STONE COLD FRIDAY: The Circus Is Over, But The Clowns Are Still In Town

To hell with politics. Seven days is turning out to be a very long time in football. You would be forgiven for daring to forget that Liverpool “Mayweathered” Arsenal on Sunday. It would have been more productive if we wrote to the Premier League forfeiting the match and giving Liverpool a walkover. I suspect a 3 points cut, a 4 goal penalty and a hefty fine would have been acceptable for Arsenal fans around the world.

No, it had to get more bizarre. Clearly, we knew we had to get rid of players. We knew that Sanchez was staying. We knew that if the Chilean was to go to Manchester City, we would have to bid for Thomas Lemar. The sale of Gabriel Paulista was baffling enough when Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers were up for grabs. I submit to you that only the best clowns in the circus would wait for the last few hours to try pull off a simultaneous Sanchez sale and Lemar purchase. Why Oh Why do you wait until the 11th hour when this has always been on the table.

Only Fools and Oxes

We also damn well knew we were going to sell Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. To Chelsea, to Liverpool, to Lincoln City, who cares. We knew we would sell him. So what was all that nonsense in the first three Premier League games playing square pegs in round holes? Why were we trying to butter up and appease The Ox at the cost of team cohesion and balance? At Anfield, Sead Kolasinac must have been thinking “Jesus, Joseph and Mary”, what the hell did I just get into. Like many of you, Captain Haddock and his thousands of blistering barnacles couldn’t have captured what I was spitting out of my mouth when I saw the team sheet against Liverpool. Mustafi, Koscielny and Monreal should have been the back three, with Le Coq and either Ramsey or Xhaka. I’d be surprised if the players themselves don’t turn around and ask “What the hell is wrong with the Gaffa”.

Saying that, it’s impossible to tell whether a change in personnel would have made a difference. Our players would have been better off at the Notting hill Carnival. They didn’t turn up at all. And that right there is the crux of the problem. Would Arsenal be worse off if all the players were put up for sale? You got that eerie feeling from the same weekend 6 years ago when we were torn a new ahole at Old Trafford. That was 3 days before the trolley service that brought in Per Mertesacker, Mikel Arteta and park, the Korean chap who was still on military service.

“I’ve Got Bigger Cojones Than Yours”

The silent pissing contest in the rear echelons of Highbury House between Ivan Gazidis and Wenger must be one of the most destructive in football. There has to be a pissing contest to explain the sheer mediocrity of player and contract management. It’s bad enough that the manager waited until the last possible minute to sign a new contract, one that many questioned anyway. Who’s in charge at Arsenal? The elephants are piling up in the room. They’re thrusting their trunks at us in contempt. They’re goading us, teasing us, daring us. “Deal with us you bastards. One elephant you can ignore, but you can’t ignore the whole herd”.

We’re faced with a situation of having a player in Alexis Sanchez who clearly doesn’t want to be at Arsenal. Having him in the team is like taking back a girlfriend who had already packed her bags, told you she doesn’t love you because you’ve got no game, and left to move in with a new boyfriend. It didn’t work out and she’s back, but just until it works out. The chances of him signing a new deal rank somewhere between zero and nil, and yet he’s in the team. What must the other players think about him? The preferential treatment he gets? How will a lover who wants you no more affect the team cohesion and spirit through the season?

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

Maybe the International break is a breath of fresh air. Time enough for the players to think whether they really want to be at Arsenal. Until January at least, we have what we have. Something has to give for things to improve. Jens Lehman and Steve Bould must be perplexed about the happenings in the team. In their day, I doubt if this lack of application and team spirit would have been acceptable, even amongst the players.

Apparently, Sunday’s match was the 20th time in 4 years that we’ve really got a good hiding and had a melt-down. Once is acceptable, twice you scratch your head, three times you call in the men with grey suits. 20 melt-downs is beyond bang out of order. It’s a conspiracy to torture Arsenal fans.

We should be examining the disturbing statistics that apart from Sunderland, Arsenal last season had the most shots on target against them. The rest of the top 6 didn’t get even half that. I’m even petrified of checking another alleged statistic – that in 3 years at Arsenal, Petr Cech has conceded more goals than he did in his 11 years at Chelsea. I don’t want to know the answer, because if it were true, a Trojan horse is the only thing that comes to mind. I Prefer to believe that we’ve just been pathetic at defending.

Lemonade, Anyone?

So we are where we are. 6 points down and a hell of a lot of lemonade to make from a typically pathetic but predictable bunch of lemons. This is the crazy thing. Every time Arsenal gets on the pitch, I live, I dream, I hope. There’s an inexplicable rush of adrenaline that courses through my veins. It’s exciting, it’s frustrating, it’s what football is made of. But as YW frequently says, it’s the hope that kills you.

Right now, I’ll take 3 points from Bournemouth. Anything beyond that is over reaching.

117 thoughts on “STONE COLD FRIDAY: The Circus Is Over, But The Clowns Are Still In Town

  1. HenryB,

    If we were to use the loan system as a development tool rather than just a way to get youngsters some playing time, we might get a better feel for which players have the potential to make the grade. Chelsea has a specialist loan coordinator/relationship manager who provides regular feedback on how the youngsters are performing and what areas they need to work on. If players are not up to first team standard, they are at least of a quality to be saleable.
    If we are not putting the effort into player development, it is unlikely that we will ever generate much quality from our youth programme. Players with raw talent can develop off their own backs, but most need real guidance.

  2. The youth programme could be a genuine profit centre for the club, but this would require commitment and would mean that Wenger would have to delegate real responsibility.

  3. Wavey,

    Wenger doesn’t like our youngsters taking a different approach from the “just go out express yourself” philosophy that he imposes from top to bottom at the club. No wonder he was glad to see the back of Jonker. No surprise our kids don’t develop, I’d imagine that they struggle when they go elsewhere and realise there’s more to the game than that.

