Well, what more can I say? I feel a strong, almost overwhelming desire to just copy and paste huge chunks of text from my Palace review. Not only because GroundHog day is now associated more with Arsenal than the movie, the day itself or even groundhogs, but because I’m tired of dissecting this tidal wave of corrosive goo.
You know, I’ve always admired Andrew Mangan’s effort. The guy writes every day. Me, I can take a break. I can write 2-3 times a week. Not that I’m comparing my abilities to that of Andrew’s, I’m simply marvelling at his mental resolve. He has to write, analyse, find quotes and stuff. And he’s still sane.
Truth be told, our last three games have been suspiciously reminiscent of one another. The same lack of desire, the same lethargic passing patterns, all the familiar faces with all the familiar performances. The same 70-minute substitutions regardless of what’s happening on the pitch.
I can’t quite put my finger on the why, but yesterday these substitutions really boiled my piss. I realise Wenger always does things his way, that this is both maddening and admirable, however yesterday I wanted to strangle him for it.
Partly, the Frenchman is very much the victim of the “familiarity breeds contempt” concept. But his stubborn insistence yesterday made me despair, perhaps truly so for the first time this season. Not only the timing of the subs.
Why did he play Giroud in the first place? The Frenchman wasn’t bad against West Brom, however yesterday he looked absolutely disinterested and uninvolved. Not least because he was expertly marked out of the game by Kaboul and Kone. The other Kone. The one you’ve probably never heard about before yesterday, as did I. Kaboul and “expertly” in the same sentence. Jesus wept. Our 1st choice striker for the greater part of the last 4 seasons was contained by a Tottenham reject.
Not that Walcott was any better. The fact he not only continues to make the bench, but indeed gets regular game time is a riddle I’ll never solve. And the way he chickened out of that tackle yesterday, you know the one I’m talking about… I have no words. In Theo we have a player who earns more than Sanchez, yet is being kept out of the side by Iwobi. For good reason too.
Oh, Iwobi. I like the lad. I really do. However yesterday just wasn’t his day. It happened so that most of our golden opportunities fell to him, and the Nigerian made a complete bollix of it. He’s hardly more culpable than anyone on the pitch that we found ourselves in a such a situation, but I think it’s still reasonable to expect him to do better. Or to have done better from those positions.
I have no warm words for Ramsey either. A player who, like Giroud, was given a chance to build on a good midweek performance, and who, like Giroud, bottled it. I suspected his pivot with Elneny could turn out to be too lightweight defensively and so it proved. Ramsey mostly staying in position didn’t help in the slightest, as he was continuously brushed aside by Khazri. Jesus Christ. Outplayed by some fat bloke who didn’t complete a single pass in 45 minutes of football not so long ago. In short our midfield was like a Chinese takeaway yesterday. Lee Cattermole and Wahbi Khazri ran riot right down the, and it’s not so much Elneny’s fault.
I wanted to say this for a long time, and finally I can no longer hold it in: Ramsey’s 13/14 season did more harm than good. He became too big for his head and Arsene decided one good season guarantees Ramsey a starting place. They are both forgetting the reason Ramsey had such a cracking season was his selfless work for the team. There is no sign of him willing to work for the team now. He’s become a glory-chaser, selfish and intolerable on the pitch. Someone called him “diva” yesterday and the description looks so accurate I’ll roll with it. He didn’t do anything inherently wrong yesterday, but his overall attitude merits a drop to the bench, in my view. That, and the fact a guy named Wahbi Khazri outplayed him. Jesus Christ.
The only bright spot yesterday was Cech’s performance. No, actually there was another: Jack’s return, however few minutes he played. Back to Cech and the guy saved us a point. A point. A team fighting for CL places was bailed out of a loss to a relegation-headed side by their goalkeeper. I won’t say “Jesus Christ” simply because I’ve seemingly said it in every paragraph above.
I don’t what to expect anymore. I just want this season to end, but at the same time I still maintain I want Arsenal to finish in the top 4. Simply because Europa League is a dead-rubber competition and I want no part of it. However with football like this… I’m not sure we’ll make top 4 and, what is even more horrifying, I’m no longer sure we deserve it.