It’s all about the media, isn’t it. Even this morning’s playlist, Pressing Matters, references them as well. It’s in the right sidebar on Dad’s Jukebox or on the archives page of the same name.
Most supporters, offered the opportunity, would love to manage a Premier League club – their club – even for just a short while – and let’s be honest, it would be a short time – to put into practice their ideas, ideals and be handsomely rewarded for the joy. How long it would remain a pleasure depends on results and your tolerance of stress.
At the moment, Arsène isn’t particularly enjoying his work. Wins over Tottenham and Leicester were quickly forgotten as the tiller, steadied after defeats in Zagreb and west London had rocked it, was shaken and continues to reverberate following Olympiakos’ win at The Emirates on Tuesday night.
Having been tetchy with the media in recent weeks over the same issue, or whichever variant happens to be that week’s flavour, Wenger snapped at yesterday’s press conference. Directed by the puppet master, Arsène threatened to walk out if questions persisted about anything to do with Captain Black. It might, to some, seem a valid question as to whether Wenger is under pressure but his reaction pretty much answers that. Who exerts that pressure is equally valid because the board’s public utterances suggest it isn’t them which means it has to be Arsène himself; it isn’t the owner, that’s for certain.
Not just in press conferences but having a microphone shoved toward you as you survey the landscape of victory (or wreckage of defeat) will at varying points test the urbanity of many a man. Even the most genial will at some point snap. But it’s part of the job and has to be dealt with.
Media relations at Arsenal, for the most part, seem cordial. Judging by reports of other managers down the years, Wenger appears to have less run-ins with journalists. Even when the stories move from the back pages nearer to the front, he has never resorted, as far as I can recall, to banning the media or refusing to talk to a particular outlet. Someone will no doubt prove me wrong on that one.
I think you lack a bit of creativity in the press at the moment, that you follow a bandwagon that is very very, very, very boring.
Yup, it certainly is. But that rather ignores what they are writing about. It’s human nature to focus on one aspect of a defeat, especially those by a single goal margin where one of the goals conceded comes from your second choice goalkeeper, drafted in for a must-win match.
Petr Cech may well have carried a knock but including him on the bench when he may have been needed from the first minute, doesn’t really convince anyone that you always intended to play David Ospina. I thought the Colombian would play even though it was a match of great importance in the context of qualifying for the next round of the Champions League; he is this season’s cup goalkeeper.
Why not just admit that selection choice and take the flak which was inevitably coming your way?
I agree, it’s harsh on Ospina when the root cause of defeat was poor defending. “We have lost the game because we didn’t defend well, yes the goalkeeper made a mistake, but we could still have won the game in spite of that“, is exactly right but we didn’t come back, we didn’t win. Marks out of ten for brazening it out though Arsène; you are the only one who believes, “We learn from victory and we learn from defeat“. All the evidence suggests no, no we don’t.
I wouldn’t expect you to agree Arsène but as much as it is tiresome to find the media rattling on about one aspect of Tuesday’s defeat, it is even more tiresome to see the same mistakes, year after year, causing defeats. Trust me, nothing puts a duller shine on defeat than seeing utter naïvety in the team’s performance. Perhaps you can explain where the lessons learned from losing at home to Monaco last season were displayed on Tuesday night?
No wonder the press “come back always to the same story.”
And as much as Arsène may not like it, there has been plenty of analysis of this week’s defeat with Sam Wallace and Amy Lawrence in particular highlighting the repetitious nature of it all. Wallace made a fair point; there was something too phlegmatic about losing at home to Olympiakos. The reaction from the players and manager lacked any publicly displayed self-awareness that the same mistakes were being made time and again. It is puzzling to me how Wenger has struggled to get to grips with the requirements of playing in Europe over the years. We’ll never know why.
It wasn’t even the biggest story or shouldn’t have been. Laurent Koscielny has twanged his hamstring and misses the next three weeks. Which is inconvenient for France but makes precious little difference to Arsenal beyond Sunday. Thankfully, Gabriel’s suspension is served and he can step into the line-up with minimal fuss.
And he may well be there for some time; three weeks is a fairly loose timescale in Arsène speak. Koscielny may genuinely be back for the trip to Vicarage Road but it wouldn’t be any surprise if he didn’t resurface this side of Christmas. The hastily tagged, “something like that“, just added to the vagueness of it all.
Francis Coquelin fit enough for Tuesday, is fit enough for Sunday so it’s nice to know that two games in five days isn’t too much for the young man. Probably just as well given that Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini are both out. I seem to recall that Arsène commented at the time their injuries were first announced that the pair would be out for days. Obviously that’s twenty-one days or three weeks to you or I.