Things will get worse before they get better at Arsenal. Arsène Wenger’s reputation is in not quite in tatters, but heading fast in that direction as he resists the inevitable change coming his way.
An underperforming team, internecine warfare between supporters; it was never supposed to come to this. The fans and clubs are disconnected like never before, and the gap is irreparable. Where once there stood a football club, there is a smouldering disarray
The board and manager are floundering. Wenger shifts blame onto anybody else but himself and the directors are conspicuous by their absence. Ivan popped up at a supporters forum, only to find himself subsequently ridiculed by the Frenchman.
No wonder we have fallen apart. Stan Kroenke, never proactive unless he has money to make, continues to remain hidden away in his ivory tower. Leadership is conspicuous by its absence.
The continuing uncertainty over Wenger’s future is a fertile ground for discontent and dishevelment. The board, lacking the balls to sack him, allow the club to limp along, stopping only to feed PR stories to their pet reporters.
Arsenal, once proud to rule the roost or give their all trying, are satisfied with finishing anywhere between second and fourth.
Nothing Lasts Forever
Wenger is as stubborn as it gets, and it would not surprise me if the rumours about him signing a new two-year contract are true, even though he has well and truly lost his way.
Bookmaker Ratings share the sentiment. The race for the top four is run for Arsenal, and while such failure ought to inspire major changes, we’re plodding along, waiting for the twelfth of never to arrive.
All of the work that went into building the Emirates, heralding a new era was all for nothing. We’re further behind in Europe than ever before, with the Premier League titles fast becoming a distant memory.
To be comprehensively beaten by Crystal Palace shows how far we have fallen. Yes, we will lose games in a league where anyone can win on their day. But it was the manner of defeat; outfought, outthought and outclassed by a team who have spent the majority of the season fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table. They simply wanted it more, according to our captain for the night. How can that be?
If Sam Allardyce is able to take full advantage of our self-inflicted weaknesses and lack of positional discipline, particularly on both flanks, then we have a serious problem. Not that we weren’t aware of it already, but when we still have to face the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham this season.
The longer this continues, the less likely it is that Alexis Sanchez will stick around. You do wonder what goes through his mind when he sees everything around him crumble. Wenger’s acolytes gleefully dismiss the player while telling us to get behind the team. Logic isn’t their ally.
Everything Must Change
If we had ten clones alongside him on the pitch, you could guarantee we would not be in this mess. He is the only one who looks as frustrated and angry as we are in the stands. Like it actually matters to him that Arsenal are up the creek without a paddle. Others do it occasionally but never consistently.
Hector Bellerin certainly came in for plenty of stick, as did the whole team throughout what was a lacklustre and embarrassing performance at Palace, but the way many of them trudged off mirrored the actions of a manager who was straight down the tunnel quicker than you can say “you’re finished!”
With our top four hopes going up in smoke, our routine is matches on Thursdays and Sundays. It is inevitable that we will receive the same level of stick that we gave Manchester United and Liverpool for playing Europa League football, we’ve just got to suck it up and think of a witty riposte.
I’m not confident we’ll get past Manchester City in the FA Cup and for all the fine words, you have to wonder if the players genuinely believe they can do it. Losing at Wembley would feel like putting a wounded animal out of its misery and with some relief, there will be an acceptance that the season is over.
The rest of the league campaign will feel more like an inconvenience than a procession towards achieving any sort of success. Even if punters back us win our upcoming game against Leicester on the football betting tips listed on Bookmaker Ratings, it will make very little difference to our predicament in the table.
You Keep On Acting The Same
It is difficult to look into the future without knowing who on earth will be in charge. Wenger’s future is becoming the worst kept secret at the club. 33 days and counting since he said we will now “very soon”. Nobody is willing to reveal the truth and actually provide some clarity to what is a continuing pressure cooker situation.
There should be no surprise some turned to banners and planes in order to get their feelings across to a board which is disinclined to listen.
I do not care who it is; someone has to come out and tell us what direction the club is heading in.
If Wenger is to stay for another two years, the board and Kroenke have to provide him with substantial funds but also ensure they are invested. Don’t let Wenger prevaricate when a decision has to be made. His involvement is selling the footballing philosophy to a player; the club must do the rest, including making completing the deal.
On the flipside, we would undoubtedly give Wenger the best possible send-off to show our appreciation for everything he has done for the club since 1996, but hope that the board identify managers who would make radical changes to the way we play and create a more dynamic side that are more than fit to wear the shirt.