Sometimes words are hard to find to explain Arsenal’s continued ability to completely fall apart. It’s not that I don’t have a huge vocabulary to explain it. It is more that it’s been happening so much over the last decade that it’s been written to death. If our failings are a dead horse, the Arsenal blogosphere has beaten the shit out of it. It’s gotten so common that even quoting Einstein’s thing about insanity has literally driven me insane. The responses on social media after yet another poor performance are a mobius strip of copy and paste banality that is as predictable as calling the winner in a one horse race. Oh, and BTW, I do get the Troy Deeney level irony of me writing this piece with nothing actually new to say about The Arsenal. If you’re wondering, YES, I do hate myself for writing this.
There seems to be a new worrying thing about us though and I have seen many whisper this. Arsene used to always improve players despite how our club fares on the pitch. I don’t think he does that any more. It truly feels like any player that comes to us either stagnates or gets worse. Of course there may be a few exceptions but many of our players are worse for wear since joining us. Defending Arsene has become a huge exercise in cognitive dissonance. We all know those who loyally find some straw to cling to. “We’re only 9 pojnts off top.” “Look at Chelsea’s and Liverpool’s struggles” “We actually are doing the best we can with out the money of City.” Each one of these has my brain living the saying “death by 1000 cuts”. At this point “It’s early days” sends me into a PTSD spiral of loathing and rage.
Hearing our club captain and future youth director Per, say Watford(MOTHER FRACKING WATFORD!!) wanted it more, really floored me. Yes we have heard other players mention this but Per is an Arsenal man through and through. What a damning statement. Any other manager would probably consider calling it a day after that but Arsene is a different type of guy. I’d love to know his actual thinking right now. The mythical book he mentions that will probably never be written will only be hindsight. I’d love to see some true openness from the great man in a tell all interview. It will never happen. He is way too media savvy. The way he toys with journalists which used to be admirable is now just tedious. It’s hard to watch his pressers and post match interviews with a straight face any more.
We can go down the line from top to bottom of our club to see the depth of how lost we are currently. Our owner “Silent” Stan is never available for comment, let alone after another horrible loss. I’m fairly sure Ivan Gazidis is on the back of milk cartons at this point. Jimmy Hoffa Gazidis may be buried under the new White Hart lane for all we know. I wonder who is cashing those £3m checks though. We would have to pry the keys to our club’s sporting side from Arsene’s cold dead hands for him to relinquish the controls. I can only imagine “Mad” Jens Lehmann has been turned into a Nietzsche study in nihilism. Can you imagine player Jens stomaching our current players’ attitudes for even a second?
All of this is made almost unbearable by the massive mastodon in the room, that nothing will change for the foreseeable future. Knowing we are stuck with this is debilitating as a supporter. I’ve never seen so many long-timers say they don’t care any more. They speak of not even watching us play because what’s the point. I try to tell myself I don’t care but I suspect, like most who say this, that it is just a form of self protection. We build a psychological wall to protect us from feeling the pain of watching our beloved club become this thing that is hard to even describe. I tweeted the other day “I hate what we have become.” A good friend summed it up perfectly in saying that we just aren’t any fun to watch any more. We used to be able to say that win or lose we played the game beautifully. Now even when we win it is 90 minutes of baby formula football. It gets the job done but has no flavor whatsoever.
Where do we go from here? It is impossible to answer that when no change seems to be coming for quite some time. I’m sure we go on a winning run again but most of us will be waiting for the Arsenal sword of Damocles to drop once again. It appears to be falling more frequently in recent years. Ever present and inevitable, our propensity for self destruction kills a little more each time. I want to hope again, even if it means things getting worse for a little while. It’s easy to think changing managers fixes this but I no longer believe that. Our illness is much too widespread. Like a cancer the issues have metastasized, spreading throughout the club.
This has been fairly depressing writing I agree but I’m fairly certain there are quite a few of you who feel this too. Let this be a momentary catharsis for us all. I just had to get this out. If misery loves company then we gooners are a very crowded theater. The movie showing is a 10 hour documentary on the 8-2 loss to United. Grab your popcorn and candy. We are going to be here a while and there are no bathroom breaks. The bad part is we’ve seen it many times before. Deja-EWWW.