In the after math of the predictable loss to Bournemouth, the twittersphere when into hyperdrive with a myriad of rumors that we were linked to the likes of Aubameyang, Malcom, Mkhitariyan and Martial. It was as if the Arsenal PR team suddenly were told to start leaking like a sieve.
Now, I am not normally the jaded type and I don’t buy into the PR team narrative. But it did all seem suspicious.
Let’s look at the facts, Sanchez is left home and Wenger states he needed to be clear about his intentions with regard to his impending transfer. We also hear after the match that the issue should be sorted within 48 hours and then you have the dreadful performance and the 2-1 loss to a team we’ve never lost to before.
Then BAM – rumors galore hit the internet. Seemed all a bit contrived to me even the conspiracy theory sceptic I am.
I do believe that there is some truth to these rumors. Just their leaking seemed to be perfectly timed. And why not. Everyone loves a good transfer story. And if we do lose Sanchez as we all expect, then how best to minimize the blowback, try and get something (someone) out there that maybe generates some excitement and acts as a salve to the pain of losing such a player like Sanchez.
But that’s all it is isn’t a salve? A band-aid over a big gaping wound that is temporary in nature.
The fact remains we could get 1, 2 or all 4 of the names mentioned above and they wouldn’t fix the core issues this team has faced over the last few years.
The first step in fixing a problem is in admitting that there is one and well, has anyone heard anyone from Arsenal admit there is a problem? Nope. We got the same tired excuses in the post-mortem to yesterday’s match as we do everyone time we turn in one of these all too frequent pathetic performances.
What ails Arsenal is more than just poor transfer and contract decisions. Week in and week out we don’t seem prepared to play nor are we matching the current trend in team preparation and we are failing.
So exactly what good does bringing in new players do?
Is any of them going to be able to track a player running through the midfield and getting a shot on goal? Would any of them be able to coach the basic principles of defending especially that it
doesn’t take 4 players to cover one man on the ball?
Are any of them going to be able to improve a non-existent midfield rotation, that forces our attacks to become slow and labored as the center backs look for options high up the pitch?
If you answered no to all of these questions you see part of the problems we are facing. A great analogy was mentioned to me about adding new players to this mess ““If you tie a 500lb anchor to even the greatest swimmer they will drown.”
In today’s game, teams are prepared for each individual match. They are planning for opponents and preparing players for all aspects of the game. Wenger, being the manager he is feels that his way still works.
On a level that is understandable. To get to the level of management he has, you have to be an egotistical maniac. All of the top managers are this way. The believe in their methods and bristle at any mention that it’s not working.
But the more successful ones make minor adjustments, bring something to the table and don’t stay married to one way of doing things especially when it has clearly been found out.
We’ve always argued that Wenger isn’t a “systems” manager. He prefers to give his players freedom to express themselves. Rather than rigidly preparing them and finding players to fit a system, he looks for certain skills and attributes and tries to hone them.
Now if everyone were doing something similar than it wouldn’t be much of an issue. But teams are much more schooled on what their opponents do. So they are better prepared and while top class players will usually have moments of magic that break down stubborn opponents, when you don’t have class like that in the side, then its more than likely you can wind up with results like yesterday.
There are other systemic issues at Arsenal beyond simple match prep. They’ve been discussed ad nauseum on this blog and many others. Simply adding a few big name players may work as a salve or a band aid but since the larger issues haven’t been addressed the wound festers and continues to grow until it becomes too late.
Maybe it’s already too late.