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A few thoughts on the Manchester United match & Arsene’s ongoing position

November 23, 2014

No matter what my two previous blogs here and here mention about me wanting Arsene Wenger to call it time at Arsenal, I want Arsenal to win every match – there is no agenda on my part. If this then means Arsenal win something, do well and I look at twat, then so be it.

Yesterday I really thought Arsenal would beat this United side, arguably United’s worse side in many years, even worse than last season. Of course United still have players such as Di Maria, Rooney, van Persie up front who can turn a game, yet I still thought, even with both defences currently weak, Arsenal would win.

The build up

Firstly a few words for Arsenal supporters round the world who for whatever reason cannot attend games at the Emirates. Two season tickets £3000. Match day price in that averaged out at £57 each (£114.00 for two) Harlow Station (Essex) 3.30pm – buy return tickets to London £18. Harlow-Seven Sisters-Finsbury Park-arrive Holloway Road Tube 4.15pm

Holloway Road Tube

surprisingly all connections spot on. Then as I don’t drink and don’t like to go in pubs if it can be helped, I head for Costa’s for a coffee.

Costa's

Couple of Lattes £4.60 with Son, wait till friends turn up who sit with us at matches and then make our way to ground, five minutes slow walk away.

Strangely on this walk I was taking a little more notice of surroundings than I normally do. Many fans walking to the ground for an Arsenal v Manchester United match and yet I felt so little buzz around. It really was like people making their way to Church on Sunday morning, something to be done, not something that makes you well excited about being there.

Pictures purely for knowing where I was not actual pictures on the day, except two.

We walked down Hornsey Road

Hornsey Road

towards Bear Island

Bear Island

past the many food outlets, supermarket and small shop selling Arsenal memorabilia. Bear Island was full of people, at first I thought it might be part of some protest march, but it was just people standing around looking at the stadium, waiting for mates etc. The usual hundreds of people were there having their photo’s done with the stadium as backdrop and going into the Armoury to fill the coffers.

I brought a programme £3.50 and made my way up the stairs to Entrance “P”.

Stairs

We went through turnstiles, up about 12 flights of stairs, onto the concourse, then onto the terrace area, Block 126 and up to our seats in row 14. My mates, My Son and I took our seats around 30 minutes before kick off in a stadium that was around 30% full.

The so-called singing section part of the stadium was almost empty.

Empty Stadium

Gone, the days when we supporters used to turn up one hour or more before kick off on the terraces, singing songs and chanting the players names. To be fair the club do not help here by blasting out music, adverts or the guy on the microphone telling us what is happening. No the club want the fans on the concourse buying food and drink from the outlets, so loud music and adverts suit the clubs purpose. The singing section (Red Action) tweet they want helpers for the rather large 49 flag and would anyone wishing to help please turn up around 15 minutes before kick off to assist. Flags do not sing. people sing, standing or sitting. (See picture above taken at 5.04pm)

Then after a bunch of adverts, one being a Puma advert telling me “We are Arsenal” “We choose how to play football” we certainly do choose how to play and everyone knows how we play, don’t they? After being asked by the bloke on the microphone to give the mascot a round of applause for the biggest day in his life, he went onto to say to the by now 60% full stadium “Enjoy the match!!!” In a way that makes you feel like your about to watch a blockbuster movie.

The match

Arsenal to be fair start well putting United under pressure, playing some good football, making chances, yet not taking them. This goes on for most of the first half with United themselves having one chance from Di Maria which went wide and once chance from Rooney that was thwarted by a great tackle from Chambers that went for a corner, yet not one United chance on target in forty-five minutes. Jack Wilshere had Arsenal’s and the games best chance, when he was through on goal, six yards out and somehow put the ball straight at De Gea – a very poor miss. Jack was playing well but for me once he missed that chance, he lost his head and become less effective for the rest of the game as he could hardly put a pass right, all going long or short of there intended target, Jack then got involved with Fellani and could have been sent off on another day, he needs to cut this out of his game, he is a very talented player.

The first half basically summed up Arsenal, pass, pass, pass and all our shots were straight down De Gea’s throat. 0-0 at Half time, but Arsenal really should have made more of it and been in front.

I took this shot at half time. There’s nothing there! What is there – there?

Half time

In the second half I got the feeling from the crowd that you sort of knew what was coming. Firstly Jack runs towards goal keeping hold of the ball, maybe to long, is tackled by McNair and gets injured. After treatment and staying on for a very short period Jack went off to be replaced by Cazorla. Then within a minute a cross from United’s left had Szczesny palm the ball away to the edge of the area, but also colliding with Gibbs, both players ending up on the floor. Valencia collects the ball from Szczesny’s palm out, miss hits the ball a shot come cross and as Gibbs is getting up, the ball hits him and flies into the net, seriously who makes this stuff up? 1-0 to United in the 56th Minute and they hadn’t even had one shot on target. That feeling of what I mentioned above had just happened. Szczesny then had to go off as well to be replaced by Martinez. Two forced substitutions.

