There won’t be a happy ending to this fairy tale. Arsène Wenger’s reign at Arsenal is disintegrating in front of a global audience. If it were an animal, it would be put to sleep lest the owner face a charge of cruelty.
Stan Kroenke, safe from opprobrium on his ranch or penthouse, should be charged with reckless abandonment but he has form in wrecking sporting teams. Alisher Usmanov is no better, declaring Wenger the best person to name his own successor. If he can’t name a side good enough to win at Crystal Palace; what hope is there for him to find his replacement?
Not that anything will be done in that sense. Wenger’s slip post-match was quickly glossed over but did it indicate he knows the game is up? The board, cowardly and without heart to this point, must now make the decision for him but they have never show courage in their decision-making before so don’t rely on them to find it now.
The players bear their share of the blame as well. As Carragher said last night, the club is rotten from top to bottom. Wenger’s instructions to the team aren’t being followed or if they are, the gameplan is tired and weary.
Everything you want from an Arsenal side, Palace displayed. 3 – 0 was a fair reflection of the game. We were just awful while they were energetic and had the heart, desire and pride in their shirt. The vocal disenchantment with this squad manifested in a second during which we didn’t manage a shot on goal. Physically as well, with the Hector Bellerin sideshow at a throw-in.
Ambitions Are Low
Arsenal, Allardyce said after, were easy to unlock; full backs playing like wingers and centre backs left exposed. The third was a dive but at that point, it was beyond relevant or material. We weren’t coming back into the game at 1 – 0 down. No 2 – 1 up heroics for this lot and there never will be again while Arsène remains in charge.
The depths to which we’ve plummeted are apparent. Our third choice goalkeeper bailed the side out. Where were the experienced professionals doing that? A team of leaders? Wenger’s private joke just became public knowledge.
Nothing any of the players says carries any meaning. They are as culpable as the manager for the performances. The squad won’t fight for each other and if they don’t care about the club, why should we care about them?
Cosseted by their millions, money has driven their personal pride away. The next paycheque is more important to them than the next match. Theo Walcott as captain? Only because he speaks to the media politely and toes the party line. No hint of dissent lest he wreck his chances of another bumper contract.
The club we love is being torn apart by men without the heart or courage to make a decision. Businessmen who care about the balance sheet not the Premier League table. Failing to qualify for the Champions League is a plus for them. The savings made in wages mean better profits, adding kudos to their cv whenever the next non-exec role comes around.
Resentment Rides High
Where do we go from here? Putting off the announcement is no longer an acceptable option but leaving that decision to Wenger is equally unpalatable. Gazidis can tell his pet paper whatever he wants but now he has to earn his pay.
The question is, do you trust this lot to make a decision which is in the FOOTBALL CLUB’s best interest? Not financially but on sporting merit. They don’t have a clue about football, that’s patently obvious, yet they must appoint someone to rebuild from the rubble left behind as the Wenger era collapses around their ears.
There is no way back for the Frenchman, nor his backroom staff. He can be as loyal as he wants to Boro, Gerry and Bouldie, but this isn’t ending well for any of them. And rightly so. We need a clean sweep, fresh insights and a different approach. It’s too easy, too comfortable. No-one is pushed out of their comfort zone.
Just Can’t Function No More
Arsène likes the players to be mature and professional but they need to be torn into, the niceness provoked so that they are out of kilter instead of looking listless at every restart. They should be good at kick-offs with the practice they have had. Last night was the 7th time in 2017 that we’ve conceded 3 or more goals. SEVEN! Nothing about the Frenchman’s philosophy is good enough any more.
And still we limp on, with those in charge maintaining their vanity project. They hope against all the evidence in front of them that Wenger can dust off the magic hat and lift the FA Cup once again. It won’t happen and even if it does, it has to be his parting gift to the directors whom he has so loyally taken flak for in the past.
But it is over. Going now or at the end of the season makes no difference whatsoever to me. Nor judging b performances, do the players care. They just know it is coming.