Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Arsenal 2-2 Swansea: There is no hope


I've always refuted claims that Arsenal were in a midst of a collapse. Stats spoke against me, for prior to this game we had won 3 out of our last 8 league games. However, I noted that the setbacks in question were against teams like United, Liverpool, Chelsea and reasonably tough matches like Southampton and Stoke away. That gave me hope.

I felt that this side was capable of finishing second. After Manchester City and Everton, the last games of the season become remarkably easy for Arsenal, and I always assumed that they would win all of them and stay in the hunt for runners-up. That gave me hope.

Sure, we have an inept manager, but we have fantastic players. Players who won nine on the trot after losing to Aston Villa, players who came out stronger after setbacks at the Etihad and Old Trafford, and players who overperformed and got the club to the top of the table despite being outsiders for top four. That gave me hope.

Hope is everything one needs in life. There should at least be something to believe in that would egg one on to optimism, to belief, to success, to glory. At Arsenal, after witnessing the manager's ineptitude rub off on the players, I must concede. There is no hope.

I felt a strange sense of nothingness as I watched Arsenal play yesterday. No anger when Bony scored, no fillip of excitement when a Podolski-inspired Arsenal snatched the lead in a minute, and no surges of disbelief when Flamini bottled it (not that I blame him for that). Heck, even our bleak league standing hasn't made me feel scared that we might miss out on our beloved fourth place.

Drawing against Swansea at home is beyond unacceptable. However, more than that, it's a clear sign that the roof is starting to fall in the house.

If this side has lost so much confidence and belief that they had only 3 presentable chances throughout, then it's not unreasonable to suggest that the last games of the season could be along the same lines.

Of course, there is a chance that this Swansea draw was a one-off. It is conceivable that we will pick ourselves up and continue our trend of defeating teams this Arsenal should defeat. However, judging on the pure cowardice of this performance, I know better than to bank my hopes on it.

To suggest that Arsenal's crashed form is a direct result of injuries to Walcott, Ramsey, Ozil and Wilshere is incorrect and naive as well. Jack and Ozil weren't performing well for the club for a long time, and Ramsey and Theo were injured in January, a time when Wenger could have strengthened the squad (but refused to).

Arsenal are a team. To say that Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil and Walcott were the difference between a 6-0 mauling at Stamford Bridge and a victory suggests that Arsenal are a four-man side. Without the aforementioned players, do you truly believe we are that toothless?

These injuries weren't unlucky either. A week ago I proved that they were the direct results of Wenger's incompetent man management, something that has injured Koscielny for two weeks (four in reality) with a calf strain.

The point is moot, anyway. Arsenal had the depth (and the January transfer window) to fill the voids left by these players. Chamberlain can replace Theo's pace, Santi can replace Ozil's creativity, Rosicky can replace Wilshere's flair and Giroud and Podolski can replace Ramsey's goals. Yet here we are, crashing into accidents twice a week.

If we don't stop the rot, I seriously doubt our ability to defeat Wigan Athletic. They are a tactically astute side, while Arsene's Arsenal are the polar opposite. Steve Bould's coaching has given Arsenal backbone, but I had laid out my doubts that Wenger began overruling him since the Southampton game and they might just hold true, judging on Arsenal's suicidal and chaotic defending against Swansea, Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool.

Ideally, I'd want Arsenal to win the FA Cup and finish second. Sensing that's impossible now, I only want Arsenal to finish in the top four. I don't care about the FA Cup now. If Wenger doesn't win it and thus leaves us the next season, then it's probably for the best.

All I want is the Champions League and for Wenger to leave, with the FA Cup as bonus. The next manager (hopefully Klopp) should have CL in the bag as incentive to buy top talents, otherwise he might encounter undeserved disaster in his first season in charge.

Yes, I am completely over Arsene Wenger now. His refusal to change his outdated, stubborn and flawed mindset has led me to a breaking point. I have already begun to think about life without Wenger and am no longer afraid of change. On the contrary, I am waiting for it.

If he dares to renew his contract, I, like a lot of Gooners, will snap.

We are ARSENAL, we need to think forward. Wenger hasn't been working out for almost 9 years now, it's about time he's chucked out from the club. The best we can do is ensure he leaves on a high by winning the FA Cup and is then replaced with someone having better plans for Arsenal FC.

A quote from Batman: The Dark Knight summarizes our manager perfectly: "You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."

-Santi (Follow me on twitter: @ArsenalBlogz )