We all know the default mode on social media is rage. People rage about everything but usually about the trivial stuff. Not the important things like why there so many brown M&M’s when only weirdos like them. No, that’s left to slide under the radar while toys get thrown up in the air and volleyed back into prams.
Pundits are no better. Even ones who played at the highest level and managed less successfully. Yes, Tone, I’m talking about you. Merse, ditto. Yes, ditto. Not Jens. His calm exterior and placid demeanour looked like it would slip, with only decorum preventing a right cross landing on Merse’s chin. Even the host looked petrified the German was going to explode.
The one thing they all had in common was a rush to judgement. One match against the champions was enough to condemn the manager and tactics. Some critics couldn’t wait to put the boot in. Sam Allardyce, an abject failure at everywhere bar Bolton and Blackburn, decided Unai Emery’s tactics were ‘stupid’. Had the Spaniard kept Arsène’s philosophy, that would have been ‘stupid’ as well.
Everyone is stupid in Sam’s world. Football club chairmen who don’t interview him for jobs, FA suits, journalists; everyone but the Walrus of Footballing Love himself. He’s clever; a Mekon whose footballing brain is beyond the capacity of us mere mortals.
Anyway, in a desperate attempt to whip up a frenzy, the talking heads span frenetically as they whirred incomprehensibly about bad tactics, bad players and it was all bad, bad, BAD!! Ivan let it be known the board were going to let Unai have enough rope to hang himself. Sorry, a lot of time to sort it out. Otherwise, the board had nothing to say, Sir Chips claimed.
Don’t @ Me
The usual trolls were out, “@”ing Petr Cech and I’m sure, Unai Emery. Cech – or his PR team – responded, making the, ahem, critic look foolish. He didn’t care; his bio now reads, “Petr Cech @’d me” or something which celebrated the interaction.
So many veins are bulging in heads and on necks that the earth is spinning off its’ access.
This is modern football; hyperbole is king and unfortunately, that king isn’t dead. But if ever there was a king who deserved to be found dead on the commode, it’s hyperbole.
The rest of us look at the performance and wonder how many changes Emery will make for the visit to Stamford Bridge. Despite sub-par distribution, Cech is likely to start. The coach said afterwards that Leno has to be patient and earn his chance. I suspect that a repeat performance from Cech this weekend will see the German in for the match against West Ham.
Emery is in an invidious position. Wholesale changes are out of the question; we don’t have the squad to effect wholesale changes. However, changes to personnel in one or two positions will happen. Nacho Monreal will probably come in on the left, depending on his fitness. Lucas Torreira is another whom I expect to start at Stamford Bridge.
The remainder will probably keep their places. Away from home, we’ll sit and play on the counter-attack. That may suit us better in these early days. Merse got one thing right last night: it’s going to take weeks, maybe months for the coach to get inside the players’ heads to effect change. This is a club over which one person ruled and his philosophy; it will take time for that to change. Players reacted instinctively to Arsène’s thinking; those reactions must be changed which isn’t a quick process.
Patience in modern football is always in short supply, but if ever any were needed Arsenal is the case. I understand some of the lack of patience. Some of it is ego, some is a desire for Wenger’s replacement to fail to crow that it was wrong to sack the Frenchman. Yes, I am aware that a blogger is the last person to point out anyone’s ego.
But there are an awful lot of people who are putting self before the club. Yeah, yeah, bloggers, etc. See the previous comment.
In all this, the only thing which matters is that the coaching staff get their message through to the players. That they make sure the mistakes of Sunday aren’t replaced on Saturday night. It’s a steep learning curve for everyone involved on the playing side and everything else is just noise.