“The End Is Near… Not!”
It appears that dark menacing clouds have slowly descended upon us at Arsenal and there seems to be no reprieve in sight. If you listen to or watch any PL football show, if you read any sports section in the papers, you would think that the end of Arsenal as a football club is near. Yes, we may currently be in a horrible funk. Yes, we may be swimming against a very strong tide. And yes, the night may be very long and depressing but soon, there will be light again… The sun will shine again… A new day will dawn… Slowly, our players will rediscover the confidence, the joy, and the passion of playing football and start winning again… Fans all over the world will rejoice once more… That day is soon coming.
It is totally understandable that everyone associated with Arsenal FC is suffering immeasurable pain in some form or fashion right now, but this is only temporary. This will only make our return to the top even sweeter. Once a new regime comes in this summer, we will all have something good to talk about and think about again. Unfortunately, that will sadly mean the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign. This will be like a much-needed blood transfusion for Arsenal FC and we will kick on from there and come good again. It may take some time but eventually we will get ourselves out of this apocalyptic jam. I firmly believe this. So, the end of Arsene Wenger may be near but this is by no means the end of Arsenal FC as a dominant English and European football club.Let’s all use the remaining few games of the season not to whine and lambast the manager and players, but to actually show our appreciation for Arsene Wenger, our greatest manager ever, and to thank him for all that he has done for Arsenal FC and the English Premier League. He is a true legend and we will always hold him in the highest regards at the Emirates. His love of and dedication to Arsenal FC is truly incomparable.
So to Arsene, I say: “Tres desole, mais il est temps de partir, Mr. Wenger. Merci infiniment pour tout”.
Thanks for everything Arsene. We are and will forever be grateful.
What can Arsene do to end this morale-sapping, confidence-destroying string of performances? More importantly, are the players capable of responding to their Manager’s demands and at least put up a semblance of a fight until the end of the season? A few months ago, I authored a post advocating for some sort of change, whether it is personnel-wise, tactical, or managerial. Now due to the very negative atmosphere surrounding the club, only a managerial change can bring about harmony, confidence, and positivity at Arsenal, I fear. This is not only to save Arsenal from Arsene Wenger, it is also to save Arsene Wenger from Arsenal. The great man’s legacy is being tarnished before our eyes and I truly feel very sad and upset for him. He does not deserve all the vitriol going around everywhere these days. By all means, he is not blameless. He should have left quietly and with dignity after winning his third FA Cup in four years. He didn’t because he loves Arsenal too much and still believes he is the right person to put things right. Unfortunately for him, his players are way too fragile mentally, have no leadership skills, and can’t seem to pull themselves together and get out of this deep and suffocating gutter they are in. Now he is truly being forced out by just about everyone and that is sad. Will Stan Kroenke and the Board be brave enough to wield the axe in the Summer?
Where do we go from here?
It is sad to say that we have now pretty much hit rock bottom. We are forever marooned in sixth place until the end of the season which in my opinion cannot come fast enough. The players need this season over and done with as soon as possible so that they can recharge their battery, reboot their system, regain some confidence, get some understanding and togetherness, and restart from scratch (hopefully with a new man in charge). The great thing about hitting rock bottom is that you can’t go any lower. You can only look up and start the hard, long climb back up. And with support from Kroenke and the board, and from all of us supporters, I am very optimistic that Arsenal will get back up to the top in the next 3 years or so. We just need sort out Wenger’s position as quickly as possible, our terrible defensive issues, our vacant midfield issues, with a few tactical changes thrown into the mix and we will be ready to kick on next season.
How do we counter Manchester City’s dominance?
This is really a tough nut to crack. Unfortunately for us and the rest of the Premier League, City’s dominance is here to stay, for as long as Pep Guardiola is in charge, especially now that he’s built his own team with the players that he wants. It is truly amazing that in just two years in the PL, he has managed to recreate (or at least come close to it) what he did with that great Barca team about a decade ago. I really hated the way Guardiola’s Barca and Bayern Munich teams kept possession and embarrassed any team at will, even though I was amazed and very jealous of their style of play at the same time. I had hoped and dreamed that Pep would replicate such a success with Arsenal once he left Bayern, but alas, Arsenal chose to keep faith in Wenger. Hats off to him nonetheless. He has done a fantastic job with City in just two years!
Man City are, however, not “invincible”. They can be beaten as Liverpool showed us all a few months back. Funny thing in football is, teams that press high don’t really fancy being pressed high themselves at all. For 90 freaking minutes, no less! What Liverpool did to City at Anfield was breath-taking. It was the best game of the season by far and City did not enjoy the taste of their own medicine. I saw a City team that was run ragged, utterly frustrated, and clearly devoid of any satisfactory solution to get out of Jurgen Klopp’s all out kamikaze high press everywhere, all game long. Although Liverpool did eventually concede 3 goals toward the end (due to tiredness and bad defending), they ran completely rampant that day and could have easily scored 6 or 7 goals. I thoroughly enjoyed watching City suffer and found new respect for Jurgen Klopp. To me, his mantra that day was: “Hey Pep, anything you can, I can do better, so feck off”.
This has got to be the ultimate blueprint for every team wishing to stop Man City next season, in my humble opinion (I am open and eager to hear everyone else’s idea or suggestions). Do Arsenal currently have the right personnel (players and manager), mentality, and desire to imitate this kind of performance next season? In my view, this is what it’s going to take to dethrone Manchester City, and Liverpool have got it (and the right manager to do it). Being too cautious or parking the bus and hoping to hit City on the counter is just not going to work. They are too good individually and collectively to let that beat them. Can anyone on this site familiar with the various managers out there please enlighten us as to who (beside Jurgen Klopp), is capable to recruit the right personnel and get all his players to play “heavy metal” football like Pool do for 90 minutes every game? This will require some serious conditioning, stamina, and preparations. I genuinely would like to know which new manager could come in and be a good fit for us in this way when Wenger does leave. A new manager who could instil fear, demand high performance, and commend respect from our current group of players.
My wish for next couple of months
As we can all see, the players are currently not in the right place confidence and mentality-wise. Constantly berating and criticizing them and the manager further deteriorate the situation and really does no good at all. We know what needs to be done this summer and so do Arsenal FC. Until then, we should all come together as one, support the team win or lose (so long as we improve our performances) and start the process of building the foundation this team is going to need to finish this season strongly and have something positive to look forward to next season.
So for the remainder of the season, let us show everyone the meaning of the Arsenal creed:
“Victoria Concordia Crescit”