Monday, 7 April 2014

Everton, Wenger, Cygan, and my Wigan wish

I've been away, and I regret it.

I apologize for the recent lack of blogging. It was enforced due to work, and will not happen from now until a long time. A lot has happened in the space of a week - mostly, it's all depressing, nightmarish stuff. However, you might find a slightly upbeat mood in my post, as all these events has culminated to Wenger's possible departure. Will it happen? Read on.

The Everton massacre...
Bloody hell. I can't believe I convinced myself that we'd win the game. What I witnessed was beyond description. Could someone give me a word that covers 'abject', 'apocalyptic', 'inept', 'horrendous', 'shameful', 'pathetic' and 'comical' all in one go?

Even under the disappointment, under my growing loathing of this manager and pity for a good group of players being ripped by Arsene, I need to save a spot for Martinez. Dominating over a top side - even Arsenal, a crumbling team and a crumbling manager - takes intelligence and guts; Roberto certainly had that.

Monreal and Podolski played for Arsenal on the left, Martinez knew that area was defensively weak. He pulls off a masterstroke by playing target man Lukaku there, who torments a lazy Lukas and unconvincing Monreal all day. Wenger, meanwhile, sits clueless in the dugout instead of countering Everton's tactics.

Is this what he gets paid 6.5 million for?

Let's get one thing straight - the players did not let Wenger down. Let's not forget these are the same players who bounced back after a shocker of an opening game (Wenger's doing). These are the one's that compensated for Wenger's failure to buy a striker. These are the one's that, assisted by Bould's training, have defended leads at the Westfalenstadion and the St. James' Park with their lives on the line.

"I'm not saying that this season is destined for disaster. I'm just saying that Arsenal fans are expecting too much of the thin squad that we currently possess. I secretly am a bit scared that the depth of our squad and our nervy defence might be a factor to destroy what looks like a promising season."

Yeah, I said that in October.

"I'm having serious doubts over Wenger's tactical capability after I saw that he didn't make any change to our strategy in the game. I had stressed earlier that Dortmund would be a difficult matchup, and winning dirty should be the order of the day. However, instead of facing facts, Wenger didn't do anything to the formation, the tactics or anything, and thus witnessed a repeat of the first half."

Yeah, November.

"Our Premier League season is over. The only way we'll win the league is if Giroud remains fit and firing, Ramsey returns for the City and Chelsea matches in storming form AND we defeat our two direct title rivals. Don't get your hopes up people - there's not a chance in hell that such scenarios are coinciding over the span of 4 months. I'd be astonished if we finish second in the table, forget first now.

Look, the season isn't dead yet. We still have the FA Cup to look forward to, and can entertain ourselves over two legs against Munich. However, one would be optimistic - if not foolish - to expect more from this season."

On February 1st.

Look, we are Arsenal Football Club. We don't deserve shit like this. We don't deserve a pathetic excuse of a manager, we don't deserve his incompetent backroom team. We don't deserve to pay the highest wages to see Sanogo replacing Giroud and we don't deserve to get thrashed by EVERTON for fuck's sake.

Do you want another example of why Wenger needs to leave?

Wenger's injury comments...
Take a look at this.

Wenger: "Some of them [muscle injuries] are down to the medication that the players take that you don't even know about [egoistic]. Then you realize afterwards that they took this medication but that's not prudent."

Shouldn't the medical staff check on the apparent drugs that Arsenal players are taking? And how is taking drugs related to Walcott's Achilles heel injury or Ramsey's thigh strain?

"The toxins don't go as quickly out of the body as they should and they [the players] get tired."

Oh, and you overplaying them is not having an impact? Let's note that in yesterday's match, Ramsey came on as a substitute after 2 days of full training. Let's also note that even though Giroud was almost certain to not score yesterday, Wenger overplayed him and risked him further towards injury. And will overplaying an injury prone 33 year old to inevitable injury also be related to taking drugs?

"At the moment, we have not come to any conclusion."

Shame, as Le Grove, Arsenal Truth, Raymond Verheijen and me already have deduced the answer months ago. Injuring players is down to overplaying them, especially young legs. Keeping them injured for longer than expected is related to Arsene's incompetent medical staff and his tendency to train his team like the Marines.

