Human Frailties and What’s The Plan?

Just a few days ago, he was being lauded as a folk hero for enjoying his son’s choice of Arsenal’s academy over Chelsea’s. This morning, it’s the tears of a clown. Emmanuel Eboue lays his life bare with tales of despair in the back pages.

I recall reading an interview with him some time ago that he was struggling with mental health issues while serving a FIFA-imposed ban after a contractual dispute with his former agent. Rumours surfaced – strongly refuted – in October that he was diagnosed HIV-positive when a blood test returned abnormal values while undergoing a medical with a Cypriot club.

Little wonder he has fallen on hard times with the ill-fortune suffered. If you can’t do anything yourself, you hope they have friends to whom they can turn.

Remember kids, being a human being isn’t just for Christmas, it’s for life.

Yesterday’s matches brought us to the halfway point of the Premier League season. We’re 21 points behind the leaders, but everyone is trailing in their wake so it’s a little pointless in using that as a benchmark. That we’re only 8 points behind second is more of a guide of where we stand at the moment. Five off third, a point off fourth.

I keep reading that we can’t compete for anything because of the money spent by the wealthiest clubs. Guardiola pinned down as a chequebook manager, is disproving that it is all down to money. Manchester City finished 15 points behind Chelsea last season, now they sit 16 ahead.

He’s spent money, net of around £140m this summer, which helps no end. There’s a “City Tax” on every fee they pay, probably inflating prices by around 20% but that’s the price they pay. Money isn’t the issue in this instance.

Listen, Lads, I’ve Got A Plan

Guardiola and City addressed the weaknesses in their squad; there was a plan for their business last summer in complete contrast to Arsenal where there was the usual fumble in the dark. It’s staggering that we thought our weaknesses would be solved by a new striker and left back.

Even if Alexis’ decision to leave only arrived post-Bayern as is being claimed, we needed more than a replacement for him as well. Where was the centre back? The goalkeeper? The defensive midfielder? I’m used to us going into a season one player short but this time, it was at least three and then add in two for the players in contractual disputes with the club. The best two so maybe we need to add one more into the mix because we won’t replace both Alexis and Mesut Özil like-for-like.

Half an XI at best we are short and I think that shows. None of the teams above us – City aside – are outstanding; we could quite easily overhaul them with ambition and a plan. That we’re lacking the latter, to me manifests in the switch to a back four once again.

Arsène surely hasn’t forgotten why he moved to a back three? If he had, the Liverpool game served as a genuine reminder why. An injury forced his hand against United, but since then? Four successive clean sheets with different combinations of players probably convinced him the problems were solved or if not, patched up.

Liverpool exposed the same frailties as ruthlessly as United. In the absence of a defensive midfielder, we go into the second half of the season with fourth as our ambition. Unless we take points from Chelsea, finishing higher will prove almost impossible.


But it depends on us having a plan. Is Arsène the man to have a plan or are we making this up on the hoof? I know what I think the answer is and you can probably guess it with no difficulty.

In the next six months, he has to decide his future. He doesn’t have to, but the clusterf*ck most of last season descended into dictates he does. However, the question is whether the board will impose that timetable on him? The good news is that next summer’s transfer planning is not in his hands. Deals will be struck by others, scouting is no longer under Wenger’s control.

Unrealistic expectations may be piled on the shoulders of new football men, but at least something is being done. Tangible results are nine months away; can they deliver?

Until then, we’ll stumble through the second half of the season in the same way we did the first.

’til Tomorrow.

32 thoughts on “Human Frailties and What’s The Plan?

  1. All the while Wenger remains in charge, supporters will go through the same futile hopes that are firmly dashed by the half-way stage of a season. Wenger’s management is a complete mess, but the owners (SKE) don’t seem to care. It will all end badly.

  2. I am sure AW sat up all night compiling and or drawing up a plan!

    The problem with a lot of old/older men is they forget where they put things, and get cranky when asked, “what did you do with the plan?”

