit of a pipe dream at the moment though and I certainly won’t be holding my breath.
What I will do is make sure I have a good evening with my mates. Hope you do too wherever you are.
Catch you all tomorrow.