Yaya Sanogo is a not a name that many will be familiar...
Arsene’s ego and some other things
Ugh, this is a terrible feeling. I feel like I have been hit by a ten ton truck. This team really has a knack (at least recently) of yanking your heart out and throwing it on the ground. I cannot believe what I have seen this season. I never in my life would’ve thought we’d go up 4-0 on a team and draw 4-4. I never thought Stoke would make us look like a team of school kids or that Darren Bent would have his meandering way against Arsenal. But alas, that and more has happened this season.
I am not going to spend time going over all that. Many blogs, sports journalists and the likes have already done so. We’ve spent time here ad nauseum talking about it. I want to foucs in on a couple things I have been saying via twitter. Twitter is a great resource, I especially find it useful when I want to scream my bleeping head off without annoying my neighbours. You do have to take it with an amount of salt though as opinion that is not shared by some people is often criticized and believe it or not – me an ardent supporter has been called a poor Gooner. But hey what do they know.
So what is it I want to talk about?
We’ve called Wenger stubborn. We’ve called him ignorant to the failings of his squad. We’ve also called him egotistical and it is this I want to spend a little time with. Wenger is the architect of some of the greatest moments in Arsenal history and right now some of its worst.
As a man who prides himself on being the cerebral manager he is, he must be bothered by a few things that against his core of being. I don’t know of anyone who can ignore the level of criticism that is coming at him from all directions (save one). I believe Wenger to be very concerned with how is perceived and for a while when things went wrong, he was able to deflect criticsm. I am not so sure this is true now. And I think it has to effect him.
He wants to be adored. He wants the adualtion and praise that is granted him in light of his past successes. Sure, there are still large portions of the supporters who do that, but the number growing on the other side of the coin increases year after year. Look at his handling of questions a few years ago when his policies were challenged. He was not used to that and I don’t think he is used to what he is seeing or hearing now.
It is that reason alone why I think Wenger goes big this summer. Not huge mega deals. There will be deals that fall into his spending policies – but I suspect significant movement in and out of the club this summer. Wenger does not want the last thing thought of him to be failed policies. He wants success. He strives for it. Whether you believe it or not any egotisitcal man or woman does. Wenger has to do something substantial to get the ravens from ciricling over him like a decaying corpse.
Based on everything I have read recently fromt he man himself and from other areas, I think he knows changes need to be made. The real question is, can he got done everything that needs to get done this off-season and turn the ship around?
You’re a supporter or you’re not
I love twitter. I love twitter with all of its Arsenal supporters and more so for the growing number of players who access it – or at least their personal assistants access. But it is as devisive as can be.
Case in point: I went to the twitterverse after yesterday’s debacle and basically did the twitter equivalent of screaming and yelling about our team. With a captive audience of 4000+ followers boy did they get an ear full. Some of the more colourful responses I’ll leave out but frankly let’s say that because I said each one of the players wearing the kit yesterday should’ve been ashamed to do so or that I said certain players should be sold and that fans were right to boo – I was somehow labled as less than those who find a positive in everything we do – regardless of how shitty we look.
Let me make one thing absolutely clear – my support of Arsenal is never in doubt. If people don’t like what you say on twitter simply unfollow. If you don’t like what is said on this blog – don’t read it. It really is that simple.
The supporter universe is nicely broken up into three camps right now – the doom and gloomers who can find nothing positive in the Arsenal kingdom, the AKBers (Arsene Knows Best) who believe that are our manager and by extension our team is infallable and then the pragmitists – those that see both sides of the coin, who praise when and where its deserved and call a spade a spade when it is warranted. I will resolutely place myself in the pragmatist camp. I saw some good things this season, but the bad I have seen is at this point in time outweighing that.
The point is this, because someone expresses a negative opinion of the club or conversely expresses a positive opinion doesn’t mean that their support is any less than someone elses. It is support and how they vocalize it is their own choice. They are free to do so.