    Incidentally, it struck me some years back that people lauded Sir Fungus for his passion and success, and carry on doing so now about Maureen, Conte, Pep and Kloppity — passion it may be, however the one thing they all seem to have in common is that they all seem barking.

    A very good Post, my friend, and divorced from the yah, boo, sucks of frustrated fandom, it was a very good read about reality, and our chances of changes to the club, as it gets hauled into the present, and away from the dead past. Kudos. 😀

  3. HenryB,

    Yes, good Post – perhaps Arsenal’s CEO is finally winning the war to move the club into the new post-Wenger era with the new appointments in key positions. There is hope yet, though is it merely ‘green shoots’ (of recovery) at this stage. A change of owner might speed things up too.

  4. Bonjour a tous. YW I wish I could find some other way ( words) to say how very grateful I am for your daily sermon. Merci sincerement.

    In the words of Sam Cooke A Change Is Going to Come. When? Is a other question, the sooner the better.

    AWs utterings about the Game being about ” entertainment” etc after the Liverpool match mask his short comings.

    I read earlier in the week how Salah was recommended to him by the Clubs Committee. He ( Klopp) was unsure about the player. The rest is history.

    I noted last night that there needs to be a serious “clear out” of a number of players; with NO sentimentality attached.

  5. James,

    The new appointments do bring signs that change is at hand. It will not come tho without a lot of tears — but if that is necessary — so be it.

    I just wish it could be otherwise, as I really got into supporting Arsenal in the 90s and it was wonderful with just Manure and ourselves vying for the top spot, and Arsene was a class act.

    All so long ago — and exchanging one penny-pinching owner, because of the stadium costs, for another one who is chasing profits, and is only starting to realise that money is not just the root of all evil, but it is also the key to buying the best players and bringing football success.

    Anyway, it’s Xmas and I refuse to be downhearted, either over the horrendous quality of the ‘Pool game, altho it was fun to get back at them in the 2nd half, and turn their 0 : 2 into 3 : 2 — and enjoying watching Klopp wet himself! 😀

  6. Granted we draw the game with Liverpool, Chelsea also drew, Man United also drew against lesser opposition. Is it every time we lose that we do these analysis with one capsule solution? Liverpool was up 2-0, we put three past them in five minutes and the reading is their defence is terrible. What about the attack that scored three in five minutes? Somebody somewhere just believe if Arsene is out, then all our problem is solved. When Klopp was available, he was the best coach on earth. In two years, he has won nothing. Just hope there is something you are seeing that some of us are not aware of. The only deficiency in the current arsenal team IMO is that we lack a defensive midfielder who can break play, refuse to allow the opposition play and initiate attack. Because its not only you that can play. Others can and we need to stop them. Wenger is a clean coach, that is not attractive to him but football is changing. He has to get that player. Tall, tough, rough, doing the dirty job. With that in January, we should be OK.

  7. HenryB,

    Yes definitely Henry, merry xmas and new year to all, great blog so thank you YW for that, I really like it….happy hols and may it get better by this time next year!!!!

  8. Good afternoon all, thanks for the post Yogi.

    It’s sad to hear what has happened to Eboue and it highlights the predicament of many sportsmen as they near the end of their careers. A few years of fame and fortune followed by a steady decline and a lapse into depression. I wish him the best of good luck and hope he can recover his health.

    Mid season and we are sixth, better than I expected after a decidedly dodgy start, but without a couple of strong reinforcements arriving in January I can’t see us finishing any better than fifth.

  9. Great post Yogi. Hopefully you get the day off tomorrow to enjoy the holiday with your family. Thoughts and prayers for Emmanuel Eboue. Our house is filled to the brim with people and dogs. My grandson came up to me the other day and whispered in my ear “Poppy I know the truth about Santa Claus”. I had a good laugh about that one. It truly is a wonderful life and sincere wishes for blessings and a very Merry Christmas to all ACLF.

