Arsenal 0-3 Manchester City
Currently, I’m snowed in at home. Foolishly, I’d assumed that ‘Storm Emma’ would be tame and inconsequential and the warnings displayed across TV and the internet were nothing more than exaggerations. How wrong I was. In all my years, this is the worst snow storm I can remember. There must be easily 40cm of settled, fluffy white stuff in my backyard and on the streets. Whilst I’m typing this, there’s a blizzard going on outside. I feel like Kurt Russell in The Thing.
As inconvenient as it is – or convenient, as I have stayed off work today – it is certainly very picturesque. At least there’s no shape-shifting aliens to contend with.
You’ll have to excuse the meandering opening. I’m at the stage now where I’m bored of writing about how Arsenal aren’t very good and how change is required. You’ve all seen the movie and read the book; poor performances aren’t an occasional, irksome event. Nope – they’re almost predictable and somehow there’s no anger or disappointment anymore. That’s all been replaced with something far worse; ambivalence.
The game last night, for what little it’s worth mentioning, saw Arsenal utterly dominated and outplayed by a far superior football team. There can be little or no debate about that. In the space of 5 days, Manchester City have beaten us 3-0 twice and we’ve barley made fight of it during either game.
Yes, I understand some will point to City’s unlimited wealth and sheer quality across the pitch as reasons for the two defeats, and I’d agree to an extent. However, losing is one thing; the manner in which those defeats have been conceded concerns me most. We have barley been in it as a competition at all. Arsenal may be at a low ebb, but we are still a big Club. We shouldn’t be rolling over to expose our soft belly the moment a big team comes along. Wigan and Liverpool beat City. Liverpool tore them apart for 70 minutes. There is no excuse to lay down and give up.
The players last night didn’t look like they believed in what they were doing. Confidence is obviously low. I’d suggest it’s an exercise in futility to pick out anyone to blame, as Arsenal show be judged on losses as a team. But certain players aren’t covering themselves in glory.
I did notice that Ramsey and Welbeck appeared the only willing runners and at least tried to make things happen. Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, for all their undoubted talent and ability, just couldn’t get into the game. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did squander a late penalty with a rather feeble attempt, but I’m not sure the game would have changed on that. Some have suggested he’s suffering a similar problem to Lacazette; obviously a very good striker that’s not getting the service he needs. Pressure and lack of goals can quickly hurt a striker, no matter how good they are.
To a man, City showed more enthusiasm and drive. Under Guardiola, they don’t give their opponents a moments peace and have the ability and pace to absolutely destroy whomever they’re playing. As someone pointed out on Twitter, perhaps the greatest indication of how far Arsene Wenger has slipped is that we lost last night playing like a team on the receiving end of the kind of ruthless tanking we used to administer in his halcyon days. We used to be as good as that City team. Now we’re a million miles away.
And if we didn’t need to be reminded of that, this happened 16 years ago:
On this day in 2002, 90s legend Dennis Bergkamp scored this piece of art against Newcastle United. The greatest ever Premier League goal? pic.twitter.com/angiSm3qJf
— 90s Football (@90sfootball) March 2, 2018
Where we go from here is anyone’s guess. I think the answer is clear; a new direction, a fresh approach and a new manager. But then – what do I know? I’m certainly no expert in what’s best for Arsenal football club. There are people already in position to make those kind of decisions. Surely they can see that things aren’t getting better any sooner and whilst Arsene is magnificent man that’s accomplished wonders where, even the greatest have to call time some day.
That day is here. Even his staunchest of advocates have trouble defending what’s happening on the pitch. Change by no means guarantees an upsurge in fortune. It could very well get worse before it gets better. But the worst thing of all would be to allow things to stagnate simply because of a fear for the unknown. I don’t think Arsene will step down, but I do think he’ll leave in the summer.
Arsene has put a lot of faith in players who are consistently letting him down and not performing. They should all be held accountable themselves. I hope that some of them act accordingly and buck their ideas up. Maybe he’s lost the dressing room. Maybe the players want a fresh approach or maybe some of them are happy churning out lacklustre displays for a bumper payday.
Whatever the reason, change needs to happen.
That’s all for today, folks.
Leave a comment below with your thoughts. Can you defend Arsene Wenger? Who would be your choice to replace him? Let me know.
I’ll be back with more tomorrow. Until then, and as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.
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