The Armchair Gooner

An Arsenal blog bringing you news, opinion and humour on a daily basis. Well, I'll try at the very least…

Gervinho, Chamberlain, Szczsney, Blackburn, Bayern, Wenger and the worst day of the season by a mile.

Arsenal 0-1 Blackburn: Unbelievably shit-awful

Morning, smiley happy people…

Before I began writing this post, I sat down and tried to make myself think of something positive to say. I struggled for 2-3 minutes to come up with anything even remotely full of cheer to serve up to you today before I exclaimed to myself, “Oh, balls to this” and decided to get on with writing about how I actually feel.

Losing to Bradford and plummeting out of a cup competition we had a genuine chance of winning was humiliating enough. For that to be repeated in alarmingly similar fashion yesterday in nothing short of outrageous.

For all the talk of Wenger’s selction policy for that match, I actually agreed with him leading up to the game. It made sense to keep certain players fresh for Tuesday’s fixture with Bayern Munich, and those sent onto to the field should have had more than enough quality to overturn a Championship side.

To place blame on that, and that alone, is naive. The troubles within our club go far deeper. Countless occasions this season have seen our players take to the field with an unmotivated attitude and lethargy. Fans have every right to expect more, and every right to vent their apoplexy when mistakes and poor performances appear with such regularity.

And in these moments of despair, we look for someone to blame. The board, the manager, the players; it’s difficult to pinpoint the main contributing factor to the malaise at Arsenal, and the only sensible conclusion I can muster is a combination of all of the above. Arsenal has become a business focused on profit and sustainability, not a football team with aspirations of glory. That’s not something I’ve ever cared to believe, but it’s something I believe to be true.

Our manager, an undeniably great man, is a shadow of the man he once was; challenged, focused and with a desire to win. 8 years ago he had assembled one of the greatest teams in English football. Times change, however, and football is a different beast these days. The great change with the times, you need only look at the continued success of Alex Ferguson to see a man who adapts to that which changes around him. Wenger’s legacy and past glories will forever be the greatest period of success for Arsenal, but his inability to change, his insistence on vanity projects are seriously tarnishing that legacy.

I’m no Wenger apologist, nor am I the type to blindly back someone against such compelling evidence. However, to single him out for blame is as pointless as it is to do so for any of the other factors. Arsene’s responsibility lies with the team and the results they obtain, for that he takes the credit and the current cacophony of derision. The ambition, the desire to compete with others is something he cannot do without the backing of the board.

That’s where the real trouble lies for me – the club as a whole. Arsenal would happily obtain 4th every year and nothing else as it brings in the revenue and ends the season with a profit. If we can sell on a few star players, and bring in cheaper alternatives during the summer, our board will jump at the chance. Each summer that passes sees our squad weakened, and the danger of losing touch with others increases until one day it will eventually disappear altogether. That day may be a lot closer than we care to think.

In the wake of such an appalling defeat, it’s natural to focus on the negative. Some of you may even dismiss this post as doing exactly that – that I’m just a bitter soul ranting becuase I’m pissed off. I assure you that is not the case. I write today genuinely concerned and because I care.

We are Arsenal. We have a bulging bank balance, a world class arena, state of the art training facilities and a large and diverse fanbase. We are one of the richest clubs in football. We should be competing with the best, not making do with average players and low expectations.

Whatever your allegiance, we all want the same thing. I’m almost afraid to say it, “We want our Arsenal back”.

Thanks for reading today, you beautiful bastards. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Don’t hold back – say what’s truly on your mind.

Category: Match reviews
  • AJ says:

    Completely agree, can’t lay the blame at any one aspect. As for the short term, however, the further away gervinho is from our club the better. I’ve never seen anything like him and santos. One down, one to go

    February 17, 2013 at 11:58 am
  • Bingo says:

    We have had one of the most daunting time of our lives as AFC supporters!All I care to say now is Arsene we are no more your loyalists as things keep fading out of our reach..Arsenal would forever live but Wenger is high time u choose between ur invisible Team of world class players of then Patrick Veira and ur recent unbearable policy..We love Arsenal more than we love Wenger..Is time for symbiosis action of change..We can’t stay unfocus like this..This is how Liverpool started and lost their rhytm of the past.

    February 17, 2013 at 12:12 pm
  • islander says:

    Just read some refreshing news that arsenal board are considering david moyes to replace mr arsene next season….

    February 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm
  • Chris N says:

    A policy of aiming for fourth would be ultimately destructive. Hope and positivity is what brings new fans and maintains an existing fanbase. Success brings fame and brings international recognition and subsequent demand that brings fat overseas licensing deals. If we aim lower than the very highest standard then it will ultimately both harm the business Andorra importantly harm it’s potential for growth. Arsenal rest on their laurels at their peril

    February 17, 2013 at 12:41 pm
  • Chris N says:

    Sorry. Stupid iPhone autocorrect. ‘And more’

    February 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm
  • Akay says:

    Hi James, I do not know whether I have ever read your posts but for once, I thought I wrote this post myself. Couldn’t agree more with you.The reality is that by reason of my profession, I must apportion who is responsible for the causal effect of what has become of our Arsenal and I point at Wenger and I will Explain.

