An FA Cup curio before we move onto the business of the day:
When #FACup history repeats itself.
1979 v 2017
— Arsenal Cannon Pics (@ArseCannonPics) May 29, 2017
An absolutely amazing comparison.
While I’m still enjoying – and shall continue to – Saturday’s FA Cup triumph, it’s expected that a new deal for Arsène will be announced today.
In my mind, it’s a retrograde step but I understand why Arsenal has chosen to do so. Kroenke’s motive is transparent: money. He has mediocre franchises in the USA, which occasionally over-perform but for the most part, are distinctly average. We’ve fallen into the same pattern.
Arsène produces a team which gives him the profits he needs, and a strong balance sheet to underpin his borrowing on other KSE investments. There’s no footballing logic in his decision.
Like Chips & co, Enos is clueless on football. He doesn’t have a plan, abdicating responsibility to a powerless board. They lacked the stomach for a fight they knew they would lose and their capitulation to the manager is the result. Change is going to happen but who leaves is the question.
The club’s surrender to Arsène is total; even Dick Law isn’t leaving until the autumn, at the earliest.
In footballing terms, nothing much has changed from his last contract renewal. On the back of a cup win, a deal was done. Not so emotionally this time on his part but probably more emotional on ours.
Back then, we finished fourth, won the FA Cup, and exited the Champions League in the Round of Sixteen. Last season, with a better squad, we finished fifth, won the FA Cup, and exited the Champions League in the Round of Sixteen. A backward step on the face of it. An alarming one in reality.
Je Ne Regrette Rien
Arsène remains in sole charge of the ‘technical’ side, which leaves us at the mercy of his whims in the transfer market. The directors let it be known they want him to be more decisive over signings with the same authority that they declare that their egg mayonnaise sandwiches must not include cress but that small triangular chunks of Tomkins tomatoes are perfectly acceptable.
It’s done and in my view, it’s a mistake. This is one of life’s rare occasions where there is no downside to being proven wrong; yet there’s nothing to be gained by being proven right. However, nothing since 2014 provides any basis for optimism that Arsène is capable of mounting a title challenge next or in any other season.
What must be explained is why it’s taken so long to reach this conclusion. The club descended into farce with talk of building our own Air Traffic Control centre as there were so many planes flying about. Liechtenstein looked on enviously as Arsenal supporters had more airpower than their air force.
The proud claims of being a well-run club disappeared into a swirl of headlines and farce. There’s a strong argument for replacing most of the current board; Arsène probably will during the next two years.
The end of the season proves nothing; we are not among the leading contenders already. Arsenal beat the opposition in front of them; the players can do nothing more. But it’s interesting that the one decent side we played in the Premier League, took us apart.
And the run between Christmas and the back three arriving, isn’t easily forgotten. That was as much of a mental collapse under pressure as flawed tactics. The only way you’ll find out if that has changed is to be under pressure once again.
Ni le mal; tout ça m’est bien égal!
Don’t forget, we finished eighteen points behind Chelsea. Yet I’m expected to believe one or two new players will close that gap. If those two were Messi and Ronaldo, I might be inclined to agree.
Signing players may be the least of our problems. This morning’s Times claims Arsenal will lose Alexis Sanchez while Mesut Özil is going to run his contract down and leave on a free next summer.
Ill-informed speculation or the pieces put together from the global media jigsaw? Arturo Vidal freely admitted telling Alexis to join the best club in the world. Despite our lyrical claims, it isn’t Arsenal. Bayern, Juventus or PSG? Not an English club; manager and board can all resign if that happens.
In both cases, decisions must be made by Arsenal relatively early in the summer. Buyers for the pair won’t be hard to find but replacements will. The expectation was that the board were planning for life without Arsène; they weren’t, so expecting the scouting team to be ready to replace Alexis and/or Mesut is a step too far.
Arsène’s bullishness in the past proved forlorn when it came to losing ‘star’ players. With Sanchez, the criticism of the player by the manager earlier in the season won’t have done Wenger any favours. The best we can hope for is that Sanchez decides to give it a season to see if we improve.
Enos won’t like that; £80m down the pan.
The perfect transfer storm awaits. Keeping the squad together may be the toughest job Wenger has undertaken; if he succeeds and if he gets the right signings in…whenever that many ‘ifs’ precede a summer, it’s usually the portent of doom.
aWe shall see.