It’s been a while since I’ve written anything for Gunners Town, mainly as I’m writing a dissertation at the moment and that’s taking all the spare time I have right now. Thanks for Gunners Town firstly, for bearing with me during this time.
Since I’ve been away, we’ve had some ups and downs haven’t we. Sending offs, penalties going against us, a couple of devastating defeats and a bit of tiredness seems to be creeping in. Above all else, a sense of desperation rings around the club right now, one I suspect is due to a distinct lack of trophies.
I understand the desperation to win a trophy, any trophy. It’s been far too long for a club of our stature. We are one of the world’s biggest clubs, we have one of the best stadiums in world football and we have the infrastructure to be successful for the next 100 years. There’s a keyword in that sentence just above in case any of you missed it.
While we’ve missed out on trophies, we’ve been building a model of a football club that the board truly believe in and have invested heavily in. This isn’t a blog about that, there’s many out there that are far better qualified than me to talk on such matters and people who are probably much more well informed.
I want to talk instead about the reactions of some of our fans to the events of this season. Yes it’s been nine years, yes it’s taken time and yes we’re all frustrated. But for the first time in nine years, it looked as if we had a realistic shot at winning a Premier League title. This could be the reason that the reactions have been mind-blowing for me. I must admit though, Saturday afternoon I was absolutely gutted. More so than any other result. I was confident going into the game we could at least garner a point. What I witnessed was pathetic, let alone embarrassing.
Arsene Wenger. The only manager I’ve ever known at Arsenal in my 21 years on the planet. Am I scared he’ll have had enough and leave at the end of this season? Petrified. He’s put up with a segment of the fans calling for his head for seasons now, the collapse of our seasons year after year and more importantly, no public backing from his employers; although we’re assured from the likes of Geoff on Twitter that all is well behind the scenes.
Why would a manager that has courted the interests of the biggest and best clubs in world football, stick around and try again year after year? He loves the club. More than you. More than me. More than any fan you know.
Regardless of whether or not he loves the club, the job he has done is fantastic. He’s given us absolutely everything we could have asked for, except the Champions League. Doubles check. A whole season unbeaten, you bet you. FA Cups? Yeah, he’s won them too.
That said, it has been 9 years now as I’m sure reading along you’ll be noting. Whose fault is it? Wenger’s? The Board’s? The Players?
There is no one answer. What is clear however, to me at least is that Wenger will only be truly appreciated when he’s no longer at the club. The infrastructure (that word again) he has helped to implement will serve us well in the time going forward. Of that, I have no doubt. There is one thing that I would change however and that is Wenger’s tactics in games against the big four. Something clearly has to change there, whether it’s tactics or selection.
Moving onto my next point, the criticism of Mesut Özil is astonishing. Only our fans could call for us to sign a big player for years and then when we break our transfer record for one of the most influential footballers in the game, adored by players at Real Madrid, his national side and figures from world football, and moan.
He’s not good enough, he’s too lazy, he’s a waste of £40,000,000. Jesus wept. Mesut Özil is a waste of money. I am the first to admit he has had an up and down season, his first in the Premier League let’s not forget. I don’t think it is ANY coincidence whatsoever that his ‘dry spell’ if you will came when the runners in our squad gained injuries. Not only have our own fans been criticising him, the press have been relentless.
Lazy journalism, over a supposedly lazy player. Any time anything goes wrong, it’s Özil’s fault. Pulled a hamstring after two minutes, played the half and is lampooned as being a lazy player, who wasn’t up for the fight before any news of the injury. Jose Mourinho would have had the press on an inquiry if that had been about Eden Hazard.
Finally, Olivier Giroud. He’s seen by us seemingly as either the patron saint of our season or the most useless player up front for us since we signed Franny Jeffers. When he’s had a good game, he’s unreal. When he’s had an average game he’s a waste of space. I don’t think Giroud strikes fear into defenders like Luis Suarez does, who is so unpredictable and can win three points on his own in half a second, but in other ways.
His hold up play is exquisite. I like him. I’ve always been of the opinion that we should play Giroud in front of a striker. I had a chat on Twitter with a couple of people in the week and although I wouldn’t necessarily buy Loic Remy, a player of his mould fits the category. Someone pacey, who can latch onto Giroud’s flick ons and hold up play with a through ball.
Anyway, I guess the point of this blog is to just calm down. Relax. Take it easy. We’re in the FA Cup semi-final, we’ve got a top chance of winning that too. We will finish in the top four, possibly the top three. We’re not in bad shape considering we’re up against oil-rich Sheikh funded clubs and Russian oligarchs to contend with.
As always @RyArsenal for any feedback/conversations.