    Mr Wenger has capitulated on reaching the aspirations of the fans because he feels partly responsible for the policy of blooding young talents. It initially worked well; forcing Viera out for Fabregas to take his place, Henry for Adebayor with Bendtner et all waiting in the wings to mention a few. I did think at the time we were making haste too quickly, this has become apparent with juxtaposing how Man U has gone about theirs. We lost the winning culture by getting rid of the winners and have now replaced them with players who can get us to the Champions League which is all the Board ultimately cares about.

    For me, the Board care only about the returns and unless the returns are affected, they would make no serious move. Wenger realising this, fields a “weakened team” to have a chance at Champions League which brings in more Tv rights and revenue. Like you, I agree the team on the day should have been able to do the business but by now, Wenger should have realised that against weaker teams, we need to score quick and Gervinho aint ever going to cut it.

    It appears our scouting is also failing since other clubs discovered the ability to source out deals abroad. I cannot understand for the life of me why we cannot by players that are doing well in the Premier League like Ferguson does. We used to get players from Africa for £250,000 like Kolo, when was the last time we got this sort of deal? How much was the Van???

    The reality of the day is that the players are used to having no ambitions of titles as the attitude from the board and manager has trickled down to them. This is why any player that realises this wants to leave and thats wht Van said he could not agree with the direction of the club. If we had brought in Santi, Podolski, Giroud, I doubt Van would have left.

    It is only a gambler like Wenger that will sell his only defensive midfieder and contributor to a large proportion of assists and not replace him when there are abundant options. He comes out misleading fans by deciving them he will make signings when he knows he would not. he tells us what we have is better than whats out there yet what we have is trumped by a second division side. I think we need a fresh man for the Job and Moyes being linked for me is good. His team is set up solid which is something Wenger with all his genius has been unable to do and he sure plays attacking football which is the mainstay of Wenger. I say bring in Moyes or any other good manager. About time Wenger either goes upstairs or go to PSG where he will not win a trophy for 8 years and expect to stay.

    KMT

    February 17, 2013 at 1:04 pm
  • sube says:

    The brutal truth is that we could not win a trophy this season and the result is not a complete surprise The bigger surprise to me is that fans are(were) still expecting something this season!
    Won’t be a surprise to me if we lose by at least 4 goals to Bayern Munich on tuesday. We have been that poor. Our season was over long ago for me.

    February 17, 2013 at 1:14 pm
  • jameeez says:

    the performance of the team was lacklustre and below average… Shame to everyone involved in this show of unprofessionalism at our darling club.. Gerv,shscezny, u all are pretenders…

    February 17, 2013 at 1:32 pm
  • kareem says:

    Weger out!

    February 17, 2013 at 1:39 pm
  • Tommy w says:

    Sadly I have to agree with you on this one. The focus of the club has completly shifted from ambition to adequacy. Part of me hopes we don’t finish in the top four, maybe then the board will wake up and see the need for drastic changes to the way the club is run and financed.. Hah despresing stuff really

    February 17, 2013 at 1:42 pm
  • simeon says:

    A player with 11 asist,12 goals(podoskis) should’ve left out in the bench in any match if u need goals and winning.this’s arsen wenger problem for now.

    February 17, 2013 at 1:49 pm
  • Admir says:

    I agree it’s not all Wenger’s fault. He might not be even responsible for all things we blame him for (as I wrote two months ago http://allarsenal.com/guestposts/wenger-analysis-what-we-cancannot-blame-wenger-for/).

    However, if he is not the only one responsible, if he doesn’t have any support from the board, why he keeps supporting them? He has been a guy that makes bargains for a while, the one that both refuses conflict with the board because he is satisfied with his paycheck that doesn’t actually fit into socialist wage structure and the one that lacks courage to make brave decision regarding transfers.

    You mentioned Ferguson. He is an arrogant bastard that deserves to get a flag from linesman into his throat but he had enough courage to sign Van der Sar for huge money after years of horrible goalkeepers as well as Van Pussy for 24 million pounds despite the fact RvP is 29 and has history of injuries to challenge even Diaby.

    February 17, 2013 at 4:11 pm
  • dontcare says:

    (sorry for the language)………..please go sodo**** yourself Wenger & don’t forget to take your mediocre team with you!!! (again sorry for the language)

    February 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm
  • indoGunner says:

    Hi James, I agree with you about we couldn’t blame only one person for this disaster , but I don’t know, maybe, just maybe for this season our best chance is getting into UCL, either 4th or 3rd place, but I do have some small believe, we could be better next season, we’ve already tied some of our ‘best’ youngsters, and with this disaster happen, i hope, in the summer, we will spend our 70 M budget to get some stars – a defender and a forward – :)

    February 18, 2013 at 1:31 pm

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