You know what? Let's leave speculation aside and look at cold, hard facts that no Arsenal supporter would disagree on.

  • Wenger and his staff don't know why his players keep getting injured, he said as much.
  • Wenger sat with his chin propped on the touchline while Arsenal lost comprehensively to Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea.
  • Wenger publicly said he doesn't know why Arsenal collapsed at Stamford Bridge.
  • Wenger did not buy a striker in January after Ramsey and Theo got injured, and after Juventus publicly put Vucinic on the transfer list on January 29th. Our striking options, as of today, are Giroud, Bendtner and Yaya Sanogo.
  • Wenger is paid 6.5 million a year under a supposedly financially constrained Arsenal.

Glaring blunders in one season - aren't these sackable offences in itself? Would any other club tolerate that? For a year I can understand, maybe even two, but for 7 consecutive years?

Wenger should go, I realized that this time last year around the Blackburn and Bayern losses. I have long since moved on, good runs and the team's toughness did not delude me. After our 3-0 hammering, it increasingly looks like Wigan will either end or prolong Wenger's reign. We can safely take this as fact, as I had a very reliable source confirm it seven days ago.

Personally, I'm still afraid to let up hope. Even if Arsenal lose to Wigan, I reckon Wenger will still renew his contract. However, I am far from certain about the accuracy of my speculations, and would not want to pass any opinions as facts here. As it stands, I hope we see Klopp as manager come June.

Anyways, whether Wenger stays or not, at least we've added some quality to the board.

Pascal Cygan is to be confirmed as board member...

That is really good news. In honesty, I never really liked Cygan - he's always been in that 'deadwood' category for me. I'd have rather preferred getting Bergkamp or Dein in, because they might have been more firm and decisive on their opinions, not to mention really popular among the fans. I don't really know Cygan's character or mindset, he's always been one of those nobodies for me.

However, I'm more than glad that the board are getting footballing brain into the backroom. Lord knows that it's important to question the accountability of a manager footballistically, and while I don't think Cygan would have the backbone to question Wenger, I think he'll come down hard on a different manager should he underperform.

Cygan might be a clever addition, but I can only judge him after minutely looking him up. The same goes with Jurgen Klopp, as his current injury crisis at Dortmund worries me. What if he's the same as Wenger, overplaying key players and blaming others? Now that I have a lot of free time, you should expect proper reports on Klopp and Cygan. I want to know if they're good enough for us.

I want us to lose against Wigan...
Here comes the most controversial one.

You may have realized that judging from my opinions, this season is as dead as possible to me and I'm looking forward to 2014/15 without Wenger. However, I'm certain that my dreams would be in danger of crushing should Arsenal defeat Wigan.

I know the mentalities of all kinds of Arsenal fans, trust me, I do. I've been a huge admirer of Wenger for over 6 trophyless years, I've been in the neutral (to want Wenger to change) for around 6 months and have been a staunch anti-Arsene man for half a year. In a year and a half, I've been all three kinds of Arsenal fans.

I know that if we reach the FA Cup final (and lose it), Wenger's backers would still want Arsene to stay even if we finish fifth. I am completely sure that people would view FA Cup runners-up and top five for 18 years as progress, never mind dropping off four places in four months. Such is the mentality of Wenger's supporters that they glorify mediocrity in the hope of saving their beloved manager's legacy.

So, I'm sorry. It is difficult to describe how hard the decision was, but I don't need to justify it. I know that if we lose against Wigan, the chances of Wenger leaving almost become certain. Even if he renews, angry fans will force Arsene to revoke his decision.

I want Arsenal to lose tomorrow. You may hate me for that, heck, I hate myself for that. However, I know in my head that Arsenal losing will only be a good thing for Arsenal in the future. It will create pressure, and pressure creates the conditions for change. The emotions in my heart cannot and will not overrule that.

I'd give anything for Arsenal, but I'd give even more for an Arsenal that actually progresses. Sometimes life's weirdest and boldest decisions could turn out to be the best. If Arsenal lose to Wigan, that decision might as well be forced upon the board.

-Santi (Follow me on twitter: @ArsenalBlogz )