Swansea City 3 – 1 Arsenal
Thank god there’s a transfer window to distract from the football.
I don’t know where to begin. We’re a team bereft of confidence, lacking leadership and so dull that Alan Shearer wouldn’t less us creosote his fence. We’ve become the antithesis of everything Arsène used to hold dear and all that tiki-taka was not. Arsenal 2017 is full of aimless sideway passes and when Mesut Özil is snuffed out of the game, we have no-one with the invention to drive us forward.
Jack normally does that, but illness ruled him out last night so Aaron Ramsey returned. The binary argument of either one or the other in the team ended last night. Ramsey isn’t the same player as Wilshere; the question is whether Xhaka or Ramsey is the right partner for Jack.
The Swiss put up a compelling case for the Welshman. Xhaka was, well; I’m tired of writing about defensive frailties, of how players let runners go. This is a defeat that while the players don’t get a free pass, the repetitious nature of it means Wenger must shoulder responsibility.
You can argue that it isn’t the manager’s fault when midfielders don’t track back or if defenders don’t make tackles. But when these faults recur, it’s obvious they aren’t being addressed on the training ground. That’s down to the manager and coaching staff.
Yes, Petr Cech’s error was a nightmare and really puts us on the back foot next summer. Where was our response? Where was the attacking purpose to reclaim a goal? We conceded an equaliser before we’d even settled back into our nonchalant routine; did we strike back at Swansea as quickly? No, because they managed the game. We, with all our fancy wage bill, failed miserably at that. Again.
Arsène wittered on about how Swansea won the duels but this was a side rooted to the bottom of the table and which hadn’t scored more than two goals in a match all season. Not once.
We are 19 points from the relegation battle, 23 off the top of the table. You scoff at George Graham and the mid-table finish but this is as bad. It’s worse given the calibre of the players. Wenger is incapable of inspiring the team, of firing them up and dare I say it, making them fearful for their places.
We’re signing a new £55m striker having coached the belief out of the £52m striker we signed in the summer. That’s going to work well, isn’t it?
Regularly, I read the acolytes telling us we can’t compete financially with City or United. Well, duh. Of course we can’t; it means we compete by being smarter in the market, better at squad building and superb at coaching to create a team which can challenge. You know, how we used to do it.
Except we can’t do that anymore. Our mojo has gone in the transfer market and we don’t have a coherent squad-building policy. We panic buy to plaster over the cracks. Nice shiny striker? Thanks, but what about the defensive midfielder, centre back and goalkeeper?
What will we do when Nacho Monreal stops scoring? We can’t defend to save our lives. Three at the back has been ditched by a manager who doesn’t believe in it. He told us he used the system 20 years ago when we won the league. He is consistent, I’ll give him that. Doesn’t like three at the back, doesn’t want to win the league anymore.
Don’t Let the Door Slap You on the Arse on the Way Out
And when we go to a back four, he subs the one defensively minded midfielder we have and leaves the slapdash £30m misfit on the pitch. There’s no cohesion in the manager’s thinking. Xhaka was anonymous last night while Elneny was proving to be our best defender. So we take him off.
It’s not the only curio. Alexis was ready to step into United’s team, Mkhitaryan not so, despite having a week to bed into the Arsenal set-up. Presumably, Aubameyang will make his debut in August.
I’m tired of writing the same post over and over and over again. I’m tired of seeing the same horror show over and over and over again. Paddy can’t even be bothered to stand up and sing anymore, he’s so fed up with it all.
The manager has to leave this summer, if not sooner; it’s as simple as that.