Morning, happy campers…
Where to begin? Well, it’s fair to say the performance yesterday was nothing short of a shower of shit. Before I get into sharing the incandescent fury brewing within me, I’d like to offer a few words of praise for our conquerers Swansea; they performed magnificently and were worthy winners. They play the game in an admirable, technical manner and Brendan Rodgers has done a superb job getting them to where they are.
However, their excellence was perfectly offset by our floundering incompetence. I alluded to the fact whilst furiously tweeting that it’s not defeat that hurts, it’s the frequency and manner in which we lose. Yes, the penalty we conceded was an appalling decision, but it should have been an irrelevance. We have nobody to blame but ourselves, nothing to blame but our own short-comings. It’s easy to point fingers – as many have – at both individuals and the club collectively, but my assessment of our glaring deficiencies comes from a few places, but the single most contributing matter in my opinion is fear.
I don’t mean the players are afraid of putting in a performance, I believe there’s no repercussions for them to worry about if they don’t; there’s nobody in the vein of Tony Adams or Patrick Vieira screaming bloody murder at the youngsters if they’re ball-watching or wandering out of position. There wasn’t anyone on the pitch yesterday that could grab things by the scruff of the neck and shake the under-performers out of their current state of apathy. There was no fight, no desire to chase the ball down and lose blood before allowing a shot on goal. Swansea hassled and harried when they lost possession whilst we seemed happy to sit back and watch them have the ball. For years there’s been the same problem at Arsenal, for years it’s gone unsolved. The definition of stupidity is to make the same mistakes over and over and expect the outcome to be any different. Make no mistake, the club are making themselves look stupid.
Yes, we had a depleted side missing important players like Wilshere and Vermaelen, but football is a squad game and that can’t be an excuse. Who else in the Premiership capitulates under pressure with the regularity we do? Certainly none of the top sides. We have a nucleus of very talented footballers at the club, but we lack that one individual that’s prepared to die for the cause, the one player communicating and marshalling the troops when they’re under pressure. It’s no coincidence that our lack of silverware dried up since we last had such an individual.
The responsibility lies with Mr Wenger. Now, I’m no forlorn misery-guts who’s going to call for him to leave – those people and their knee-jerk reactions are foolish – but if ever there is a time for him to act, that time is now. The faults are there, they get exposed on a near-weekly basis. If we don’t take some time to seriously address our failings and act responsibly and accordingly, we run the risk of falling further behind in the league, losing out on the much-coveted 4th place and, worst of all, being unable to attract and keep world-class players.
These are most certainly troubling times. However bad that performance was yesterday, there was an immeasurably worse one from a few imbeciles claiming to be Gooners once the game was finished, Firstly, whoever shouted abuse at Thierry Henry (of all people) at the final whistle really needs an intervention from close friends and family. Secondly, and worst of all, was the utterly, utterly despicable vitriol aimed at Aaron Ramsey on Twitter. A few knuckle-headed morons made comments to him so disgusting I can’t bring myself to write them down. I’m sure the vast majority of Arsenal fans out there will be as quick to distance themselves from feculent scumbags like them as I am.
Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. The comments section is awaiting your thoughts. Please take a moment to follow me on Twitter – @Puddleduck1978