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Sunday 24 April 2016

You Schlep All The Way To Wearside And All You Have To Show For It Is A Lousy Point

At least it didn't rain!
Of all the remaining matches in the run in, our trip to Wearside looked to be the most likely banana skin. With Benitez having somehow brought Newcastle back from the dead and with BFS always reveling in any opportunity to get one over on Arsène, the Black Cats were bound to be well motivated to try and get something out of Sunday’s game.

On paper our trip to Man City is the most problematic. Yet whatever fate has in store for what is looking increasingly like a 3rd/4th place play-off (unless Man Utd are still to interject), one would fancy that the Gunners can at least be guaranteed to turn up for one last big, end of season hurrah at the Etihad.

However, after West Brom presented us with such a one-sided walkover at our place on Thursday night, I was worried whether the same starting XI could be relied upon to rediscover the sort of intensity required to turn over more resolute opposition, with Sunderland desperate to avoid the relegation trap door into relative obscurity.

Although Alexis was bristling with intent against the Baggies, as if by way of an apology for our side’s sedentary failure to see off the Eagles the previous weekend, sadly Sunderland had his number. I’m unsure if Chile has a tradition of bullfighting, but all that was missing was the red cape and the sword, to apply the coup de grace to his midweek matador impersonation. Yet while his twists and turns drew deserved “oles”, sadly they don’t impact upon our depressing goal difference and against the Black Cats on Sunday the Gunners uninspiring attacking sword was disappointingly blunt.

         Most matches at this time of the year tend to be at opposite ends of the entertainment spectrum. Either they’re testimonial-like strolls, where players of one, or both sides are already dreaming of their sun loungers (or International acclaim) and where one wished that the Pools Panel might’ve decided the result and saved us all the bother of turning up. Or they’re the sort of thrillingly dramatic, death or glory contests that has the world marveling at the competitive nature of our game.

Following another week of wall-to-wall, live TV matches, with the rush to shoehorn in the remaining games, the resentment levels amongst us Gooners continues to rise, as we are left with our noses pressed up against the window, covetously drooling over the haute cuisine being served up on the inside.

Sod the regime...Support the bloomin' team!
Spoiled Gooners mustn’t forget that this is the norm for fans of the vast majority of clubs. Yet the tide of anger over the Arsenal merely existing in our secure, cash-rich, comfort zone, continues to rise and the infighting grows ever more raucous. The increasingly galling bunch of banner-boy Gooners incite more outrage amongst the hardcore travelling faithful, as they ride this wave, with their futile pennants seemingly multiplying with each passing awayday, to the point where it’s bound to end in tears.

There’s little more infuriating than to contrast the dynamic way in which Spurs went about dynamiting the admittedly, less than fortress like walls of the Britannia last Monday night, with our uninspired assault on the Stadium of Light. To contrast Delle Alli’s zestful appetite to influence proceedings with the apparent indifference of the likes of Özil and Ramsey.

The long schlep back South was momentarily brightened by the crumb of comfort of the sound of “Are you watching Tottenham” echoing out from the radio coverage of the roof being raised, by the rampant goalfest at the King Power.  We’re fast having to learn to walk in the humiliating shoes, well worn by our North London neighbours for the majority of their downtrodden lives, where the only satisfaction to be had from our football addiction is the limited solace offered by such Shadenfreude.

Wilshere’s brief cameo was a bonus but there’s no hiding my disgust that he can offer too little, too late for the Arsenal, but perhaps just enough to ensure he’s on the plane to France in the summer. Another stand out effort from Elneny must annoy the WOB no end, with le Gaffer having unearthed another bargain diamond in the rough.

With, or without the confrontation caused by the bothersome banners, change will eventually come, but only at a time of Arsène’s choosing. The stubborn old bugger certainly won’t bow in the face of pressure from our feeble boo boys. A single Gooner running out on 75mins last Thursday night, busting for a jimmy riddle, hardly qualified as the rumoured “walk out” and the inertia that exists amongst our home audience isn’t the incendiary material necessary to kindle a revolution amongst our particularly well-heeled peasants.

It would be ironic if Wenger decided to walk, after we’ve already missed the boat on the most alluring replacement. But bearing in mind that Arsène is bound to have by far the greatest influence upon all decisions relating to his succession, I pray that he has the sense to recognize the writing on the wall, as it would be a crying shame to see the huge respect and all the goodwill eroded, by him wearing out his welcome.

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Anonymous said...

The Sunderland game sums up Wenger. His tactics are one dimensional and easily stifled by playing deep. He doesn't know how to play against teams who used these tactics.
Arsenal may finish 4th. If Pool win the Europa cup,that's it.
He shd leave asap before he causes more damage to Arsenal.
This is the opinion of 90% plus fans.

Anonymous said...

Well the move to the Emirates and promise to become a top European side has not turned out as advertised. Please leave wenger. Just go, you are killing many fans passion for football with the lies and constant underachievement. I hope we eventually recover from the damage you have done and can once again be proud of our club.