The Premier League: A Land Where Dreams Come True?

The sun is shining, which on a bank holiday weekend is a surprise. Or at least that’s how the cliche goes. It’s staying out until the barbecues are cleaned and started gently smoking; then the heavens will open. Always do; a nation of enthusiastic, if limited, barbecuists we may be, but when it comes to cooking under an umbrella or temporary shelter such as garage doors, we’re experts.

Not even an unexpected downpour can dampen my enthusiasm for today though. Not because I want to say goodbye to Arsène but even the weather can’t spoil life when Stoke City are relegated.

The knuckle-dragging, slavering Orcs are gone. Masters of their own destruction, the dreariest people on the planet are consigned to the Football League, who are already trying to find a way to lock them in the basement and never let them out again.

Their relegation is the weekend’s ‘I love the smell of napalm in the morning’ moment, and poor ickle Ryan’s own misery made it all the more enjoyable. It takes some balls to say in an interview that “some people need to take a long, hard look at themselves” when you’re the drongo who made the mistake which confirmed the club’s relegation.

They might come straight back up, but gloriously, I doubt it. The Premier League might be rid of their stench for three or four years, at the very least which is something we can rejoice in.

High Apple Pie…

All of which segues into Arsenal with talk of ineptitude. I welcomed a day off yesterday and not having to pen pieces about a disappointing defeat – thanks to Isaac for all his efforts every Friday.

Losing in Madrid left me numb, to be honest. Not angry, nor bitter; I was resigned to the inevitability of a cock-up causing it. The usual pre-match hope was there but there was something missing. The crossing was bad and we didn’t create many chances.

Credit to Atletico’s organisation for the latter; in a season where harum-scarum defending has ruled, theirs is an object lesson in what organisation can achieve. Godin is a good defender, a good organiser and that’s what you need at the heart of the back four: someone in charge. We lack that and have done so since the time of the Invincibles.

But each of that back four knew their role, what was expected of them as did the rest of the team. When Arsenal had the ball, they dropped back; when the counter was on, the same players flooded forward. They were fitter than us, hungrier than us; better than us.

That thinking is the antithesis of Arsène’s free-thinking philosophy. The reality is that players don’t want to make up their own mind about what to do, where to be; they like structure. Guardiola’s philosophy, according to those who played for him, is that everyone knows their role in the side for the first two-thirds of the pitch. Only when they get to the opposition penalty area does he give them free reign.

We lack the discipline and leadership to make the foundation of that work.

Laurent Koscielny’s injury will change that for the new boss. The new boss can’t be the same as the old boss.

…In The Sky Hopes

Tomorrow is the time when the Emirates says goodbye to Arsène and a big shindig is under way. There are those who don’t want to without adding “good riddance” and frankly, I see no point in that attitude. Change is happening and instead of becoming wrapped in bitterness, embrace the moment; there’s a bright new future ahead. A rebirth, if you like, of both the club and in my case, the enthusiasm for the game.

But instead of focusing on the negatives of recent years, let the day be about remembering the good times. It hasn’t all been bad, let’s not forget that. But as I said earlier, change is happening and that’s what was needed. So enjoy the moment; remember the good football not what it has morphed into.

And look ahead with optimism.

’til Tomorrow.

22 thoughts on “The Premier League: A Land Where Dreams Come True?

  1. Morning
    Good read, although it is too soon for me to feel that charitable for the time being, his payoff will be more than I have earned in over 50 years working. Along with everything, he has dragged our expectations down.

  2. Good morning YW bitterness towards AW is pointless. He’s tried his best and we can see that year in year for the last 7-8 seasons results bear testimony to a decline.

    Like yourself I was resigned to us not being able to compete and win over the 2 legs.

    I look forward to a new Manager, a new era.

  3. Yogi,
    The last paragraph of your worthy post rightfully remembers the good years under Arsene Wenger.
    It’s so easy to moan about the times when success was limited and Arsenal FC didn’t win the Championships, although even then the Club’s status remained the envy of most rival supporters at home and abroad.
    Those fickle followers who only demand perpetual success should remember that we have no divine right to it.
    Now we await a new manager and one would hope that all true followers of our great Club will afford him 100% support and much patience. Success isn’t guaranteed no matter how good the new regime turns out to be. 😉

  4. Awesome post. As usual I agree with everything you say. I hope the game tomorrow becomes a Wenger love fest. I have probably I have been Arsene’s harshest critical for the longest time of any of the blog regulars but from what little I know of Arsenal history I suspect the first 7-8 years of his managerial reign were some of the best years in the history of Arsenal Football club. I lost faith in Arsene in October 2008 when first it became obvious that in his zeal to build the club his way and to win with project youth and his version of beautiful football that he somehow had lost the picture in terms of the importance of team defense. That said our results were better then I would have thought possible in 2005 -2009 and I will admit that he may have been the right man to lead us thru the early Emirates era. It was not until the trophy free years began to pile up that his ego and stubborn singleminded approach truly started to become a major liability. For everything he did prior to 2010 I think he deserves a statue in front of the Emirates and I hope plans for that monument are announced at the game tomorrow.

  5. Nicky
    Nowhere have I seen anyone, anywhere demanding perpetual success, what I and others have expected is a challenge for the title and CL. Personally I prefer FA cup to CL, but except that CL carries more kudos. There has been no challenge for 10 years, think about that.
    I am not bitter despite that it may seem so, but to get off the hook so easily, I’m just not ready to say “yes he was great and thanks”

  6. I think the bitterness is because there was a glaring rip off. Even though the manager was culpable, he isn’t the only culprit. The board and the owners still remain, and people will learn of the part they played in undermining Arsenal and allowing Wenger, to dig himself into a hole. Ultimately, Wenger took the fall because unlike Fergie, he stubbornly believed he was the best mind.

