On Jinxes, Hippies and Getting the Right Answers

It’s easy at this time of the season to be consumed by the ‘ifs, buts, and maybes’ of a season, of what’s gone wrong. The spin doctors tell you that it’s either the blue kit which is a jinx, casting a spell on our abysmal away form. It’s so bad that not even George Graham’s worst spell was this dire, which is saying something.

If it isn’t the blue kit, it’s the negativity surrounding the club which is casting its bad karma in the air, man, and don’t spread the bad vibes. Which is bizarre since our home form is third best in the Premier League, trailing United in second by one goal. If anywhere was going to suffer from negativity, it would be the Emirates.

Bloody hippies.

Which points us in one direction. Maybe we’re just not very good. We have some good players but as a team, we’re a bit crap. None of which is earth-shattering, but at the very least it ought to stop us being mentioned in the ubiquitous ‘who Arsenal/United/Liverpool/Spurs/Chelsea must sign to be contenders’ articles. But no, not at all.

We could fill one of those articles ourselves. We need to sign a new manager, coaching staff, goalkeepers, centre backs; the list isn’t endless but then again, our pockets are far from being deep enough to sign every manager, coach or player that we need.

In short, we’ve turned into the Liverpool side from 1991 to this season. Occasional flashes of brilliance but overwhelmingly mediocre. The major difference is we’re not going to win the Champions League. Not during this manager’s reign, anyways.

His time was 2004 to 2009; that was Wenger’s golden period as far as the competition is concerned. That’s the time we genuinely were one of best eight teams in Europe.

Happy days.

God, You’re Square.

It’s why there’s so much nostalgia about the club. Sunday, for example, was ‘celebrated’ as the anniversary of ‘Dennis Bergkamp Day’ in 2006. We beat West Brom 3 – 1 and the great man set up the second, scoring the third with his own customary brilliance. His final goal for the club in a fitting environment. Short of being in front of the North Bank rather than the Clock End, there was nothing more to make the moment any more perfect.

But we’ve resorted to celebrating run-of-the-mill matches. That match is only memorable for being Bergkamp’s last goal, nothing more and frankly, is that something to be happy about. A tinge of sadness, appropriate for the way the performance at Newcastle unfolded.

If we’re going to celebrate the club’s past, The Arsenal History and Gary Lawrence’s excellent Highbury Heroes series on Gunner’s Town is the way to go about things.

Now, we’ve must look forward. Some believe the empty seats are finally affecting those board members who were previously loyal to Wenger with more ‘persuaded’ that this summer is the time to part company.

In the past, that’s been the cue for a cup triumph so will Wenger deliver the Europa League this season? Even if he does, someone must be in his ear to tell him to walk away on a high; third time lucky and all that. I suspect his answer would be just one more try at the Champions League.

Enos, for a man who keeps on telling us this is his investment, Arsenal is a business, is surprisingly sentimental. His departure won’t be governed by raw data, but if the board sees a tail off in renewals of the ‘corporate’ seats, particularly with a new tier being installed, then the pressure may be too much to ignore.

Yeah, Sure, OK. So Long.

What a state we find ourselves in. World Cup years are always tumultuous in terms of managerial change. The club may never get a better chance to find a top-quality replacement for Wenger. Not until 2022, at least. That may well be our best bit of transfer business this summer: a new manager.

Certainly there’s a school of thought we could achieve more with someone new at the helm. A new way of thinking, a different footballing philosophy. There’s an element of truth in that but new personnel are also needed for that to work. We saw on Sunday how fitting square pegs in round holes neuters individual performances. We also saw how shambolic some of our experienced players are; there is no one soultion to Arsenal’s woes.

The question is whether there is a will to fix them. I’m not convinced I like Enos’ answer to that question…

’til Tomorrow.

18 thoughts on “On Jinxes, Hippies and Getting the Right Answers

  1. Wenger likes breaking records…he’s been at Arsenal 22 years

    Ferguson was at United for 27 years…that’s 5 more years

    Wenger wants 5 more years…just chew on that for a while

  2. Speaking of records, arsenal is the only club in all four English divisions still to win a point away from home in 2018.

  3. Well that’s six years then as he’ll want to go better than Fergie.

    Let’s hope he really doesn’t have immunity from the sack, him being pushed out is the only way he’s going to leave. For him he is thinking of leaving in a box.

  4. I do wonder, after we lift the Europa League trophy this season will Arsene walk away having that final feather in his hat?

    Either way, I will enjoy the players and moments and bitch when they play like shit. There are really good players here that just need that extra push and to be directed. I think it was Lee Dixon (it could have been somebody else)who I heard recently say something to the extent of, ‘supporters think top players should be able to just go out and play but its quite the opposite, individually they can be great but a top manager gets the best out of them for the good of the team.’

    Contrary to what my mate Bill thinks, manager are vital.

  5. 3 more home matches left inc EL, can see plenty of empty seats coming up for Pl, maybe this time it will be too sunny …but you never know the powers that be might just cop on.

  6. Great post yogi.

    No matter how you slice and dice the numbers we have been stagnant for this entire 2010-18 decade and results wise we clearly started on the downward arc beginning in the second half of the 15/16 season when we dropped out of the race with only Leicester to compete with. This season it’s gotten so bad that we are going to have the worst finish in terms of league position and we are on pace to collect the fewest points, concede the most goals and have the worst goal differential the last 20 years. No matter what happens in the Europa league there is no way that any manager should survive and be left to manage another season after his club has performed so poorly.

  7. C

    “Contrary to what my mate Bill thinks, manager are vital.”

    You know I have spent more keystrokes complaining about Arsene and I have been campaigning for a new manager for lot longer then anyone else on the blog. My only point has been the players also deserve a share of the blame for their incredibly inconsistent performances.

  8. Clearly these players have proved they are capable of better performances then we have seen this season and they are certainly capable of competing for 4th place even with Arsene as manager. They have done it before with the same manager and the same tactics and the same lack of coaching. They have even proven this season they can execute and play well at times so what is stopping them from doing it more often? . When a manager loses the dressing room and the players stop executing then the first thing that has to happen is the team needs to change managers. I think we all accept that. However, the manager can’t kick the ball and for whatever reason the players are the ones who have tuned out the manager and stopped executing so they have to take some of the credit for 2 1/2 seasons that are full to the brim with performances like the one we just watched against Newcastle. That seems straightforward to me.

  9. Its not realistic to expect the results on the road to match home results but if we took our home form on the road we would be competing with Spurs and Liverpool for 4th place. The difference between our home and away results the last couple of season has to been historic and our road form is worthy of relegation fodder. We have the same manager and the same tactics and the same level of coaching instruction and we play the same teams home and away so we cant solely blame those factors for the incredibly striking difference between home and away results. The players have to take some of the blame for not executing in our road games

  10. C

    Our gut instinct is to defend the players we like and it feels better and its certainly much more tidy to blame Arsene for everything. I do it myself sometimes. However, as much as I want Arsene to go away, those instincts don’t always give us the correct answers to some of the specific questions we discuss and the objective should be to get the right answer even if its not always the one we want to hear. No?

  11. Bill,

    Honestly mate, all you have to do is look at the 2 players most think are clear favorites for Player of the Year: De Bruyne and Salah. Salah was wildly inconsistent at Roma and was known for creating chances but wildly inconsistent in his finishing yet Klopp has turned him into one of the best players in Europe. Debruyne was known as a player who had loads of talent but wouldn’t track back and was up and down yet Pep has tranformed him along with Sterling. Its great to have talent but that talent needs a platform, a structure within to play as a team. Individually we have talent but together without structure they look like a group of individuals.

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