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A few thoughts on the Stoke City match

December 7, 2014

Useless! Unprofessional! Bottled it! No Passion! No Fight! Bullied! Shocking!

But seriously.

What positives can you take from yesterdays match and possibly say in support of yesterday’s performance? I’m struggling to find anything to take some comfort.

If I’m honest I was never comfortable with Arsenal playing away at Stoke yesterday, they hate us, it’s their Cup Final and we simply don’t have the bottle to play there. In fact the only game I have been comfortable with us playing this season was at home to Burnley as with the current Arsenal team, hardly any game is a sure thing. Twenty-four games into 2014/15 season and we have NOT played well in any of them, well save for a few periods in some games.

Nineteen seconds into yesterday’s match and Arsenal are 0-1 down – normally I would be mad as hell, but it was just a resigned, almost acceptance when I saw the score pop up on Sky Soccer Saturday.

This is what it has come to! Me – fifty years plus supporting my football club and I cannot even get worked up or upset/annoyed about losing. Trust me I have seen some poor Arsenal teams, but this team is not poor, just playing poor. It’s not right, but this is what the current Arsenal and to be fair modern football is doing to me.

It really isn’t about winning trophies as I have said before, it’s about competing and challenging. Arsenal are the fourth/fifth/sixth (sorry I have just been informed we’re actually eight. Not like many of those teams above us in the list are distorted in any way.) richest club in World football and the team end a football match with one, Yes ONE defender on the pitch, how does that work? I hear news that Sanchez is in the red zone and in danger of being injured, this being part of the new sports science, where players are sent out to play with GPS trackers hidden in their shirts to monitor them.

Tell me how does Messi and Ronaldo play almost ninety minutes of every match, never get out of the green zone and hardly ever get injured? Well at least our players will never get lost should they run out of the stadium during the match. as they have the “find my player” app on Arsene’s iPad?

I bored with saying this, yet I spent nine years giving the club and manager the benefit of the doubt when the club left Highbury for the Emirates because over those nine years, I was told we would be in a situation to compete, become one of the world’s biggest and most successful football clubs when the new revenue streams came on-line in the summer of 2014. Talk is cheap!

Well the summer of 2014 came, Arsenal spent big money on Ozil (2013) – Sanchez (2014) and even spent some money on a few other signing, yet after winning the FA Cup and the hope, not expectation that maybe more was on the way, I was thinking that maybe we’d go into 2014/15 season with the finances to make a challenge to the money bags outfits of Manchester City and Chelsea, yet where are we? Going backwards that’s where. Like I said in my last blog Arsenal’s last three wins were not gained playing really good football and hardly awe-inspiring performances, yet we got the wins, ground them out. I was thinking maybe, just maybe, this would be a platform, then 0-3 down to away to Stoke at half time, do me a favour.

How long do I have to back the club and manager, before I start to feel like I’m being treated like a two bob and mugged off? Am I supposed to continually tow the party line? I have my own eyes, I see what I see and what I see is not that good. I’m fed up with the excuses, the patching up of the team, the little guys running around being bullied by average football clubs players. I’m fed up with no fight, no passion, no system, injuries, excuses, lack of signings in the right areas. I get Arsene wants to entertain, but how is this current Arsenal team entertaining?

Arsenal have had around one hundred and fifteen corners this season in the league and scored from one of them. Arsenal had sixty-nine shots v West Brom, Man United and Southampton and scored three goals. It’s shocking!

I’m not talking about a mid-table club here, I’m talking a team, a club with a 60k state-of-the-art football stadium that sells 60k tickets every week. A club that has (well it’s said 200m supporters around the world), almost £300m plus turnover, how are we in this position?

Today I’m not only seeing Arsenal through my eyes but that of my Son of fourteen as well and even he is getting meh about the Arsenal. Now that should be a big worry for the club, but I’m not sure the club or manager actually give a monkey’s about what my Son, you or I feel. I’m told we choose how we like to play football, really! is this how Arsene and we supporters would choose to play football?

I’m informed we should stick together and support the club. Well I’ve stuck by the team/club for over bloody fifty years and for this I’m now expected to part with just over £3000 for two season tickets and for the privilege of watching my team play poor football, In many games we play we may as well take to opponents goals down, because all we do is pass the bloody ball around until we get twenty yards from our opponents goal and once there, pass the ball back and forth across that line until we have made forty/fifty passes and then give the ball back to our opponents. No wonder we hardly ever score more than two goals in a match any more.