  4. DALM – Croenke loves Arsenal because he knows the supporters all thinks they’re fans, when they’re really just consumers. He knows he can do whatever he likes because most “fans” will suck shit through a straw with a smile on their faces. That’s the beauty of owning sports franchises. But that won’t last forever. As said above, Older fans will die out or leave; new fans won’t come. There will be a spiral down which is incredibly hard to reverse. But, of course, he’ll be long gone by then.
    As for my attitude to Arsenal. I support the players once they’ve crossed over the white line. But I won’t pay a penny to prop up the club. Nor will I pay a penny to any other club. Club football is now a revolting money-grabbing exercise. The only thing pure about it occurs between the goal-posts once a week.

  5. Arsene has been searching for his Mbappe for 13 years without success and its cost a lot of points. IMO.

    If we use the loan system we don’t have to sacrifice points but we still can still identify that 1/1000 special talent who might come thru the ranks.

  6. I can understand the sentiment that some might have that we are probably going to have a crappy year anyway so we might as play Nelson because at least he will show some fight. However, realistically we can’t take that approach. If Sanchez does play reasonably well and scores in the mid -high teens and gets double digit assists and Lacazette is able to score in the mid – high teens and our defense settles down we are certainly a threat to make the top 4. As tempting as it might be, we can’t throw in the towel after 3 games.

  7. Well, at least we are 2 defeats away from officially giving up on the title. I know there is 35 games left….But who are we kidding, 12 points adrift and we are done and dusted.

    You’d think that Arsene and Arsenal played all the farcical comedies with all the available material they had, but you gotta give it to them for always coming up with more hilarious shit.

    Oh, to be a gooner!

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  9. One of the many reasons Wenger has not found his own Mbappe in 13 years is because he is a shit coach.

    Let me rephrase, he’s NOT a coach at all.

    We might have only missed 4th spot by 1 point last season, but in truth that does not truly reflect how far we actually were from even standing a chance of making 4th.

    This season we will miss 4th by a fair chunk more than 1 point IMO.

    IMO we are more likely to miss out on ECL by 1 or more points this season.

    That would make us a mid-table club, who CAN afford to give 1st team minutes to promising youngsters, so we might as well get on with it from that perspective.

    However, getting back to the first point, Wenger is a shit coach and will misuse them anyway, thus fucking up their confidence and their careers, so from that perspective we should keep them away from him at all costs.

    This concept of “shut up and take it” is the final, shameful attempt by the slimy cunts who try and twist and turn to avoid their cult leader, Wenger, being shown up for the useless, incompetent cunt that he is.

    If we don’t want the club to be like Forest or Huddersfield way back, then to stop the bleeding we have to drive Wenger out the club as soon as possible.

    Make it an absolute shit shower for the cunt every week to force him out because he won’t go otherwise and he’ll sit there and destroy the club.

  10. G4E,

    I must admit I thought that the Suarez bid couldn’t be topped for sheer lunacy, but agreeing to sell your most influential player and then pulling the deal at the last minute takes the biscuit. I just don’t see Alexis coming back into the fold and knuckling down for the season. The rumoured £30m we may get for him in January is surely just a vague hope. I’d probably bite City’s hand off for that now, as I really don’t think Alexis is going to show any commitment at all.

    The Sun has come out with some utter tosh today (no change there) suggesting City may sue us over the pulled deal. Obviously a load of old crap. It was well publicised on Thursday that the deal was subject to Arsenal bringing in a replacement. We didn’t, deal off, too bad.

  11. “BBC journalist suggests Arsenal could spend big in January”

    Who dreams up this shit?

    Worse, is there any idiot who actually believes it still?

    My first thought was that this was very odd in that there are no season ticket renewals around January, so why bother?

    However, this is probably just another dumb PR attempt by the club to con the more gullible fans into not spending time during every match telling Wenger he’s a cunt who doesn’t know what he’s doing.

  12. Both Kolo Toure and Flamini are free agents, so would not be surprised if they ended up training at London Colney. Would Wenger be daft enough to give one, or both of them a short term contract?
    Joe Ledley is also a free agent and needs to find a home to keep match fit if he hopes to carry on playing for Wales. How about a short term deal for him? There must be a few such candidates out there who could bring a bit more steel to our midfield than we have now and some of them would be an improvement over Coquelin. Joe Ledley might be a bit of a stretch, but its close.

  13. MikeSA,

    That was one of the gems that came out of Ornstein’s summing up of Arsenal’s transfer window activity. He came out with some nonsense that the club is keeping some funds available for the next 2 transfer windows. After he finished his little video he hopped off the chair and sat back on Wenger’s knee.

  14. Wavey,

    So true Wavey.

    You have to wonder what purpose is served by “saving” money for transfers “next window/s”

    By then, prices will have rocketed and the “saved” money will be worth half of what it could have been (its akin to saving money in your mattress for a year and wondering why it buys less than what it did a year back).

    Money/figures on a balance sheet/in a bank account seem to struggle even more than all our “strikers” to score goals. (or our defenders to defend, or our midfielders to…….., oh, wtf).

    Even if we do, by some miracle, actually spend the hoarded money, chances are good that it will be done too late to integrate whatever we buy (usually mid-range dross), into the team for the season. (even if they are bought in good time, Wenger will leave them on the bench anyway, no matter how good they are).

    Personally I suspect this is the club “planning ahead”.

    And by “planning” I mean “laying the groundwork for next season’s season ticket renewal bullshit parade”.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Wenger feels that he didn’t get enough milage out of this season’s purchases, so figures next season he might as well not purchase anyone of note and can just “float” the idea from the start about it without any actual purchases at all.

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