Didn’t blog yesterday because, frankly, I just didn’t feel like it. I’ve always enjoyed writing and writing every day about Arsenal has been something I’ve taken pleasure from. Then, when Arsenal have been bad and I’ve had to write negative stuff, I’ve still managed to get some catharsis from it. I guess that’s because there’s always another game very close around the corner and that always brings hope and opportunity.
We do indeed have another game around the corner and a home match against Rapid Vienna, in which some fans will be in the stadium, is cause of hope in terms of life returning to normality, but in terms of the way Arsenal are playing right now it feels like this might go on and on for a bit and that is a little depressing. Every week of this wretched run so far I’ve thought to myself “it has to click soon, surely?” and every week we have been slowly suffocated visually by the approach of this Arsenal team. Last season was bad under Emery, this season might not have got as bad, but it feels like we are but a few more defeats away from it starting to feel just as bad as last season.
I mentioned hope, but it is also enjoyment and friends, I have to tell you that I haven’t enjoyed watching The Arsenal for some time now. Why do we watch football? What was the main reasoning behind you and I getting so obsessed and in to it? I can’t speak for you, but for me it starts with goals and when you go in to games wondering whether your team will score any goals at all today – regardless of the opposition – it makes you wonder just how much torment you will have to endure. I am going in to every Premier League game now with a sense of dread. I have never had that. Not even last season. I am not saying that Arteta’s current Arsenal side are worse than Emery’s and certainly I give Arteta much more support and hope than Emery in my will and desire for him to succeed, but where the one part of my weekend that I used to get excited about is now the part of the weekend I dread the most, is that any way to watch football?
I just don’t enjoy it. I am not enjoying it. And in every other element of my life if there is something I don’t enjoy doing then I just try my best to reduce my exposure to it. So is that it for me and Arsenal now? Am I going to need to take some time away from watching because it just makes me depressed?
I don’t know. I do know that I’ve never not wanted a game to come around like this North London Derby on the horizon that is next weekend. A high flying, confidence-rich, Tottenham, against an Arsenal side who have players who are looking at their feet, passing backwards and look a shadow of the side we were watching just a few short months ago. Roy Keane said at the weekend on Sky that this game could be the perfect one for Arsenal. I don’t see it that way. I see it as another scary fixture in a season in which if we had any kind of form and ability to ‘click’ as Joe Willock put it, then we’d be sitting up there towards the top of the league. Leicester lost at home to Fulham last night. This league is crazy and the fact that we’re only four points from top four is also mental given we’ve already lost five games in ten. But where people have been quick to point that out I can’t help but look at our form and wonder how the hell we are going to pick up any points whatsoever. We are 16th in the form table, 14th in the actual table, have an isolated striker who hasn’t scored since the opening day, a Ghanaian enforcer with whom the rumours are he could be out until January, which means we’re playing Xhaka and Ceballos who are both looking terrible and slow.
We play predictable football that surprised a few last season, but Premier League football teams all have analysts. They’ve worked out our approach and there is enough data and evidence to see just how it can be countered. And the result is what we have now which is a team that looks on the ropes, doesn’t create enough chances to give us hope, reliant on players who look past their ‘use by’ date.
It isn’t much fun at all and it is why I am even thinking about going for a walk at the weekend when the game is on. Think less of me if you will but I’m just expressing my feelings here guys and gals. This isn’t fun and I have found in the past when I haven’t been able to watch a game, then found out afterwards that we’ve lost, it somehow lessens the blow. That’s because I don’t know the narrative of the game, just the result, and when you’re just in receipt of basic information, it desensitises you. Maybe there is also something about it being on telly and not being the day out to the ground that I usually get to see friends, catch up, etc. That has been taken away as much as the enjoyment from what Arsenal do on the pitch.
So that’s where I’m at this morning. Right now I just don’t feel like watching Arsenal, because I am not enjoying it. Of course I suspect that within a week or two of not watching them I will quickly need to be watching the football, like the addict that I am, but right now it just feels like that morning after a hangover when you swear you’ll never drink again. But you know you will, eventually.
Catch you all tomorrow.