Clive Dunn was a man ahead of his time. Lance Corporal Jones “Don’t panic! Don’t panic!” filled the living rooms and lounges of the nation on a weekly basis. With repeats, it really does seem like it was every week and this in a time when we had just three – count ’em – three television channels.
We may need some cheerleaders to become Jonesy’s in the Arsenal world. The last six games saw us drop 11 points; the reaction of a team which forgot how to lose. 22-games undefeated morphing into a run of indifference.
It’s not a dissimilar reaction to the Invincibles following defeat at Old Trafford. Not dissimilar to George Graham’s ’86-87 side which went something like 17 or 18 league games unbeaten and didn’t win for a couple of months after.
What’s happening now isn’t unusual and based on the fixture list, a situation which isn’t going to change soon. Chelsea and City in a fortnight, United in between; it’s not going to be pleasant reading at the end of the season.
On the plus side, we have plenty of time to put things right before the back-to-back games against United and Tottenham in March. Whether we can is a separate issue.
If you think this feverish inquisition of Unai Emery’s performance as coach and the squad deficiencies is hard going, I think we’re some way off the nadir of reactions. That will come post-Chelsea and City; we’re fighting for fifth and sixth for a good reason with little funding to improve the squad.
Do I want to hear from the club about what is going on? Not really; Ivan said the fine words and the situation never got close to the Twiglet Zone he inhabited. I don’t need fine words from Raul and Sven; I need action.
Pick ‘n’ Mix
Unai Emery is rightly being questioned over what’s happening on the pitch but it’s a matter of time before eyes are cast at other aspects of the club. Recruitment, commercials; all feed into the resources available to the coach so as much as he is front and centre, the others aren’t out of the picture either.
But that is the solution. Raising a half-decent fee enables squad regeneration to take place. We won’t get market-rate for him; we never do. We’re Arsenal and that is such a vulgar concept.
Or maybe we will get market-rate for him. Maybe Ozil is only worth roughly what we paid for him, perhaps a little less? He’s at the dreaded three-word in terms of age so it’s all downhill from here in a footballing sense.
There is one high-profile issue to be dealt with which is heading toward a summer resolution. Finding a new home for Mesut Ozil is a big issue that isn’t necessarily going to be straightforward. In a football sense, on ability, selling your chief playmaker is counter-intuitive to our situation.
Of course, the script is being written for Ozil to come back into the XI on Saturday, score a hat-trick and create four others as we thrash Chelsea 7 – 0.
Positions over whether to pick him or pack him off are fairly entrenched. We’re desperate for solutions, even ones we know or at the very least suspect, aren’t going to work.
Or lose 8 – 7 given our defensive woes.
The problems within football teams are rarely solved quickly. Team changes can influence results, make them better and we think that’s what is needed. It’s all a bit superficial because we know that is tinkering around the edges.
Doctor, Doctor, I Think I’m A Pair of Curtains…
Therein is the rub. Even a signing or two won’t fundamentally alter our season, not in the Premier League anyways. They might in cups but in the league it is a collective solution we need.
Whether we’ll find it is another matter.