So, where do we begin after that embarrassment yesterday? Well I won’t begin by talking about the game because, to be quite honest, it’s not worth it. The only thing worth addressing is the fact that the referee fucked up and sent off the wrong person but that’s not in any way shape or form a justification. The reality is that even if he’d given it to the right player we’d have still been 3-0 down with 10 men. In fact even if he’d given a yellow for the handball because the shot was off target, we’d still be 3-0 down with 11 men. All things considered, the game was well and truly over at that point and everybody knew it – Chelsea more so, hence why they went on to rub salt in our wounds and put six past us. A day we’d rather not talk about ever again.
The overdramatic Arsenal fan base went ballistic on social media networks, with every person and his dog giving their opinion on what needs to change, where we go from here, why we lost, etc, etc. It was all rather boring and predictable if you ask me, which is why I barely went on any of them for the majority of the day. The worst thing about being an Arsenal fan is that when we lose, every person is against us. I expect it from the armchair Man Utd fans but when I see our own ones going over the top and calling for extreme measures, it just makes the situation worse.
So me being me and trying to find my inner realist and optimistic self, I see there are a few things that certainly need addressing after such a disappointing result.
Before the game there was a lot of focus on the fact it was Wenger’s 1000th game for the club. A historic achievement and one in which many praised him for. There was a sense of hope that considering this landmark that the players would step up and deliver something special to celebrate the occasion. Of course that didn’t happen and I don’t think anybody will be more upset and disappointed than Wenger, and rightly so. However questions do need to be asked of him and after the game he blamed himself for the scoreline, saying
It was a nightmare and I take full responsibility for it. What is important is to give a response on Tuesday night and that is it.
Now those kind of results only come around so often and they’re not acceptable, but they’ve become a little too frequent in recent years. Old Trafford 8-2, Man City 6-3, Liverpool 5-1 and of course Chelsea 6-0. Those kind of scorelines aren’t dished out to lower table teams, yet how can one of our calibre be on the end of four in the past few years? It’s embarrassing. If it was a bad day in the office it may have happened once, but you can’t help but question the managers tactics.
And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Wenger doesn’t know tactics because he’s got more experience than the entire Arsenal fan base combined. He’s also managed to get wins against Dortmund and Bayern away plus Liverpool, Tottenham and more at home. He even got a 5-3 at Chelsea a few years back so he isn’t out of touch with it all, but it does leave you wondering as to how we’ve lost so heavily, particularly away from home against the other top three with 12:45 kick offs. Is he not getting the players psyched up? Is it too early for him to give his usual preparation? Is it poor tactics? A poor team selection? I don’t know the answer but something isn’t right that’s for sure.
Look, Wenger may have messed up something yesterday but ultimately the team let him down more. Tactics are tactics but they don’t lose you games 6-0. They can be the difference by one or two goals but a scoreline of that size is unacceptable. These are seasoned professionals playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world, regardless of the manager and his game plan the blame doesn’t solely sit with him.
They should have worked their arse off for Wenger and given him a celebration for his 1000th game, not an embarrassment. He’ll forever remember that result and be reminded of it being his 1000th game and I would guarantee such a scoreline won’t stick with the fans as much as it’ll stick with him. They should all sacrifice their wage packets this week and give the money back to the away fans because they deserved better. My mate went to the game and left after 20 minutes – £50 ticket, £20 train, £100 on booze and for what? Those footballers will have been going home to their million houses in their six-figure supercars feeling disappointed whilst the fans drowned their sorrows in the pub. Where’s the fairness in that?
It’s a painful scoreline but not the complete end of our chances. If we beat Swansea and City win their games in hand, we’ll seven points behind them, four behind Chelsea and three behind Liverpool. It’s unlikely no doubt but no reason to give up hope. It makes the game against City next week all the more important to win if we stand a chance of getting back into it. It’s great that we’re at home as it gives us the strength needed to compete. Win that game and we’re four points off but both Chelsea and City both have to play against Liverpool. We on the other hand have six very winnable fixtures which we could use to capitalise on the points lost between those other three. I feel confident that each of them will lose or draw one of their other five games, that opens up the possibility of us finishing in and around the top. It won’t be easy but it’s all we have left to cling onto now.
The realist in me thinks Chelsea will go onto win the league which I’ve said all season but hey, football is crazy at times so who’s to say it’s over? It’s not over until the fat lady sings. There’s still eight games to go and a lot can change in that time. Keep the faith.
At the start of the season every Gooner would have said that a title challenge, top four and the FA Cup would have been a fantastic year. Now that we’re on course for it, they’re not happy. Our fan base is the only one that could win £50,000 on a scratch card and still be unhappy they didn’t win the lottery. Last year we scraped fourth by the skin of our teeth on the last game of the season and continued without a trophy. We then went onto sell the majority of our deadwood, sign Ozil and compete again. It’s been a huge step forward in my eyes and that’s all thanks to Wenger.
Every manager has their downfalls, none are perfect and none get it right all the time. Wenger is a hungry, passionate winner and will no doubt be hurting more than any of us after yesterday’s result. He wants that FA Cup badly and if he wins it I can’t help but think that it’ll be the stepping stone towards greater success over the next two years.
Let’s not forget yesterday we was without Ozil, Ramsey, Walcott and Wilshere, all of whom would have likely started and made a significant impact. With some strengthening in the summer plus those key players back in the squad, we’ll be in a great position to take another step forward. Wenger has been our managed for almost two decades and still doesn’t have the Champions League to his name – do you not think he wants that more than anyone? Do you not think he’s looking at that £100m in the bank and everything he’s worked his arse off for the past decade to get to where we are now and thinking “I’m going to give it one last go and if I can’t do it, then I’ll retire.”
I know he’s not done everything he could have but he’s still our manager. We’re still in a far better financial position than we were ten years ago and it means even more now because of the impact of the wealth that Chelsea and Man City possess. The season isn’t over yet, there’s still games to play and still reasons to be happy. We can still support our great club, our historic manager and our FA Cup campaign, not to mention our season. We’ve had some damaging losses but it’s not a reason to consider the season a disaster.
At the end of the day I’d take our position this year to any one of those over the past nine – because it might end with a trophy for once. Come on you Gooners!