I addressed all the tweets I got yesterday and today individually but I thought I’d share some of my personal favourites are:
“Booing never improves a team or players performance. We want players proud of their support.”
“We have defensive issues… but one loss changes momentum for the next game. we won the game 3-2 yesterday.” (after we lost 2-1)
“You’re an Arsenal fan with warped expectations. Live in the real world. We are the 4/5th richest team in league.”
My absolute favourite was after I insinuated that Squillaci should be sold to Notts County:
“Stop insulting Notts County wit Squllaci offer, common they deserve beta. Send ur defender to the other Emirates (UAE) pls”
I never thought someone could make me yearn for the return of Mikhail Sylvestre. Seriously, I cannot remember anyone being this bad. He actually made three attempts at tackling – didn’t make one. In the second goal while Sagna is at fault for playing Bent onside – Squillaci gives the man so much space, he could’ve walked in to goal and scored.
It was clear to me that Villa’s long ball threats were right at Squillaci. Houllier working with the FFF must’ve known how weak he was and where to hit him. Honestly, I don’t think I can remember wanting someone out of our club so bad as I want him out – with maybe the exception of Manuel Almunia.
Robin van Persie
So needs a true number 9 to make him truly better. No doubt about it – we’d be in the Europa league if it weren’t for Van Persie. He has simply been so good he is at this moment our best player. His problem that I can see is that he comes back too deep at times and takes him out of the attack especially when we need him as the central point of our attack.
We need him to have a number to play off, that allows him to come deeper as the 10. When Arsenal switched to a 4-4-2 with Chamakh up front and van Persie deeper, we created much more than we had for most of the game. We got lethal and if not for some bad refereeing it would’ve bore fruits.
Robin Van Persie has to be candidate for Arsenal player of the year. Not only for his scoring but for his absolute heart and desire. Next to Jack Wilshere, I don’t see much from any other player in terms of heart and passion except for Robin. I love his fiery attitude. He gets it. And regardless of how our team has played he is consistently our top performer.
Wenger, recognize this man’s skill, get him a number 9 for the summer and I think he will achieve greater things for this club.
Alot of Arsenal fans are intent on blaming the refs for our predicament. I am not one such person. For starters refs are conceding easy goals. For instance ref impact aside – yesterday’s loss was not because a ref blew some calls, it was becuase inside 15 minutes we were down 2-0.
But there is something that has to be done about the refereeing. In two moments yesterday they did have an impact on least a possible draw for Arsenal. The non-call on the tackle by Dunne of Ramsey in the box, you can almost forgive, penalties go uncalled all the time but I am still at odds to figure out what in blazes they called on the Chamakh goal and the subsequent yellow to Nicky B.
The commentators were speculating that Chamakh pushed off the player in front of him. Well, if you look at the replay he does no such thing. So where is the call coming from? There is no saying that Arsenal would’ve scored a second had the Chamakh goal stood but still, the momentum would’ve been with Arsenal and Villa were no longer posing a threat. The likelihood is increased.
Somehow refs have to start being held accountable for making wrong calls. In the US in most pro-sports refs and Umps are evaluated all the time. You get the cushy assignments based on your performance. In some cases poor performance gets you removed from the rotation for a while. Or in very bad cases altogether.
Its not just Arsenal that this is happening too but I can only focus in on us. What woul’ve happened to the Barcelona game had Van Persie not been sent off. Or would would Newcastle have been able to mount a comeback if Joey Barton is shown a red for face planting Szczesny. Of course, defencive issues and game time decisions by the manager and the players also affected those matches but I’d rather all things be equal on the pitch in terms of how it is called, then leaving it to the whim of a ref.
Something has to be done.
Well, that it for today folks. We have one more match left. I can’t remember a season where I was so eager for the end of the season. We clearly all need to get a way from it for a while. Except for Arsene – he needs to get right to work next Monday on clearing out those who can be cleared out. The rest of us, we need to re-stock our heart attack pills for next season.
Until next time. . . Stay Goonerish!!!