Then the players try to get ball back and do it all over again, while in the meantime our opponents just want to score, simply score and how they do it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t have to be the most beautiful goal ever scored either. If it were not for Sanchez and I don’t mean just his goals, but his ability to put a smile on my face with his overall skill and work rate, this season would be a total fuck up so far.

As for the match I didn’t watch it, I don’t do streams and could not go as it was a family get together day so I heard/saw reports from Sky Soccer Saturday and other avenues where you can a feel for how the match is going and none of it was good. in the second half we could have been 4-0 down, then suddenly it was 3-2 and we had a chance of getting something until the twat referee sent off Chambers. So maybe the team just rolled up their sleeves and thought what have we to lose, or did Stoke simply take their foot off the pedal? It’s good the team were having a go for it at the end, it’s better than nothing, but why not from the start? Why wait till we are losing to start playing and in most games where we are winning we actually stop playing and let opponents back into games. There is something big time wrong in our approach to games.

Were Dortmund really bothered when they played us as they had already qualified? Were WBA that good? Even West Ham scored two against them in their next home match at the Hawthorns. The Saints game was not that much better until the last twenty minutes. The wins are always good no matter how they come, but those wins hardly gave me confidence that we could take other teams on and win games easy and then Stoke proved the point that I could not be confident.

We look for positives and we look for returning players from injury. We have Theo, Oh the joy! Theo is back, oh no he isn’t, he is back out injured. Arteta is back, then he is out again. It’s strange for me that players go out injured and we are told the injury will be three weeks, that turns into two or three months. Now when we are struggling, suddenly players are coming back early. Now far from me to try be cynical here, but are these players not being brought back early and at risk for greater long-term injury?

I think Ramsey is a super player and he has taken some stick recently, but I do feel he was brought back to early. Koscielny is the same. Is Giroud really 100%. Will Debuchy be fully fit? The manager knows he has made a massive cock-up and for me is trying to placate the supporters.

Who are we going to play in the side in mid-week? Why play any of the first team if injuries are such an issue. The game is nothing, no way are Dortmund going to lose, so we cannot come first, so just put the stiffs out.

I’m not going to give Arsene a hard time, but I have been supporting Arsenal long enough to know change does not mean the end. I would like Arsene to leave, that’s my position. If you want him to stay, then so be it, I have to respect that. Yet I would like him to leave NOW, not at the end of the season. I want a new man in NOW. A new man who can use the transfer window in January to build his team and if need be get it ready for next season. I don’t want a new man in the summer, when we have to waste another season while the new man had to get things working. Of course the ideal situation would be for Arsene to change, to get the players needed in, to give himself a better than even chance of challenging. Will he do that though?

Of course the media will tell you, Arsene should be given till the end of the season, well they would, lots more great stories for them if Arsenal’s season go further Pete Tong and we don’t get into the Champions League or win anything. It would seem that is in their interest. If no manager is available now, then do what we did with Arsene Whoooooo!!! Sound out the new manager, get him and find out what he wants and get it ready for him, get an interim in for now.

Remember Arsene Whoooooo!!! Who’d have  though in 1996 that 10 years later the club they support would have won three titles, five FA Cups, reached quite a few finals and lost, gone unbeaten for a whole season and went forty-nine matches unbeaten?  Why can’t another manager do the same? Arsene is a legend, however, it doesn’t mean he should be given all the time he needs. Arsene has had the money, he had the chance to get the right players in, he didn’t, it’s his fault Arsenal are struggling with players, not yours, not mine, His!

For the good of club, I feel he should part company. There I’ve said it, my opinion. I have not abused the man, I respect the man, I even love the man, but for me the time has come for change. Do I want to write this, of course not, I would prefer things were better, but they’re not!

We have a great club, well run in modern football with a huge fan base, fantastic stadium, a very good squad of players that just needs a few more additions and we need a manager that wants to challenge and win, one that would love a crack at taking Arsenal onto the next level in the modern game.

If that doesn’t fit in with some supporters narrative, then so be it.



One Comment leave one →
  1. john mcardle permalink
    December 8, 2014 16:11

    spot on all around there ! respectful of AW but calling for a change at the top …. no argument there

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