    It’s this arrogance I have always viewed as tasteless.

    If you walk into a high class restaurant and the service is poor compared to what you are charged and what you have become accustomed to, you will complain. It’s the same way some fans feel. We all can’t respond the same. If Wenger were truly honest and caring, he would have called it quits, when the planes started flying with banners. The angst fans expressed and how long we were suppressed is saddening.

    Any protest with a large crowd, soon became an opportunity, for fans all over the world, to showcase their Wenger Out placards. So things would be better once the new manager is announced and he is a person who most can relate to or else, I can wager that the new tune could soon be Kroenke Out. Because they let a bad sore fester for too long.

    There are always unreasonable fans, and social media has increased their capacity to display their feckless attitude, but the prolonged battle to redeem the Arsenal might have galvanized the fan base into savvy supporters who won’t brook ineptitude from the current management and owners.

  7. Wenger was a failure in terms of leadership. People can say fond words but, he himself realized too late that he was no more a threat. A truly great leader must learn to delegate responsibility to his subordinates, Wenger failed im that regard by restricting Bould from working on the defence, stopping Keown from using video evidence to explain to players, where they erred on the pitch.

    Wenger failed as a leader to listen to feedback from others, believing himself to be the best authority on all matters. While he ignorantly undermimed and understaffed the football team of key positional strength to strengthen the teams attacking play and ignite a serious title challenge for close to 9 years. How many organisations with a similar revenue profile allowed such a glaring mistake to happen ? Inevitably, the lack of advisers, inability to address glaring issues and the dubious targets of being among the top players without challenging for honors made fans a laughing stock. Poor leadership once again.

    The inability to inculcate a strong mentality into the players was a personal flaw reproduced in the players and successive generations of new players showed no aggression. The reports that Koscielny broke into tears at a team meeting is so demeaning of a pro footballer. It is a trait allowed to foster in an environment where goals and discipline are mediocre. Another glaring pointer to a failure in leadership.

    Make no mistake, Wenger’s best years hapoened because he had a real leader guiding him, in David Dein. The moment he left the Arsenal board, the decline began.

  8. I had not watched stoke play since they beat us 1-0 early this season. They are truly aweful and I doubt they will be back up any time soon.

  9. The dump called Stoke was swirling in the Premier League toilet for 10 years, is finally flushed. What a horrible team that reflects everything wrong with English Football and some horrible managers to boot.

    ***

    Good advise YW on enjoying the last Home game, then maybe a couple of disappointing games away from Home, then Finally raising the curtains on Wenger’s bust at the Emirates.

    Enjoy is the key word.

    ***

    I really think Koscielny should be shipped off, he’s 32 with Achilles problems. Should be going on the same plane with Wenger. I don’t hate Koscielny, his story is commendable but he was never a defender you can count on 100%, maybe it’s a good thing for France too.

    ***

    On the hope thing, don’t forget we can lose to Burnley tomorrow.

  10. Lari03

    Arsene had an over abundance of self confidence and he clearly has a charisma that he used to convince the board to give him the keys to the kingdom when the new stadium opened. Arsene then had the blank pallet he needed and the freedom to build the team and the organization exactly the way he wanted. His vision of a revolving door of home grown world class talent from his academy and winning with his version of total attacking football was very ambitious and admittedly noble goals. The first couple years project youth and Wengerball looked good and Arsene’s reputation grew and most fans and the English media and all of world football were singing his praises. However, in the end the self confidence and unwillingness to compromise which was an asset early in the Emirates era became a big part why things went wrong in this decade

  11. The excitement and optimism of the project youth era ended with the melt down In the last part of the 10/11 season and then Fabregas left followed by losing 8-2 at Old Trafford. The trolley dash of transfer activity which followed that game signaled the start of this decade of stagnation and the objective became doing whatever we could to hold on to 4th place.

  12. I doubt anyone is going to boo Wenger at the match, as much as some might secretly hope for so they can attempt to morally laud it over others.

    Far more likely is that those who feel Wenger no longer deserves any respect based on all the well-documented personality failures will just not feel any compunction to sing his praises and will just not participate in that aspect.

    They are perfectly entitled to do so.

  13. Stoke relegated.

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

    This generation’s Wimbledon or Leeds of old.

  14. Bill,
    Most of Arsene’s critics acknowledge his charisma and artistic view on how the game should be played. However it wasn’t enough to achieve the aim of winning trophies, though it kept us in the top 4 at the time.

    Those flaws which bred lily livered professionals certainly did not sit well with a lot of fans. His famous cliches ‘playing with the handbrakes on’ or ‘lacking mental strength’ were they genuine words or excuses to hide behind ? Ras once described him as a chancer.

    Tomorrow’s game would be a good time to appreciate the contributions he made to this club. Good administrator he was, but a poor leader.

  15. That was really well written and I applaud your sentiment, I really do.

    I too look forward with awakened enthipusiasm to the future of our club, it will be, at least, a chance to breath, to see some alternative vision of how football can be after the sterility of the past few years.

    I do not wish Arsene any ill but will not be wishing him anything other than a retirement far from Arsenal. All affection and respect that I had for the man has long been eroded away. That is just the way it is.

  16. Mate dislike him quite a bit for the way he bossed Arsene and Arsenal all thise years but never good to hear emergency surgery and brain in the same sentence. Prayers go out for Fergie.

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