Arsenal tried going forward to get an equaliser but De Gea was having none of it and to be fair all his saves were quite easy and he did not have to do anything special. On eighty-five as Arsenal were pushing forward for an equaliser, United broke, Di Maria and Rooney two on one, Arsenal caught playing 1-7-2. Di Maria made the right pass, Rooney bared down on Martinez and chipped the ball into the net for 2-0, Oh dear, the sigh of expectation round the ground could be heard.

The fourth official holds up the board – Eight minutes injury time, the crowd are lifted – a bit, until you think eight minutes means it’s more-than-likely United would get a third or fourth and Di Maria all £63m pounds of him should have got a third being one-on-one and chipped the ball wide. In the 95 minute Arsenal did get one back through substitute Giroud showing he is back by hitting a cracking shot past De Gea to reduce the arrears but all to late. Another defeat. I was saying to my mate that there is going to be a big round of booing at the final whistle, however, almost half the stadium had left and when the final whistle was blown it was more resigned expectation from the fans and there was just a ripple of boos.

I do wonder why Arsenal are given corners, all it succeeds in doing is giving the opposition a break. The only one of the eleven we won was when Giroud came on and headed over. Free kicks are pretty much the same around the area.

The aftermath

I left the stadium feeling nothing, not really surprised at what I saw. I should have felt angry/frustrated, but had a calm about me, I could see what was coming, most of you in truth I would imagine could also see it. There are so many questions being asked about why this happening when Arsenal seem to be in great financial shape yet throwing this season down the drain. This is the season we were told Arsenal would be able to compete with the big boys.  My friends, my Son and I went along to Piebury Corner for after match nosebag £17 for two with drink and the Arron Lambsey went down a treat (£157.10 for day out to football for Son and I). The mood in Piebury was also sombre with that expectation about what had just happened, but the food is always good.

There is a huge cloud over Arsenal right now, has been for sometime. I really do feel that this cloud is not going to go away till Arsene Wenger leaves the club. Now as I have said in previous blogs it is unlikely that Arsene will be sacked by the board, but maybe Arsene himself could resign, maybe the board would speak to him and come to an agreement,  a mutual understanding that the club needs a new direction and a fresh start.

The media, experts, ex-players, supporters are all over the club like a rash. The frustration/anger is palpable. The supporters are fighting each other with words not punches. This is sad times to be an Arsenal supporter. The team need leadership and they are not getting it.  I’m not going to go to into all the whys as you all know the situation and as each game passes the situation gets worse and the fans who are coming round to wanting Arsene to call it a day is growing.

I do wonder when you are Arsene Wenger and you look to buy World-Class player, get a meeting with them and their agents, how do you sell Arsenal to Ozil and Sanchez? What did he sell Arsenal and Arsenal’s future to both? I say this because Arsenal are not the highest payers in football and I’m sure both could have got more elsewhere, so he must have sold them something. I can only imagine they must wondering too.

Look! For ten years Arsene has kept Arsenal there or there abouts, he has as much as said when he finall leaves he would leave the club in great shape for the next man, that’s his legacy. What I see right now is a man who is making mistakes on mistakes, nothing is going right, it’s like a bad spell on the club. I don’t want the man I respect to mess that legacy up, so why should a change of manager right now be of concern to supporters? What could happen that could be any worse right now and has been happening for a while?

A new man would I imagine get support from ALL Arsenal supporters and stop this huge split amongst the supporters, which I think the split if getting more towards Arsene leaving. A new man would get a holiday period from the media and experts. A fresh start and get that cloud moving along and letting the sunshine. A new man who could use the rest of this season to prepare for next season.

Arsene is being paid £8m a year, more with bonuses I understand, with that sort of money it means you get the top guys. No way would most managers not stop what they are doing and sign on. The squad at Arsenal is 90% very good and only needs a few additions, the right additions, some guidance, some leaders and a system to work at.  Do YOU want Arsene to spend the money the club has in January? A good squad, fantastic stadium, huge support base, one of the words biggest and famous football clubs, come on very few managers are going to turn down the chance. Who that is I don’t know and that’s Arsenal’s business who comes in.

I want change NOW. I want it for us the supporters, I even want it for Arsene Wenger as I feel he can maybe do three years elsewhere with a fresh start for himself and maybe go out on a high in his football career.  I want change NOW to get the media and experts off our back. I want it because I want to enjoy football again and I want to walk away from the Emirates either happy or angry, not calm over a defeat as if I expected it to happen as it’s all become so predictable.

Cheers

@harlowgooner

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Numb Nuts permalink
    November 23, 2014 15:52

    He’s still there because tossers like you defended him for years when it was obvious he was a spent force

  2. pete on the beach permalink
    November 23, 2014 17:58

    in the case of people like numb nuts steve, lobotomy at birth is kinder

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