  10. Regarding Arsenal I mentioned yesterday that at the half way point we are on pace to collect 68 points, score 68 goals and concede 46 goals. If we maintain this pace all 3 of those numbers would be very close to our worst during the Wenger era. Sanchez and Ozil have both had an underwhelming first half of the season and they might be tempted to mail in the rest of the season as it gets closer and closer to the end of their contracts. It could get really and truly ugly between now and May. On the other hand its possible that we might somehow paper over the cracks with another cup win but realistically our trend is definitely heading in the wrong direction and we have a lot of rebuilding to do. Interesting and potentially difficult days ahead.

  11. Bill.

    I hope you told the kids that Santa has many helpers who include their mom and dad, and before them your grand mom’s and grandad’s mom and dad, and their great grandmom and great granddad before that.

    He allows good little children into the secret of Santa, knowing they will help him by buying gifts and wrapping them and leaving them under the Xmas tree for their own kids when that time comes, just like their mom and dad does now.

    You do know that’s true, Bill?? 😀




  13. Had someone told me at the start of the season that Arsenal would be closer to the bottom dwelling Swansea on 13 points than the table topping City , I would’ve said they were smoking a lot of something not quite yet legal in all fifty states and needed to cut back for their own sanity’s sake.

    Happy holidays everyone.

  14. Evening all,

    Thanks for another fine post YW.

    Discounting Citeh who are now so far out of range we shouldn’t even be thinking about them, everyone else had a fairly average weekend except Spurs. It looks like we will be chasing the top 4 positions on a game by game basis and our final position will be solely down to which Arsenal turns up in the last couple of weeks of the season. If we leave it too late again we will likely just miss out.

    What can expect in the second half of the season is:

    Indifferent performances where we don’t really turn up, but somehow nick a point.
    The odd surprisingly poor performance against a team we would be expected to beat and end up losing against.
    A goal nicked late on to take all 3 points against teams we should be beating easily anyway.
    A solid performance out of the blue against one of big boys.

    And on that note have a great Xmas.

  15. HenryB,

    If everybody is bringing their favorite moonshine then for sure dinner is at my house!!!!

    Merry Christmas my big jolly friend and enjoy it!

  16. Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday’s to all my friends and Bill😉!

    Sad to hear about Eboue but it just puts an extra emphasis to spend as much time with family and friends

  17. Merry Christmas to one and all, Santa wears red and white so surely that’s a good omen right? That said with his big red nose and love of alcohol he’s probably more of a United fan (what is SAF up to these days?). 🎄🎄🎄🎄

  18. Peace and goodwill to all.

    To my friends here a Merry Christmas and to the ghost of Christmas past, to Ponyboy, AIC and G4E, a very Merry Christmas

  19. Morning all

    Season’s greetings, peace and goodwill to all – yes, even Arsène – hope you’re having a good time with family and friends.

    Back tomorrow with a post of sorts!

  20. Matene ĉio

    Saluton, pacon kaj bonvolon de la sezono al ĉiuj – jes, eĉ Arsene – esperas, ke vi havas bonan tempon kun familio kaj amikoj.

    Revenu morgaŭ kun afiŝo de varoj!

  21. Merry Christmas to all Aclfers and may you enjoy the festivities.

    Thank God for Football tomorrow😀.

  22. Happy holidays to everyone. I was thinking and I seem to have come to the conclusion, that Arsene Wenger’s insistence on not playing a defensive midfielder goes way back to when he sold Vieira. He has a good candidate in AMN, if he is not pleased with Coquelin and Elneny playing the dirty role. He was the same person who allowed Alex Song, who fitted the mould for Arsenal at the time, to maraud further up the pitch.

    So a young defensive midfielder comes into the team, but he will not play the role because Arsene Wenger has a way of setting up his teams without the need for a defensive midfielder.

    Well it might just be me or does anyone else notice this?

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