Liverpool 4 – 0 Arsenal
“If you look across the world of football, you don’t find better candidates than Arsène Wenger.”
I’m leaving Ivan Gazidis’ words hanging there, just while I pick a hole or two hundred in everything surrounding yesterday’s performance.
I genuinely don’t know where to start. I’ve seen some bloody awful Arsenal squads. Every manager has them and Arsène is no exception. I’ve never seen such a talented set of players care less, be so embarrassed to wear the Arsenal shirt and utterly unwilling to play for their manager. They all claim to love him but at any other club, their efforts would get Wenger sacked.
Or resigning through pride. He’d be rewarded with a nice pay-off, with Stan’s blessing. But he’d be gone. Instead, floundering in the sand, we’re left with two more years of Arsène’s unique brand of mismanagement in the Premier League.
The FA Cups are nice, don’t get me wrong. I appreciate them but seeing this kind of listless, heartless, brainless performance year after year underlines we need a change at the top. It isn’t a dick-slapping contest of ‘I told you so’; this is about wanting what’s best for Arsenal Football Club.
And what’s best for Arsenal Football Club is not what’s best for Arsène Wenger. If I could, I’d place this as the result of Arsène’s behaviour last season. The indecision over his future created a ripple effect with players deciding they could take their time over their futures with impunity.
But come on, his team selections have been perverse for years. Last weekend, two left backs in the central defensive trio left him unimpressed. Today, the club’s record signing was left on the bench for a player who tries hard.
Ahem, It’s Not Just The Manager You Know
Now, let’s also get one thing absolutely straight. As much as I am livid with the manager, the sh*tshow those players turned in at Anfield was unacceptable. I don’t buy this ‘Ox is rubbish’ narrative which emerged as the current saga unfolded. But if he wants to turn in that kind of display, sell him tomorrow. It’s obvious his heart isn’t in it; get shot of him this week.
Alexis and Mesut Özil? Love you both, you’re great players but don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out. If that’s the effort we going to get, guys, you’re not worth the money. You can put any combination of players into mix but they aren’t putting the effort in.
We will lose games, I get that; been there, done that, got the t-shirt. We don’t have a divine right to win games or trophies but no matter what, we have a right to expect players to play for the club every time they pull on the shirt. I will say this now: not one player who was on the pitch yesterday can put their hand on their heart and say they gave their all.
What an absolute disgrace.
“From the first to the last minute we weren’t technically or physically at the level to compete.”
Arsène, at his curtailed press conference yesterday. Erm, Arsène, that’s your job. Prepare your players ready for each match. Get them to peak for the 90 minutes. If you don’t do that, what the f*ck are you doing?
Arsène, your legacy is disappearing in quicksand. Let’s be honest, we’re not far off the point where the Invincibles will be as relevant to modern football as the three-in-a-row titles in the 1930s. Fantastic achievements but something which makes Arsenal a great club.
Good Old Arsenal, We’re What To Say That Name?
We’ve got two weeks off on the back of the worst kind of performance. It’s going to be painful. I am heartily sick and tired of trying to find positives out of the mess Wenger and Gazidis created. More importantly, I have no confidence in the manager or CEO to solve the problems. Their time has passed.
We’re in the last week of the transfer window and Gary Neville’s searing comment encapsulates the problem: put the squad up for sale and very few will end up at better clubs. Most of them will end up at better run clubs but not better clubs when they are well run.
Hand on heart, answer this: are any irreplaceable? The answer is no. Alexis can go, he’ll score loads wherever he ends up. Mustafi? Good player, a fit Vermaelen at times but World Cup winners aren’t ten a-plenty. We’ve got three in our squad and we still turn out that crap.
We’ve got a double Copa America winner, two Euro 2016 runner-up medalists, and a Champions League winner as well. And we still turn out that crap.
What an absolute shambles of mismanagement. No wonder we still turn out that crap.
We’ve got midfielders who don’t know their role in the side, the right playing on the left, the left in the middle and the middle not knowing whether it is coming or it is going. The US military term for this has entered the lexicon of everyday language: clusterf*ck.
Money For Old Dopes
And still we reward the manager with a new contract and bend over so the players reap even more rewards for abject performances. £200k per week for not caring? Get over it; you’re not worth the money if you don’t care. The same for £400k, £300k, £100k, £50k. Players who were promising are shot of confidence but it’s always the fans fault. “Oh, you create a negative atmosphere”; sorry, Wenger admitted he was the root cause of the squad problems last year. He’s the same this year as well.
Eight months ago, we went to Anfield and the performance was utterly rubbish, off the back of bizarre team selections. It took three months to recover then; how long before we recover this time?